Finding & Exploring the Rocks of Arkansas

Nicknamed the ‘Natural State,’ Arkansas is a treasure trove of Rockhounding experiences. From digging for diamonds at Crater of Diamonds State Park to finding your own Quartz treasures in Hot Springs, there’s something for everyone in this great state.

The geology of Arkansas is divided into two regions. The highland area in the northwest is dominated by sandstones, shales, and limestones. The lowland region, part of the gulf coastal plain, is mostly made up of clay and sand.

Northern Arkansas has organized layers, or strata, of rock that can extend for miles. These layers offer a clear record of sedimentary deposits.

To the south in the Ouachita Mountains, the layers have become corrugated through the millennia, causing debate as to the timeline of events among geologists.

Upcoming Rockhounding Events in Arkansas

Quartz crystals from mount ida arkansas
Quartz crystals dug in Arkansas

Hunting for Quartz in Arkansas

If you are planning a trip to Arkansas, stop by one of the many active public dig sites for Quartz. Most of these locations bring dump truck loads of material from their industrial mines and allow you to dig through them for a fee.

Remember to bring tools, as some locations also allow you to hunt for your own vein pocket!

If you are in the Ouachita Mountains, you will most likely find milky quartz. This quartz contains innumerable microscopic bubbles that scatter light that normally passes through clear crystals.

Smokey quartz can also be found in Arkansas. Smokey quartz occurs near igneous rock and is most commonly found in Hot Spring county. The smokey appearance is caused by radioactivity during or shortly after the crystal’s formation.

sample of smoky quartz

Quartz

Hardness: 7

Streak: White

Chemical Formula: SiO2

Quartz is one of the most common minerals found in the Earth’s crust. While it is usually colorless and transparent, quartz can also be found in a wide variety of colors and a range of opacity. These varieties generally have their own name such as rose quartz, amethyst, smoky quartz, and citrine.

Quartz can also be found in cryptocrystalline varieties, or quartz that is made up of microscopic crystals. These varieties include chalcedony, agate, and jasper.

    • jim colemans rock shop and crystal mines jessieville 2 768x576

    Jim Coleman’s Rock Shop & Crystal Mines

Digging for Diamond in Arkansas

Arkansas is the only place in the world where you can pay to hunt for authentic diamonds. Discovered in 1906, over 100,000 diamonds have been recovered from the 35 acre field located in Pike County.

Not to be confused with “arkimer” diamonds, stones found at Crater of Diamonds state park are true diamonds. For a small fee you can hunt by hand, walking in the fields, or even bring screens to hunt through more material.

    • Crater of diamonds state park

    Crater of Diamonds State Park

Wavellite from Arkansas
Wavellite from Ouachita Mountains

Wavellite in the Ouachita Mountains

Wavellite is another sought out mineral that can be found in Arkansas. It can be found in the Ouachita National Forest. Wavellite can also be found in the now abandoned Montgomery County Mine, near Mount Ida.

Wavellite comes in a variety of colors, from a rich emerald green to yellow or white. If wavellite is broken across the spheres, it displays a wonderful radial structure. Wavellite found like this is often called “cats-eye.”

Wavellite comes in a variety of colors, from a rich emerald green to yellow or white. If wavellite is broken across the spheres, it displays a wonderful radial structure. Wavellite found like this is often called “cats-eye.”

Large example of pink dolomite with three quartz crystals growing from it

Dolomite

Streak: white

Hardness: 3.5-4

Chemical Formula: MgCO3

While the rock form of dolomite is common and closely resembled limestone, mineral dolomite can be found in certain places in Ohio. Found in Northwestern Ohio in association with many other minerals, dolomite can range in color from white to brown to pink.

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    • Crater of diamonds state park

    Crater of Diamonds State Park

    • jim colemans rock shop and crystal mines jessieville 2 768x576

    Jim Coleman’s Rock Shop & Crystal Mines

    • ron coleman mining jessieville 2 768x577

    Ron Coleman Mining

Celeste
Author: Celeste

Rocks!