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Cumberlandite is the U.S. state of Rhode Island's state rock. It is only found in large concentrations on a four-acre lot in Blackstone Valley, Cumberland, and in traces scattered throughout the Narragansett Bay watershed. Due to its high amounts of iron, it is slightly magnetic.
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The unique mineral was formed over 1.5 billion years ago by volcanic activity. The rocks were discovered by settlers hundreds of years ago, and were initially deemed valuable for the manufacture of cannons and farm tools in the 18th and 19th centuries. The mineral also contains a relatively high level of titanium, also valuable for the manufacture of tools. Colonists tried to make cannons from the mineral during the Revolutionary War, but the cannons cracked because of the weakness of the iron. Cumberlandite weathers to a brown-ish black with white crystals. This is strikingly different from the weathered look of other rocks in Rhode Island's glacial deposits. It is also much denser than the granites and metamorphic rocks that are common in these deposits. The rock is common in glacial deposits just south of its source location, and can be found in deposits all the way to the southern shore of Narragansett. This combination of coming from only one location, being obviously different from other rocks, and being easily identified by members of the public led to its being selected as the Rhode Island state rock.
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Cumberlandite". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|