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Beaches are teeming with rocks and collecting them can be fun. As a matter of fact, kids enjoy scouting the shores for rocks to bring home as a souvenir. It is also a nice way to keep them busy on the beach while having a great Michigan vacation. Children notice these tiny stones and appreciate their shapes and colors.

In each tide that comes in, the shores are renewed with pebbles, stone, and sand. Every moment in the beach offers different things to enjoy and collect.  

 

Beach rocks are usually clean, fresh out of the sea and from their grinding in the shore.  This makes beach rocks harder like igneous and metamorphic. Because waves carry rocks from shoreline to another, it is not always easy to tell where a beach rock came from. It can originate from cliffs or mountains along the beach. It may come from fragments of corals or some fossilized creature submerge somewhere in the middle of the sea. Some may have come from a far-away river or to a distant land in which the waves carried to the shore.

With all this in mind, here is a list of beach rocks and fossilized creatures you can find around the Great Lakes:

 

Concrete

Even in beaches, man-made concrete exist. Concrete rocks have been eroded and washed into shores from nearby islands. Grinding waves polished this type of rocks and often confused with the conglomerate rocks. Conglomerate rocks are sedimentary rocks composed of rounded gravel. It often consists of gravel combined with iron oxide, silica or hardened clay.

 

Crinoids

Million years ago, crinoids belong to graceful creatures of the phylum Echinodermata like starfish, sand dollars, and sea urchins.  Crinoids bear similarities of underwater flowers. Crinoids used its long stalk to anchor to the sea floor. Today, you can find the disc like stones on the beach that may look like small donuts.

 

Granite

Granite is the best-known igneous rock on earth. It is a light colored rock with grain accents just enough to be distinguished with the naked eye. It came from below earth’s surface from slow crystallization of magma. Some volcanic eruptions might expel this type of rocks and wash ashore. Granite usually comes in colors of red, pink, gray or white with dark grain specks. Some of the best places to hunt for this rock are in the Upper Michigan Peninsula, Ontario, and Wisconsin.

 

Honeycomb Coral

Honeycomb coral is a type of extinct favosite coral. Known for its honeycomb patterning, it is a preserved sedimentary claystone.  Coral polyps used to live in its hollow surface millions of years ago. And like most corals, this type of rocks thrived in warm and shallow parts of the sea where sunlight can penetrate the waters. Honeycomb corals predominate the Silurian and Devonian era, in which they can be found where you can find Petoskey Stones and Charlevoix Stones.  

 

Jasper

Jasper, an opaque impure type of silica is an aggregate micro angular quart. Usually, it comes in colors of red, brown, green or yellow, in rare occasion blue.  Iron deposits make Jasper predominantly red in color. When fully polished, Jasper is treated as gemstones and used in seals, vases, and as ornaments.

 

Petoskey Stones

Petoskey Stones are the most sought after beach rock along the shores of Lake Michigan.  It is believed to flourish around 350 million years ago during the Devonian age. The biggest influx of Petoskey Stones is found in Little Traverse Bay, in where else, in Petoskey town. Each year, melted ice and wind push new supplies of Petoskey Stone along the shore during spring time. The best time to hunt for this type of rock start in summer of after a wind storm. However, finding it is more of a challenge since many visitors and beachcombers also search for this precious fossil rock.

 

Slag

Slags are glass-like shiny by-product separated from its raw ore. It composes of a mixture of metal oxides and silicon dioxide. In some cases, it may contain metal sulfides and elemental metals.  Slags are often times produced from smelting iron and from burning coal on ships. Since steam engine boats commonly roam the Great Lakes, it may come from there.

 

Stromatoporoids

Stromatoporoids are organisms known for their fossilized record. Based on its structure, some considered this organism to be related to marine sponges. In fact, stromatoporoids are reef builders which are extinct stony sponges dominant in the Silurian Period 430 million years ago. Soon after they died out and went into complete extinction in the Mesozoic era.

 

Syringoporoids

Another extinct coral type known as syringoporoids can be found in some areas of the beach. They are described as organ pipe coral, cup coral, and crinoid columnals mostly found in upper Paleozoic rocks. Their characteristics helped distinguish formation of limestone in the Devonian era.

 

Zebra Mussels

Termed after their stripes pattern on the outer shells, zebra mussels are native to southern Russia and Ukraine. However, zebra mussels were accidentally introduced to many countries in the world and were considered as invasive species.  In the US, it invaded the Great Lakes and Hudson River in the 1980s. Today, scientists try to control their population but some may wash ashore in beaches.

 

While you’re out and about on the hunt for these intriguing rocks around Michigan, show off your state pride with a cool Michigan t-shirt that also showcases your love of hanging out outdoors