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Home / Stones / Petosky Stones

Petoskey Stones are fossilized colony corals (Hexagonaria percarinata). Approximately 350 million years ago warm salt water covered Michigan. In the depths of this sea, the members of the coral colony lived. It is a compound coral in that many animals lived together in a colony. The soft living tissue of corals is called the polyp. The polyp hardens into corallites, a skeletal base that secretes a limey substance, supports the polyp and keeps it from being buried alive by bottom debris. The limey skeletons were replaced by calcite or silica in a cell-by-cell process called petrification.

When glaciers scraped the bedrock surface, fragments of this rock were carried and deposited elsewhere, primarily in the north half of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan. Similar fossils of the Hexagonaria genus occur in many parts of the world such as Emmet, Charlevoix, Cheboygan, Presque Isle, and Alpina countries, but the "percarinata" is limited to the Traverse Group in Petoskey, Michigan. In each hexagonal chamber of the coral lived a small saltwater marine life organism. The hexagonal chambers are sometimes referred to as 'eyes'. These 'eyes' are actually the coral's mouth. When the coral was living, tentacles radiated from its mouth and brought in food. These tentacles are the lines coming out from the edge of the eyes of the stone. The small flecks seen in the eyes of the stone are the coral's food, which became petrified along with the coral.



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