Types of Rocks Found In Vermont: A Guide To The Most Common You’ll Spot

Vermont is a state so filled with important rocks that it couldn’t even just pick one for the state rock.

Marble, Granite, and Slate as all “State Rocks of Vermont.”

The determination came with some legislative fuss as representatives from each respective rock industry stated their arguments for being the official state rock.

In the end, since each rock is imperative to the state’s economy, all three were added to the list. 

That means, for rockhounds like us, a plethora of official rocks and other rocks to search for in the Green Mountain State. 

Types of Rocks Found In Vermont: A Guide

Amphibolite

Where To Find It: Orange, Windham, and Windsor Counties

What It’s Used For: Constructive, paving, building exterior

You might be able to tell this rock apart from others by its salt and pepper appearance.

It also contains very little, if any, quartz.

The rock is generally dark gray to black in color. 

Concretions 

Where To Find It: Windsor County

What It’s Used For: Building materials, concrete

It’s easy to mistake a concretion for a fossil, but it’s definitely a rock.

Concretions are hard rock materials embedded in other rocks, taking on many of their characteristics but standing out with their own independence in shape.

These sedimentary deposits mold to the rocks around them, giving the appearance of a fossil.

While they can take on any shape, many are round in nature, either oblong or circular.

You are most likely to find these in shale, silt, and sandstone.

Dolomite

Where To Find It: Addison, Chittenden, Franklin, Lamoille, Orange, Orleans, Rutland, Windsor, and Windham counties

What It’s Used For: Asphalt/concrete mixes, collectibles (when connected to gems), changing the pH balance of water or soil

While in Vermont, look for what’s called “The Red Marble”, which is just a casual name for Dunham Dolomite.

Dolomite is harder than marble but softer than granite.

Test the sample by seeing if it scratches easily. Dolomite will not scratch easily, while marble will. 

Gneiss (pronounced “Nice”)

Where To Find It: Windsor County

What It’s Used For: Headstones in graveyards, flooring, ornamental stones

This rock easily gets confused with granite as the two have many similarities.

A way to tell the difference is by looking at the speckles.

Granite tends to be more consistent with speckled, looking almost artistic with how choreographed it is.

Gneiss is more filled with waves of patterns and linear bands. 

Gold

While technically not a rock (it’s a mineral), gold can be found in rocks around Vermont.

A permit is required and costs $25 for in-state residents and $50 for out-of-state residents.

You only need this permit if you are going to be sluicing.

On private land, you’ll need permission from the landowner.

Sluicing is not allowed on state parks, state forests, or state wildlife management lands, but you can search for gold by hand on public lands.

No mechanical tools are allowed. 

This permit is good from June 1 – September 30.

A historical map from 1861 shows the places where gold was initially found and flakes can still be found occasionally along these riverbeds.

Granite

Where To Find It: Washington County

What It’s Used For: Just about any kind of building, from construction to decoration to bridges to paving

A great starting place to search for granite in Vermont is Graniteville.

Here you can tour the “Rock of Ages”, a global record-setting deep mine.

Since there is so much granite in this state, this opportunity is great for us rockhounds to kick back and see a man-made wonder of sheer granite rock walls.

The attraction is undergoing construction and is expected to open in June 2021.

Barre, Vermont, is known as the world’s granite capital.

Kaolinite 

Where To Find It: Rutland & Addison Counties

What It’s Used For: Paper production, gauze, medical purposes

What looks like a rock is really a mineral.

Kaolinite is a soft white or gray rock that becomes more malleable when wet.

It is used in a variety of places – like the military, industrial, medicine, cosmetic. 

Marble

Where To Find It: Addison, Franklin, Grand Isle, and Windsor Counties

What It’s Used For: Monuments, states, buildings, tabletops

This very versatile rock is found in several Vermont locations.

It’s also one of the three state rocks.

The Vermont Quarries Corporation touts itself as being the largest marble mine in the world.

Marble is formed when limestone gets put under a lot of pressure and heat.

It comes in a variety of colors.

If you can’t tell the difference between marble and quartzite, try scratching it with a piece of metal.

Marble will scratch and quartzite won’t. 

Monkton Quartzite

Where To Find It: Winooski, VT

What It’s Used For: Building materials, kitchen counters

As rocks go, this one is very durable.

You’ll find this in the foundation of buildings and much was used to building the University of Vermont Redstone Campus.

Homebuilders like this rock because it’s hard enough to withstand day-to-day use in the home, but is also not very porous, meaning easy cleanups from spills. 

Schist

Where To Find It: Any mountain in Vermont

What It’s Used For: Decoration, paving, sculptures

There are several varieties of schist to be found in Vermont with names derived from the minerals found within.

These include Magnetite, graphitic, and garnet varieties.

They are pretty, but not very sturdy, so they won’t be found making bedrock for buildings.

You will see them in some decorative and some statues.

Schist is natural in thin layers with crystalline layers, which makes it stand out from somewhat similar-looking slate, shale, and gneiss.

Serpentinite

Where To Find It: Green Mountains

What It’s Used For: Decoration, interior walls

Serpentinite in Vermont is believed to be what’s left behind of an oceanic crust that existed before the Green Mountains were formed.

It polishes easily.  

Look for white veins in the rock, as these are deposits of calcite. 

Shale

Where To Find It: Lake Champlain and surrounding islands

What It’s Used For: Brick, tiles, pottery, and cement

Black Shale is found in Vermont with dates as far back as 460 million years ago.

It’s black in color or at best a very dark gray.

You can tell the difference between shale and slate by looking at the hardness and appearance.

Shale is softer than slate and has a much more dull appearance than shiny slate. 

Slate

Where To Find It: Along the New York/Vermont state line

What It’s Used For: Blackboards, tabletops, flooring, billiard tables, and roofing

Slate is one of the state rocks and is usually made by drilling and blasting by state and mining operations.

If you remember the laws of Vermont, that means you can’t legally get to it, but there is hope to find some downstream of these mining operations as long as you are on the land where you can legally search.

It’s worth the search here for the unique colors of red, green, purple, and rare green and purple mixed-color rocks. 

Talc

Where To Find It: In and around state and national forests

What It’s Used For: Tables, electrical switchboards, cosmetics, paper-making

Talc is very soft and generally a white or light-colored rock with a pearly appearance.

It’s the softest mineral in the world.

It has a greasy feel but inside this seemingly gentle rock is a host of benefits, like having a high tolerance for heat and electricity.

In Vermont, talc is usually surrounded by ore and needs to be removed from the connecting rock. 

Types of Rocks Found In Vermont