New Hampshire: The Granite State

Reasons Behind the Granite State Name

The United States spans multiple time zones and different topographies, and each state has a specific landscape that helps define its identity. For example, Washington is known as the Evergreen State for its vast green forest, while Florida is known as the Sunshine State for its weather and climate. New Hampshire, however, is called the Granite State because of its mineral deposits and formations. Granite, which is created by molten magma as it moves up from the Earth and cools over time, is also the official rock of the state.

What Exactly is Granite?

Granite is the most widely-recognized igneous rock. It is light-colored and commonly used in many products, including kitchen countertops, paving stones, and headstones. In New Hampshire, famous natural exposures of the rock are readily seen through the landscape. These formations were created by the slow process of crystallization of magma below the surface of the Earth, resulting in several materials including quartz, feldspar, mica, and amphiboles. The mix of materials provides granite with its distinct red, pink, grey, or white colors easily visible to the human eye. In the United States, most of the stone used in commercial applications come from deposits in five states: Georgia, Idaho, Massachusetts, South Dakota, and New Hampshire.

The Granite State

Officially, the state was named by Captain John Mason after Hampshire, England. It was one of the original 13 states and became part of the Union in 1788. The state’s nickname was adopted because of New Hampshire’s vast granite formations and quarries. According to some, the nickname is also a reflection of the frugal nature of New Hampshire’s government tradition, which is to oppose individual and state income taxes. Although well-known for its granite, the foundation of the territory is less than half granite. Underneath, the earth in this area is made up of a metamorphic rock called schist. Nevertheless, the visible formations and the industries that rely largely on granite made the nickname permanent.

Granite-Related Attractions in the State

Of the granite-related attractions in New Hampshire, Lost River Gorge is a great place to visit. This was an area covered with ice during the last Ice Age. As glaciers melted, they receded, eroding potholes into the granite; boulders dropped and created the amazing landscape that those visiting the location can enjoy. For those interested in rock and minerals, the Rock & Minerals iOS app is a great guide to learning and understanding the different minerals and formations. You can also visit one of the many AT&T stores in New Hampshire for assistance downloading the app or to make sure that your smartphone can handle the download.

As you travel through the Lost River, you will see the exposed material and rocks that were formed as a consequence of time and the tumbling of giant glacial boulders. With freezing weather conditions, the site is closed from late October to April. However, during the season, be sure to sign up for a Yoga in the Woods class or explore the caves at night by being part of the Lantern Tours. The Natural Science Center also has activities and events with live animal presentations. With the site’s recent expansion, including an adventure trail, tree houses, and suspension bridges, Lost River is a perfect place to explore the Granite State’s natural beauty.