SIOUX QUARTZITE AND PIPESTONE

County: 

Rock County

Where Found: 

Located on westbound Interstate 90 at the Tourist Information Center in Beaver Creek (near the South Dakota border).

Text On Markers: 

SIOUX QUARTZITE AND PIPESTONE

Scattered throughout the rich farmland of southwestern Minnesota are large outcroppings of a hard red-to-pink rock known as Sioux quartzite. These rocks were formed from sand, silt, and shells deposited by shifting seas that advanced and retreated over this land more than a billion and a half years ago. In a few locations, the ripple marks of ancient shorelines are still clearly visible in the rocks themselves.

Within the quartzite deposits are smaller layers of a dark red stone known as pipestone or Catlinite, named for the well-known nineteenth century artist George Catlin. For centuries Indians from many different tribes quarried the soft red stone at what is now pipestone National Monument. From the precious rock they fashioned beautiful pipes and other ceremonial objects.

On many of the quartzite surfaces in this region are carved drawings of buffalo, turtles, thunderbirds, weapons, and human stick figures. Some of these mysterious works of art, called petroglyphs, are believed to be more than 5,000 years old and probably played a part in ceremonies to assure good hunting. 1985

Marker Number: 

170

Region: 

Southern Region

Marker Location: 

SIOUX QUARTZITE AND PIPESTONE Beaver Creek 44° 15' 55.1016" N, 96° 17' 14.3016" W

Information Needed: 

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Do it yourself Region: 

Southwest Corner