NC Geology - Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

This page provides answers to frequently asked questions on diverse topics. It includes links to general questions from the state's rock and mineral, mineral production, permits, professional licensing and other information. While some of the questions are answered directly on this page, many links point to other locations on our Internet site, or elsewhere for additional information.

Table of contents

Where can I find out about summer intern positions?

The North Carolina State Government Internship Programs provides a unique combination of learning, working, theory and practice. The programs enable college students to assert initiative and creativity through hands-on involvement and problem solving.

Please refer to these sites for more information on timing, availability and more:

How do I get rocks and minerals identified by North Carolina Geological Survey?

The North Carolina Geological Survey staff will provide rock and mineral identification for samples sent to its offices without charge. Samples should be securely packaged with a brief cover note, including the location from which the rock or mineral sample was collected, requesting this service. The NCGS does not provide assays or chemical analyses. You should provide your complete name, address, e-mail address, and telephone number to facilitate a response. Please contact Dr. Kenneth B. Taylor for more information.

What is the 'state rock'?

The General Assembly of 1979 designated granite as the official State rock. North Carolina is blessed with an abundance of granite. When granite is crushed, it is used as an aggregate for road and building construction. If granite has the right physical properties, it can be cut into blocks and used for monuments, curb stone and stone for building facings. One of the largest open face granite quarries in the world is located in Mount Airy, North Carolina.

What is the 'state mineral'?

The General Assembly of 1973 designated the emerald as the official State precious stone. Emerald is found in North Carolina near Hiddenite in Alexander County and southwest of Spruce Pine in Mitchell County.

What is the state fossil?

The General Assembly of 2013 designated the fossilized teeth of the megalodon shark to be the state fossil of North Carolina. Megalodon (which means "big tooth") was an enormous species of shark that dominated Earth’s oceans for twenty million years before going extinct 3.6 million years ago, likely due to the disruption of the food web that supported it.

Whom do I contact about getting a mining permit?

In order to comply with the Mining Act of 1971, interested parties should contact the NC Division of Energy, Mineral, and Land Resources, Mining Program  The address is: Division of Energy, Mineral, and Land Resources, 1612 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-1612. The telephone number is 919.707.9228.

The Mining Act covers all persons or firms involved in any activity or process that:

  • results in the breaking of the surface soil in order to remove minerals or removal of minerals, soils and other solid matter from its original location; or,
  • involves preparation, washing, cleaning or other treatment of minerals or other solid matter to make them suitable for commercial, industrial or construction use. Such operations can range from large stone quarries to borrow pits.

There are specific exemptions from the Act. Further information is available from the Division of Land Resources NC Division of Energy, Mineral, and Land Resources, Mining Program.


Where can I find information about aerial photographs?

The North Carolina Geological Survey has an extensive collection of aerial photographs in the NCGS' Archdale office at 512 N. Salisbury Street, Raleigh, NC 27604-1148. The collection is black and white aerial stereo pair photographs taken in the 1950's and early 1960's of many of North Carolina's counties. These are 9-inch prints, with a nominal scale of 1:20,000.


Selected Gem Mines, Mineral Museums, and Mineral Clubs in North Carolina


The following partial listings of North Carolina Gem and Gold mines, Mineral Museums, and Mineral Clubs does not constitute an endorsement by the North Carolina Geological Survey of any of these facilities. This list is intended as a guide only, and is included as a potential starting point for individuals interested in North Carolina minerals. This compilation does not, nor is it intended to, list all gem and gold mines, mineral museums, and mineral clubs in North Carolina. This listing is not maintained on a regular basis and therefore may contain errors. Please contact the appropriate facility or group for up-to-date information.

Interested individuals are encouraged to perform their own Internet searches for North Carolina gem and gold mines, mineral museums, and mineral clubs, as these more current searches may reveal additional information.

Partial Listing of North Carolina Gem and Gold Mines


Mine Commodity County
Emerald Hollow Mine, Hiddenite, NC Gems Alexander
Reed Gold Mine, Midland, NC Gold Cabarrus
Old Pressley Sapphire Mine, Canton, NC Gems Haywood
Cherokee Ruby Mine, Franklin Gems Macon
Cowee Mountain Ruby Mine, Franklin, NC Gems Macon
Gold City Mine, Franklin Gold and Gems Macon
Jackson Hole Mine, Franklin Gems Macon and Jackson
Moonstone Gem Mine, Franklin Gems Macon
Rose Creek Mine, Franklin Gems Macon
The Old Cardinal Mine, Franklin Gems Macon
Blue Ridge Gemstone Mine, Little Switzerland Gems Mitchell
Emerald Village, Little Switzerland Gems Mitchell
Gem Mountain, Spruce Pine Gems Mitchell
Rio Doce Mine, Spruce Pine Gems Mitchell
Spruce Pine Gem and Gold Mine, Spruce Pine Gems Mitchell
Cotton Patch Gold Mine, New London Gold Stanly
Greater Foscoe Gem Mining Company, Foscoe Gems Watauga
Magic Mountain Mini Golf and Gem Mine, Boone Gems Watauga


Partial Listing of North Carolina Mineral Museums


Partial Listing of North Carolina Mineral Clubs