The following resources have been assembled for the benefit of researchers. Links to external websites are provided as a convenience and should not be construed as an endorsement by the National Park Service of the views or products contained therein.



Examples of Building Stone Databases

Decorative Stones (Czech Geological Survey)

England’s Building Stone Pits (EBSPits) (English Heritage and Bristish Geological Survey)
A collaborative effort undertaken by English Heritage and the British Geological Survey to document and disseminate information about England’s quarries and its stone built environment. Presented as an online GIS map. Includes functionality for crowd-sourcing information.

National Building Stone Collection (British Geological Survey)
Images of specimens from the UK's National Building Stone Colection available on GeoScenic.

Historic Quarries/Simplified Petrography for Archeologists (Universität Salzburg)
A database created by the Cultural Heritage Computing Group at Universität Salzburg. Organized around a petrographic hierarchy.

Natural Stone Database (Queens University Belfast)
Created by Queens University Belfast as a source for information on the stone-built heritage of Northern Ireland. Covers stone types, buildings, and quarries. Imagery based on examples from the built environment.

NIST Building Stone Test Wall (National Institue of Standards and Technology)
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) maintains a publically-accessible database of stones from its natural weathering test wall experiment in Gaithersburg, MD. The database includes limited information and photographs of 2,032 domestic building stone samples from 47 states (and 320 stones from 16 foreign countries).
A commercial database containing images and other information on 18,367 natural stone types from around the world.

Stone Contact
A commercial database containing images and other information on 11,822 natural stone types from around the world and 213 from the US. Also includes information on 17 US quarries.

Building and Decorative Stone Collections

Imperial College Rock Library (Imperial College London)
Includes tools for identifying rock types and minerals in hand samples and thin sections.

Smithsonian Building Stones Collection (Smithsonian Institution)
A collection of mostly domestic and some foreign stones dating from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. A portion of the collection was transferred to NIST (see below) for testing in the late 1940s. 714 specimens remain in the Smithsonian's collection. A brief description is available from the Department of Mineral Science, National Museum of Natural History:
Some specimen details are available through the Smithsonian's Catalog Search Center:

NIST Building Stone Test Wall (National Institue of Standards and Technology)
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) maintains a publically-accessible database of stones from its natural weathering test wall experiment in Gaithersburg, MD. The database includes limited information and photographs of 2,032 domestic building stone samples from 47 states (and 320 stones from 16 foreign countries).

Building and Decorative Stones of the UK (The Natural History Museum, London)

Building Stone Collection (Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History)

Mineralogy and Petrology Resources

Handbook of Mineralogy (Mineralogical Society of America)
Contains detailed descriptions of al known minerals and their characteristics. Useful for identification. Available in hard copy and PDFs (free to the public).

Guide to Thin Section Microscopy (Mineralogical Society of America)
Textbook guide to the identification of minerals in thin section. Available as a PDF (free to the public).

Atlas of Igneous and Metamorphic Rocks, Minerals, and Textures (University of North Carolina)
Contains photomicrographs and mineral descriptions. Useful for identification.

Rock Identification Key (Mineralogical Society of America)

Mineral Identification Key  (Mineralogical Society of America)

Minerals by Physical and Optical Properties (David Barthelmy)

Oxford Earth Sciences Image Store (University of Oxford)
Contains a collection of digitized photographs of rocks, thin sections and minerals.

Virtual Microscope (Open University)
Features an interesting collection of rocks, including some from the Apollo 11 mission to the moon and Charles Darwin's personal collection. This site also has a wonderful interface for viewing digitized thin sections.

Rock to Stone (Philip Marshall, Roger Williams University)
Outlines an interesting classroom assignment/lesson plan, tracing the geology of building stones.

Stone Conservation Resources

Scientific Committee for Stone (ICOMOS)
International organization of researchers, conservators, and other experts in the field of stone conservation; convenors of the International Congress on the Deterioration and Conservation of Stone; publishes a stone deterioration glossary (available in seven languages).

