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Oregonite & Josephinite

Oregon State Minerals

Josephinite Jackson County, southwestern Oregon, USA. Photo by James St. John / Flickr (use permitted with attribution).

Official Twin Minerals of Oregon

Oregonite and josephinite were designated the official twin minerals of Oregon in 2013 to promote education through the earth sciences, encouraging curiosity and study. Oregonite and Josephinite are found only in Oregon in the United States. All State Minerals

Senate Concurrent Resolution 14

WHEREAS oregonite and josephinite were first discovered as nuggets in Josephine Creek in Josephine County, Oregon; and

WHEREAS oregonite is named for the State of Oregon and josephinite is named for Josephine County; and

WHEREAS both oregonite and josephinite are thought to originate from the earth’s lower mantle, at the core-mantle boundary; and

WHEREAS oregonite is a nickel iron arsenide mineral, composed of 17.3 percent iron, 36.3 percent nickel and 46.4 percent arsenic, and is typically found in a serpentine rock environment and eroded into stream beds; and

WHEREAS josephinite is a nickel iron mineral, composed of 27.6 percent iron and 72.4 percent nickel, and is also typically found in a serpentine rock environment and eroded into stream beds; and

WHEREAS naturally occurring combinations of nickel and iron are exceptionally rare on earth and are more typically associated with iron meteorites, making oregonite and josephinite very special among minerals of the world and placing Oregon among the very few locations where this combination of elements may be found; and

WHEREAS just like iron meteorites, oregonite and josephinite feature an unusual geometric pattern in their matrices, referred to as Widmanstatten patterns; and

WHEREAS oregonite is nonmagnetic and josephinite is highly magnetic, properties that make them easy to distinguish from each other; and

WHEREAS although neither oregonite nor josephinite are unique to Oregon, they are found on a limited basis elsewhere on earth and are not known to exist in any other state in the United States; now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the Legislative Assembly of the State of Oregon: That oregonite and josephinite are the official twin minerals of the State of Oregon.