Arkansas Rocks and Minerals

Arkansas is a prime state for rockhounding because of its abundance of quartz crystals.

In fact, quartz was named the Arkansas state mineral in 1967.

Southern and eastern Arkansas is sandy river delta and coastal plain, while the northern and western part are rugged plateau shared with Missouri and Oklahoma. Most of the plateaus are formed of hard sedimentary rocks, but a small area including Hot Springs and Pike counties is underlaid by crystalline rocks. This is the quartz crystal and diamond producing area.

The area north and west of Hot Springs is famous for its quartz crystals. The quartz crystals are found in veins in sandstone and shale. The quartz area is about thirty to forty miles long and fifteen miles wide, extending southwest from near Little Rock to Oklahoma. They are usually milky in appearance because of pockets of impurities, but many individual crystals have colorless, almost clear terminations. On large “plates” of crystals, the individual crystals are often short, but it is not unusual for smaller crystals to be six times as long as they are thick, or more.

There is a Pay to Dig at Ron Coleman Mining, 211 Crystal Ridge Lane, Jessieville, Arkansas, where you can hunt for gorgeous quartz crystals. Their public crystal hunting/digging area is a large area (4 acres) with tailings brought up from their commercial mining operation. They also offer tours of their mining operation.

There is also the Stanley Mine on Fisher Mountain and the Garfield Lewis claim that are Pay to Dig quartz mines located about southeast of Mt Ida.

And here is a list of other Pay for Dig sites we have heard of:

Avant Mining Fisher Mountain – 11 Logan Gap Rd, Mt Ida, AR 71957

Avatar Crystal Mine – Forest Road W 37 Off, Owley Rd, Mt Ida, AR 71957

Board Camp Crystal Mine – 110 Polk Rd 62, Mena, AR 71953

Sweet Surrender Crystals – 288 Horseshoe Bend Rd, Story, AR 71970

Wegner Crystal Mines – 82 Wegner Crystal Ranch Rd, Mt Ida, AR 71957

Please do your own research to find out if these places are still open and for more information.

There have only been two areas in the Unites States where diamonds were mined commercially. One is a mine near Murfreesboro, Arkansas. It was worked as a commercial diamond mine by a succession of operators in the early 1900s but closed because the deposit was not prolific enough to be profitable. That area is now known as the Crater of Diamonds State Park and it is the only mine in the world where people can pay to dig for diamonds. More than 35,000 diamonds have been found by park visitors since the Crater of Diamonds became an Arkansas state park in 1972.

In addition to quartz and diamonds, Arkansas produces many rocks and minerals, including Agates, Barite, Bauxite, Calcite, Garnet, Jaspers, Petrified Wood, Turquoise, Magnetite, Rhodochrosite, Smithsonite, Variscite, Wavellite and more.

Northern Arkansas is characterized by its rugged Ozark Mountains, meandering rivers, and numerous rock formations. Creek and riverbeds are always good places to rockhound. Prairie Creek, flowing through the Ozark Mountains, is renowned for its rich deposits of minerals and fossils. When you explore Prairie Creek, you may find Amethyst, Diopside, Epidote, Garnet, Hematite, Peridot, Pyrite, and Quartz.

Before venturing out-do some research on where and what you can collect. Remember you must have permission to collect on private property.

See my page on Rockhounding Rules for general information on the rules of collecting rocks on various lands.