Posted by: Sandy Steinman | August 4, 2010

California State Rock an Endangered Species?

Don’t Take Away Our State Rock

Recently, there has been a lot of controversy over California’s Senate passing a bill to take away “State Rock” status from Serpentine.  The reason being that it is supposedly  a cancer risk.   There has caused a large uproar from the public including knowledgeable geologists who point out these claims are based on faulty science.  Most serpentine does not contain the carcinogen asbestos that is the supposed reason for the law.  The small amount  (especially in California) of serpentine that does contain small amounts of asbestos might only be dangerous if you were to grind it up into powder and snort it.

What makes Serpentine important is that it creates a soil that is toxic to many plants  (not humans).  Those plants that have adapted to living on this soil are rather unique.  There are over 200 species in California that grow on serpentine soil, which includes 10 per cent of our endemic plants (plants that grow only in California).

Who is behind this legislation?  It may be a group of attorneys who handle asbestos cases.   For more information you can read the following articles:

A geologist’s perspective and large list of  articles on the issue: Serpentine: A Group of Minerals

In Discover Magazine:   Unscientific California: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens Serpentine and Biodiversity

In the  Times-Standard: Brandon Schwab Geologist

Current status of law  Geotripper:

An article in the Imperial Valley about the possible link to a litigation lobby behind Senator Romero’s proposal:  Our Opinion: Between a rock and a hard place

Even conservative lawyers oppose the bill:  Andrew’s Geology Blog: The Law Against Serpentine: The Attorneys’ Arena

Photo: Serpentinite by J Brew

If you want to know what you can do look at:  Sheril Kirshenbuams’ blog: The Intersection

On YouTube,  you can even find a Serpentine protest song

Our State Rock Rocks!!!

Save the Serpentinite!!!

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  1. […] On August 4, 2010 I wrote about how Serpentine’s status as the state rock was endangered. (California State Rock an Endangered Species?)   Due to misinformation and some hysteria by our state government there was consideration of […]


  2. They probably want to make Gold the state rock, and not just the state religion.


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