The California state rock is serpentine (correct name, serpentinite), which comes in many varieties, some which contain asbestos, which doesn’t get dangerous unless you grind it up and spread it into the air. Just sitting there, as it does through much of California and in other parts of the world, serpentine is mostly a greenish grace on the landscape.
Serpentine’s provenance is also remarkable (at least to geology types like me). It’s formed deep in the planet’s crust, under the spreading centers of oceans, where sea water penetrates mantle rock and, under great heat and pressure, lends lustrous colors and textures to what would otherwise become the plain old peridodite.
Anyway, asbestos obsessives have found a friend in California State Senator Gloria Romero, who is working to dump serpentine as the state rock. You know, like it matters. (Only 27 states bother having a state rock.) Read more in Burrito Justice and in the many posts that come up when you search for serpentine califoria state rock asbestos. Or you can skip all that and go to Andrew Alden‘s Speak Up for Serpentine at Oakland Geology.
Here’s the opposing (anti-serpentine) view.
My home state, New Jersey (also that of my nonfictionist hero, John McPhee) has no state rock, mineral or gem. How about asphalt, rhinestone and dirt? Just trying to help.