GSA Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, USA - 2019

Paper No. 179-2
Presentation Time: 8:30 AM


HANNIBAL, Joseph T., Cleveland Museum of Natural History, 1 Wade Oval Drive, Cleveland, OH 44106

Berea sandstone, quarried for more than 200 years in Ohio, has historically been one of the most widely used sandstones in North America. Early on, its use was international, as the stone was used as dimension stone in both the United States and Canada. A number of important buildings have been built with it, including the Michigan State Capital and Pittsburgh's Carnegie Building, as well as parts of Parliament buildings in Canada. Many buildings constructed with Berea sandstone are now included in the U.S. National Register of Historic Places or the Canadian Register of Historic Places. Grindstones made of the sandstone were shipped throughout North America, as well as to South America, Europe, and Asia. The stone was used for other products as well, including millstones, sidewalks, and curbstones. Berea sandstone is also one of the most studied stones in the world by geologists and others as it has become a standard for sandstone analysis.

Berea sandstone is celebrated at a number of Ohio locations, notably the northern Ohio localities of Berea in Cuyahoga County and the Amherst area in Lorain County, which have been the most important historic sources of this stone. Many older Berea quarries in Ohio are now located in parks and there is a growing body of literature noting this stone in the popular literature. Berea sandstone has been known by a number of different geological and commercial names such as Berea grit, Amherst stone, and Berea Sandstone (the lattermost a formal rock-unit name). This complicates its identification using historic sources. The stone quarried in the major northern Ohio quarries, as well as many other quarries, however, is quite homogeneous, so can be identified by its grain size and other factors.

For the above reasons, this stone would make a good candidate as a formal Global Heritage Stone Resource, joining the few other North American sandstones formally recognized (Jacobsville Sandstone) or recommended (Seneca sandstone) as Global Heritage Stone Resources.