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New book on Kentucky agate from KGS geologist and agate collector

Sample of agate from a KGS collection

A new book, Kentucky Agate: State Rock and Mineral Treasure of the Commonwealth, will help people learn more about agate and appreciate its natural beauty. Published by the University Press of Kentucky, the book was written by KGS research geologist Warren Anderson and agate collector Roland McIntosh.

"Over my years at KGS, many people have called to ask questions about the geology of Kentucky agate. Interest in how and why the agates occurred in this part of the state was paramount to collectors. Roland was one of these collectors," Anderson says. "Roland had this extensive collection of agates and had hiked about every tributary in the region looking for these agates, so we had many fruitful discussions about them. Because of the large interest in these agates, we decided to write a book about them. It took us about 7 or 8 years from inception to published book." The 10" x 8" book may soon grace the coffee tables of people interested in agate, but it’s more than simply a coffee-table book.

The 224-page book, which includes information on history and types of agates, the geologic setting of how and where it forms. "And because of the very rugged terrain in this part of state, we thought all citizens would be able to appreciate the beauty of agate without having to hike up and down the mountainsides," Anderson adds.  Roland’s agate collection provided specimens for many of the photographs taken by Lee Thomas, a Lexington photographer.

By a law passed in 2000, agate is the official state rock of Kentucky.

From the University Press site: "Kentucky Agate is the first book to showcase the unique mineral, treasured for its fine grain and vibrant banks of deep, varied colors. Authors Roland L. McIntosh and Warren H. Anderson have collected hundreds of professional color photographs, revealing the beauty and diversity of this sought-after stone. With detailed maps of the region surrounding the city of Irvine, Kentucky, including parts of Estill, Powell, Jackson, Menifee, Madison, and Lee counties, Kentucky Agate reveals locations where agate may be found."

The book can now be purchased from the publisher’s Web site here.