Photograph of Mount Rainier in Washington at sunset.

Washington Earth Science Quick Facts

Page snapshot: Washington State Geologic MapFossil; Rock; Mineral; GemHighest and Lowest Elevations; Places to Visit; and Additional Resources.

Image above: Mount Rainier at sunset. Photograph by Daniel Foster (Flickr; Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license).

Geologic Map of Washington


Geologic map of Washington.

Geologic map of Washington showing maximum ages of mappable units. Image by Jonathan R. Hendricks for the [email protected] project developed using QGIS and USGS data (public domain) from Fenneman and Johnson (1946) and Horton et al. (2017).

Washington State Fossil: Mammuthus columbi

The state fossil of Washington is Mammuthus columbi, the Columbian mammoth.


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Skeleton of The Columbian Mammoth Mammuthus columbi on display at the Burke Museum in Seattle, Washington. Photograph by Richard Droker (Flickr; Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic license).

Washington State Rock: None

Washington does not yet have an official state rock. What do you think it should be? Answer in the comments.

Washington State Mineral: Non

Washington does not yet have an official state mineral. What do you think it should be? Answer in the comments.

Washington State Gem: Petrified Wood

Washington's state gem is actually a fossil: petrified wood.


Photograph of petrified wood at Ginkgo Petrified Forest in Washington.

Petrified wood at Ginkgo Petrified Forest in Washington. Photograph by OER Training (Flickr; Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic license).

Washington's Highest and Lowest Elevations

Topographic map of Washington.

Topographic map of Washington with physiographic regions and point of highest elevation identified. Topographic data are derived from the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM GL3) Global 90m (SRTM_GL3) (Farr, T. G., and M. Kobrick, 2000, Shuttle Radar Topography Mission produces a wealth of data. Eos Trans. AGU, 81:583-583).


Highest Elevation: Mt. Rainier

Located 87 kilometers (54 miles) southeast of Seattle, the massive stratovolcano Mt. Rainier is Washington’s highest point at 4392 meters (14,411 feet) in elevation. As well as being the highest peak in the Cascade Range, Mt. Ranier is considered one of the world’s deadliest volcanoes due to its proximity to highly populated areas.


Aerial photograph of Mount Rainier in Washington.

Aerial photograph of Mount Rainier. Image by Sten Shebs (Wikimedia Commons; Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license).


Lowest Elevation: Pacific Coast

Washington’s lowest points are found at sea level along the coast, where the shoreline meets the Pacific Ocean.


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Cape Disappointment on the Pacific Coast of Washington. Photograph by Tom Collins (Flickr; Creative Commons Attribution-NoDervis 2.0 Generic license).

Places to Visit


Burke Museum

University of Washington, Seattle.


Visit website
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An exhibit inside the Burke Museum in Seattle, Washington. Photograph by Chris Blakeley (Flickr; Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic license).


Stonerose Interpretive Center & Eocene Fossil Site

Republic, Washington.


Visit website
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Fossil specimen of Metasequoia found at the Stonerose site in Republic, Washington. Photograph by "Upupa4me" (Flickr; Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license).


Ginkgo Petrified Forest / Wanapum Recreation Area

Vantage, Washington.


Visit website
Photograph of petrified logs at Ginkgo Petrified Forest in Washington.

Petrified logs at Ginkgo Petrified Forest in Vantage, Washington. Photograph by Richard Droker (Flickr; Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic license).

Additional resources


Learn more about the Earth science of Washington and the surrounding region on [email protected]


Explore
Simple map showing the physiographic regions of the western United States.

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