When it comes to mineral and fossil collecting there are quite a few options in Massachusetts despite being a relatively small state. Here you can find a variety of stones and gems, along with dinosaur bones and other fossils.
The Roxbury Puddingstone has been the state rock of Massachusetts since 1983. The rock itself was given its unusual name because some believed it looked like an English plum pudding, not the pudding we eat in the United States. When you find this conglomerate stone it will look like a collection of rounded clasts that stand out in contrast to one another. An example would be a black or brown flint pebble that is surrounded by white silica. They are quite attractive and interesting stones.
It is widely believed that these rocks did not form in Massachusetts but it is uncertain exactly where they came from. Some think possibly West Africa due to similarities between other stones found there. South America is another potential origination point. Despite where the rocks began scientists do know that they were deposited sometime around 570 million to 670 million years ago.
Rhodonite is probably the most popular and valuable of the gems that are found in Massachusetts. This impressive rock became the state gemstone in 1979 and can be recognized by its beautiful pink hues. The shades can vary from a light baby pink to a dark rose or even red-pink. This interesting gemstone first formed at hydrothermal deposits and inside of metamorphic rock. Due to this, Rhodonite is often found in the same places as black manganese minerals.
Yet another beautiful state stone. Babingtonite has been the Massachusetts state mineral since 1971 and features a distinct dark shade that ranges from dark green to black. If you’re someone that is up for a bit of a treasure hunt you should come to look for Babingtonite because it is quite rare.
Not only is this mineral hard to find, but there are only three other locations where it has ever been found: Poona, India; Devon, England; and Baveno, Italy. If you want to add a truly collectible stone to your shelf, this is the one.
Dinosaur tracks are the state fossil of Massachusetts and for good reason, they have an abundance to show off. Unfortunately you will not find many dinosaur bones in this state but the amount of fossil tracks makes up for it. If you find any tracks they will mostly likely be Eubrontes, Grallator, Anchisauripus, or Otozoum as they are the main types found throughout the state. You will find these tracks in Jurassic sediments that date to around 200 million years ago.
During this period, what was then Pangea, was pulling apart and the Atlantic Ocean was forming. This made parts of Massachusetts turn into vast mudflats that were perfect for capturing and preserving the dinosaur tracks.
The best places to explore are near Holyoke and Granby. While in Granby you should check out the local prints of the theropod dinosaur that measure in at fifty feet in length!