The Different Kinds of Missouri Stone Used for Flint Knapping

The craft of flint knapping got its name from flint stone, also known as chert.
••• flint nodule image by pdtnc from Fotolia.com

Flint knapping, occasionally spelled "flintknapping," and also known as knapping, is the craft of flaking and chipping rocks that fracture conchoidally (in a convex breakage pattern), by striking them skillfully with harder objects, to make tools, building stones and flintlocks. Flint knappers especially favor two different types of Missouri stone, Mozarkite and Burlington Chert. But flint knappers can also find many types of chert, also known as flint, as well as knappable Quartzite in Missouri.

Mozarkite

Mozarkite, Missouri's official state stone, is an especially hard, multicolored chert (flint), found in the west-central part of the state. It is named for the state's two-letter postal abbreviation (MO), the syllable "zark" that represents the Ozark mountains and the suffix "ite," meaning rock. Like all chert, Mozark is made mostly of micro-crystalline quartz (silica - SiO2) and usually contains chalcedony. Mozarkite is distinguished from other cherts by the its diverse color variations--displaying areas of brown, gray, purple, green, red or pink--and its ability to take on a high polish.

Burlington Chert

Burlington chert is often pink, white or light brown and flakes easily, but irregularly, presenting a challenge to modern flint knappers. Archeologists have found many prehistoric artifacts knapped from this material by Missouri's prehistoric peoples.

Other Cherts and Flints

Because chert derives from carbonate sedimentary rocks, such as dolomite and limestone, that underlie most of Missouri, knappable cherts and flints can be found almost everywhere in the state. Chemical variations and different formation processes account for the many different colors and patterns of Missouri chert. Flint knappers can work with all Missouri cherts, and geologists and hobbyists often give particular names to cherts with striking or unusual characteristics.

Quartzite

Quartzite is another hard, knappable metamorphic stone found in Missouri. Geological pressure forms quartzite from sandstone, a sedimentary rock made of grains of quarz (silica) and feldspar. Though some types of quartzite were knapped by prehistoric peoples, this stone is not often used by modern flint knappers, because it is difficult to flake accurately.

Related Articles

Difference Between Granite & Limestone
What is a Sardonyx?
Interesting Facts About Quartzite
Gems Found in Colorado
Difference Between Granite & Limestone
Rare Rocks & Minerals Found in Southern California
Rocks of Pennsylvania
Where Is the Mineral Topaz Found?
How to Find Obsidian Rocks
Gems Found in Wisconsin
What Are the Types of Rocks Found in the Appalachians?
The Characteristics of Slate
What Kind of Rocks Are Used to Make Statues?
How to Identify Basalt
What Natural Gemstones Are Organic to Vermont?
Stones Found in Arizona
Gems of Hawaii
How to Find Geodes in Idaho
Name Five Different Types of Limestone
How to Identify Obsidian