The World Bank defines a natural resource as a “gift of nature." Natural resources are raw materials supplied by nature that have economic value and can directly and indirectly contribute to economic prosperity. Arkansas is nicknamed the “Natural State” because of its abundance of natural resources. It is renowned for its wealth of natural beauty, wildlife, clear lakes and other natural resources.
Diamonds and Quartz Crystals
According to J. Willard Hershey in “The Book of Diamonds,” diamonds were first discovered in Arkansas in 1906. The state is one of the highest producers of diamonds in the United States; between 1972 and 2005, 25,369 diamonds were mined in the state, according to the official state website.
Often called “Arkansas diamonds,” quartz crystals are minerals found in Arkansas. Quartz crystal was declared the state mineral in 1967.
Trees are abundant in Arkansas. According to the U.S. Forest Service, much of Arkansas was once covered by vast forests of large, old trees. According to the book “An Arkansas History for Young People,” two-thirds of Arkansas was covered in forests of virgin timber--mostly pinewoods--in 1900. The state converted these vast reserves of forests into marketable lumber, becoming the fourth-largest producer of wood products and lumber by 1907, according to Jean Sizemore in the book “Ozark Vernacular Houses.” As of 2010, Arkansas is the fourth-largest producer of timber in the United States, according to Arkansas Timber.
Bauxite--an aluminum ore--is an important natural resource of Arkansas and was named as its official mineral in 1967. According to Thomas Leonard Watson in the book “A Preliminary Report on the Bauxite Deposits of Arkansas,” the bauxite deposits of Arkansas were first discovered by the Geological Survey in 1891. Bauxite is a yellow, brown or off-white rock that is used to make drink cans, boats, power lines, airplanes, cements, chemicals and baseball bats.
According to a report published by the U.S. Geological Survey titled “Mineral Commodity Summaries, 2009,” Arkansas is the primary producer of bromine in the United States. Bromine is used in the manufacture of insect repellents, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, flame retardants and pesticides and for water treatment.
Bromine is a brownish-red liquid that has an unpleasant odor. According to the Arkansas tourism official website, bromine is the third-most-important resource produced in the state, after petroleum and gas.
- Geological Survey (U.S.): Mineral Commodity Summaries
- "A Preliminary Report on the Bauxite Deposits of Arkansas"; Thomas Leonard Watson; 2009.
- Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism: Arkansas State Facts
- Arkansas Timber: Introduction
- "Ozark Vernacular Houses"; Jean Sizemore; 1994.
- diamonds image by jimcox40 from Fotolia.com