Also, they love to collect rocks — in particular, the Petoskey stone, the official state rock. The latter is found on the state’s beaches and sand dunes, where Michigan residents and visitors often collect it as a souvenir, because it has a striking hexagon pattern embedded in its surface that can be brought out with polishing.
The Petoskey has that feature because in addition to being a rock, it’s also a fossil — a remnant of coral that lived in Michigan during the Devonian Period, 350 million years ago. (The hexagon is actually the ancient animal’s mouth.)
Given all that, you can understand how utterly cool it must have been for rock hunter Tim O’Brien of Copenish, Mich., to find a 93-pound Petoskey stone in Lake Michigan, near the town of Northport.
According to the Grand Rapids Press, O’Brien discovered the immense Petoskey a week ago, half-buried in sand several feet out in the lake.
Removing the rock proved to be an arduous affair. It was too big for one person to dig out by hand. O’Brien left and returned another day with his girlfriend, but waves in the lake prevented them from locating it again. Finally, he went back a third time on Sept. 22, equipped with a trowel, and this time was able to dislodge it and carry it to his truck.
O’Brien, who’s been rock-hunting for a few years, told the newspaper that the stone is pretty good quality for its size. Though it might be too big to polish, he plans to put it in his yard for decoration. “It’s just kind of a conversation piece,” he said.
While 93 pounds sounds like a pretty big rock, it’s actually far from the biggest Petoskey ever found. That distinction probably belongs to a specimen found at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in 1999 by a rock hunter named Chuck Schnake. That stone reportedly weighed as much as a ton and measured 40 inches by 20 inches.