State gem: turquoise Turquoise is a mineral found only in desert areas. Its beautiful light blue to greenish-blue color has made this mineral a favorite of people for over 2,000 years. It is usually found near deposits of copper. State balladeer: dolan ellis In 1966, Dolan Ellis was named Arizona’s official balladeer by an act of the Arizona Legislature. An Arizona native, Dolan has written songs and has sung about his beloved Arizona for many years. Turquoise jewelry Dolan Ellis State foSSil: Petrified wood The beginning of Arizona’s Petrified Forest was probably about 225 million years ago. When the great conifer trees fell, they were washed away 50 miles to a level flood plain. Here, over many years, the fallen trees were covered by volcanic ash and silt, some to a depth over 1,000 feet. Over millions of years, the wood of these trees was replaced by quartz crystals and silica. This produced the beautiful colors in the petrified wood. Petrified wood: an Arizona treasure! State niCkname: the grand Canyon State Arizona’s own natural wonder, the Grand Canyon, is unmatched by any other place on earth. It is 280 miles long and its width ranges from 4 to 15 1/2 miles. The Colorado River began cutting through this land as the Colorado Plateau began to slowly rise 5–6 million years ago. Petrified wood Official Symbols of the State of Arizona  173