Alaska is a great gems and fossils state. Although Alaska has a harsh landscape and terrain, deep in their unbearable landscape, there are quite a number of rare but valuable and beautiful gemstones. Alaska is known for its garnets, jades, and fossils. Some of the top gems you can find in Alaska are:
Jade is Alaska's most important gem. It has been the state's official gemstone since 1968. This is the most common valuable gem in the state also, where it is sold in the local tourist trade as well as overseas in the Oriental markets.
There are many large jade deposits throughout the state, the most well-known is at Seward Peninsula's Jade Mountain. If you are hunting for jade, then all you need to do is visit Jade Mountain, Jade Creek or the Kobuk River basin in the northwestern Alaska. These are all areas where nice jade specimens have been found.
Jades are made up of jadeite and nephrite, which are easy to curve but quite tough and hence perfect for carving and decorative work.
Amethyst is a variety of quartz which is lavender in color. In Alaska, you can find amethyst crystals in the granite-rich uplands regions of Northway and Tok. You will generally find these amethysts as light pinkish-purple crystals either as parallel growing groups or single crystals.
Usually, the Amethyst can be found growing in weathered feldspar or pegmatite pockets of quartz.
You can also find other varieties of quartz in Alaska. There are crystals of clear quartz in the Brooks mountain range in the north of Alaska specifically to the Nolan Creek drainage.
Usually in Alaska the quartz are found embedded in fissures or cavities in metamorphic rocks. The pure quartz crystal contains rutile needles of various colors that range between brown and reddish copper.
Fluorite is another attractive mineral that you should look for in Alaska. You can find fluorite-rich veins in the on the Kuiu Island on its northern end. Although these veins are mainly comprised of quartz and intrude into Cornwallis limestone, the veins actually contain sizable quantities of purple and green fluorite. You can expect to find cubic or octahedral crystals of fluorite.
Garnets are also quite common in Alaska. You can find the valuable deep raspberry colored, octagonal shaped garnets in Wrangell within southeastern Alaska. These garnets contain both aluminum and iron that makes them almandine. The garnets are perfect gemstones especially if you love your colored gems.
Gold is Alaska's most important mineral. In fact, it has been the state's official mineral since 1968. It has also played an important role in the history of the state. The first explorers to Alaska came during the Klondike Gold Rush
Today Alaska can be found in many places within the state especially along the riverbanks. The Yukon River basin, the Kuskokwim River and Copper River are just a few of the hundreds of areas within the state where gold has been discovered in Alaska. Most of Alaska’s major towns are nearby to rich gold mining areas. This is true of Nome, Fairbanks, and Juneau and many others.
Although quite rare, Alaska has occurrences of platinum nuggets and crystals. Platinum nuggets are commonly found associated with gold veins by prospectors. This means that if you are interested in platinum then you should search in areas that have gold mining activity.
One place that produces some sizable platinum nuggets is at Fox Gulch at Goodnews Bay. Just remember that almost all platinum that is mined in the world is microscopic and mined from ores. Finding sizable pieces of platinum is exceptionally rare in most areas, much more rare than gold.
Woolly Mammoth Fossil
Alaska is also known to have its share of fossils. The Woolly Mammoth was named Alaska's state fossil in 1986. The Woolly Mammoth belonged to the elephant family and inhibited Alaska about 1.6 million to 10,000 years ago before it became extinct.
New fossil discoveries are made in Alaska all the time, due to the remoteness of so much of the state. There are so many areas that you can explore for a variety of fossils, gems and minerals that have been virtually unexplored even to this day.