Rose rocks are aggregates of barite (barium sulfate) crystals and sand whose iron content gives them a reddish hue. The barite crystals form a circular array of flat plates, giving the rock a shape similar to a rose blossom. Rose rocks appear either as a single rose-like bloom or as clusters of blooms, with sizes ranging from pea sized to four inches (20 cm) in diameter. The rose rock was selected as the official state rock of Oklahoma in 1968.
Rose rocks are most common in and near central Oklahoma, and can be found in mineral deposits in the Wichita and Ouachita Mountains. Rose rocks are most common in the Noble area of Cleveland County. Barite rose rocks have also been found in California, Nunavut and Egypt and Wadi Rum in Jordan.
Oklahoma rose stone was formed during the Permian Period, 250 million years ago, when western and central Oklahoma was covered by a shallow sea. As the sea retreated, barite precipitated out of the water and crystallized around grains of quartz sand. This left behind large formation of reddish sandstone, locally called Garber Sandstone, containing deposits of rose rock.
The average size of rose rocks are anywhere from half an inch to 4 inches in diameter. The largest recorded by the Oklahoma Geological Survey was 17 inches across and 10 inches high, weighing 125 pounds. They have also discovered rose rock clusters that are up to 39 inches tall and weighing more than 1,000 pounds.
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