Illustrated Glossary on Stone Deterioration Patterns

Building Stone in the United States

Mineral Resources Data System (U.S. Geological Survey)

Mine Data Retrieval System (U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration)

Report on the building stones of the United States, and statistics of the quarry industry for 1880 (U.S. Census Office, 1883)
Historical resource available for download from the Internet Archive.

Resources by State


Geological Survey of Alabama


Alaska Division of Geological & Geophysical Surveys

Marble Resources of Southeastern Alaska (U.S. Geological Survey, 1920)


Arizona Geological Survey


Arkansas Geological Survey


California Geological Survey


Colorado Geological Survey


Connecticut Geological and Natural History Survey


Delaware Geological Survey


Florida Geological Survey


Environmental Protection Division

Elberton Granite Association


Commission on Water Resource Management


Idaho Geological Survey

Tertiary volcanic tuffs and sandstones used as building stones in the upper Salmon River Valley, Idaho (U.S. Geological Survey, 1930)


Illinois State Geological Survey


Indiana Geological Survey

Indiana Limestone Institute of America

Indiana Limestone Nomenclature (Indiana Geological Survey)


Iowa Geological Survey


Kansas Geological Survey


Kentucky Geological Survey


Louisiana Geological Survey


Maine Geological Survey


Maryland Geological Survey

Building Stone of Maryland (Maryland Geological Survey)


Office of the Massachusetts State Geologist

The building stones of Boston and vicinity (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Geology, 1903)


Michigan Geological Survey


Minnesota Geological Survey


Mississippi Office of Geology


Missouri Geological Survey


Montana Bureau of Mines & Geology


Nebraska Geological Survey


Nevada Bureau of Mines & Geology

New Hampshire

New Hampshire Geological Survey

New Jersey

New Jersey Geological Survey

New Mexico

New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources

New York

New York State Geological Survey

North Carolina

North Carolina Geological Survey

North Dakota

North Dakota Geological Survey


Ohio Division of Geological Survey

Building Stones in the Vicinity of Public Square, Cleveland, Ohio (Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources)


Oklahoma Geological Survey


Oregon Department of Geology & Mineral Industries


Pennsylvania Geological Survey

Pennsylvania Bluestone Association

Rhode Island

Rhode Island Geological Survey

South Carolina

South Carolina Geological Survey

South Dakota

South Dakota Geological Survey


Tennessee Division of Geology


Texas Bureau of Economic Geology


Utah Geological Survey

Building Stones of Downtown Salt Lake City: A walking tour (Utah Geological Survey)


Vermont Geological Survey

Barre Granite Association


Virginia Division of Geology and Mineral Resources


Washington Division of Geology and Earth Resources

West Virginia

West Virginia Geology & Economic Survey


Wisconsin Geological & Natural History Survey


Wyoming State Geological Survey


District of Columbia

Building Stones of Our Nation's Capitol (U.S. Geological Survey)

Building Stones and Geomorphology of Washington, D.C. (Robbins and Welter)

Puerto Rico

[None available.]


[None available.]

American Samoa

[None available.]

U.S. Virgin Islands

[None available.]

Northern Mariana Islands

[None available.]

Industry Organizations

Barre Granite Association

Building Stone Institute (BSI)

Elberton Granite Association

Indiana Limestone Institute of America

International Masonry Institute

Marble Institute of America

Monument Builders of North America

National Building Granite Quarries Association

National Slate Association

National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association

Pennsylvania Bluestone Association

General Resources

National Geologic Map Database (U.S. Geological Survey)

International Chronostratigraphic Chart (International Commission on Stratigraphy)

Stone Quarries and Beyond
An excellent collection of historical resources concerning geology, the quarry industry, stone carving, stone buildings, and more.

Heritage Stone Task Group (HSTG)
A specialist working group of the International Union of Geological Sciences set up to discuss and promote a proposed new international designation, Global Heritage Stone Resource, for hisorically significant quarries. The designation aims to promote greater prominence for natural stone that has been used in artistic and architectural masterpieces, and heritage building, as well as routine historic stone applications.