Frequently Asked Questions - FAQs

Geology - Fossils; Rocks; Minerals

  1. Where are fossils found in South Carolina?
  2. What is the Geology of my area in South Carolina?
  3. Where can gold be found in South Carolina?
  4. What are the common rocks and minerals found in South Carolina? How can I get a Rock and Mineral Kit?
  5. What is the State Rock of South Carolina?
  6. What is the State Mineral?

 

 

1. Where are fossils found in South Carolina?

Most fossil localities are in coastal and adjoining counties, in an area referred to as the Coastal Plain of South Carolina. In some places, fossil outcrops are exposed in creeks, riverbanks, and roadcuts. Excellent fossil occurrences are common in limestone quarries such as the Martin-Marietta Quarry in Berkeley County near Cross, S.C. These quarries supply material used in cement and concrete mixes, agricultural lime and fertilizer filler, crushed stone aggregate, and road building applications. Some of these limestone deposits are coquinas, which is a heterogeneous mixture of shell fragments (also referred to as shell hash). Petrified wood is another fossil found in the Coastal Plain.

2. What is the Geology of my area in South Carolina?

The Geological Survey has a generalized geologic map of the State and a number of detailed geologic maps. Detailed geologic maps are based on the 7.5-minute topographic quadrangle grid. You can find the coverage of detailed geologic maps on the Geological Survey's homepage. In addition to geologic maps, geologic information available from the Survey includes drill hole reports, internal reports and bulletins of geologic studies, and articles in South Carolina Geology, the Survey's own scientific journal.

For more information:

S.C. Geological Survey Publications
S.C. Geological Survey Core Repository

3. Where can gold be found in South Carolina?

Gold can be found in most of the Piedmont, which is the area northwest of the Fall Line. The Fall Line is the division between the younger sedimentary rocks of the Coastal Plain and the older crystalline metamorphic and igneous rocks of the Piedmont. Major gold mining operations have been located in Lancaster, Fairfield, McCormick, Chesterfield and Cherokee Counties. Briefly, gold deposits were formed within volcanic rocks during the early history of the Piedmont. Deposits are now found by core drilling or visual and chemical observations of rock outcrops at the surface. Gold and other minerals accumulate in stream sediments because of the actions of erosion on the crystalline rock. Panning and sluicing for gold in streams, creeks, and shallow rivers has yielded minor finds.

For more information:

South Carolina Geology, Volume 35 (1992) Gold deposits of the Carolina slate belt in South Carolina

4. What are the common rocks and minerals found in South Carolina? How can I get a Rock and Mineral Kit?

The Geological Survey produces and distributes a rock and mineral kit with 24 specimens. The specimens are a variety of rocks and minerals that naturally occur in the state. Many of the specimens have significant economic value in the industrial economy of South Carolina. The kits are $25.00.

For more information:

Rock and Mineral Kit

5. What is the State Rock of South Carolina?

The State Rock of South Carolina is the Winnsboro Blue Granite. This stone was originally quarried at the Anderson granite quarry west of the town of Winnsboro in Fairfield County during the 1800's. The Winnsboro Blue granite is actually a gray-colored granite; however, the darker minerals in the rock exhibit a blue hue when polished. In general, granite is highly regarded as an excellent stone for monuments.

6. What is the State Mineral?

The state mineral is the gemstone Amethyst. Amethyst is a light or dark purple variety of quartz. Typically, it is translucent, and the better specimens will have fine-pointed, six-sided crystal terminations. One of the best specimens of amethyst ever found was on a property near Due West, and it is currently displayed at the American Museum of Natural History. Amethyst crystals have also been found near Lowndesville and Antreville in Abbeville County.

For more information:

Mineral Resources


For additional information, please contact:
South Carolina Geological Survey
5 Geology Road
Columbia, SC 29210
(803)896-7714