Nebraska Rock and Minerals

Nebraska is not a great state for finding gem grade rocks and minerals.

Nebraska is a part of the Great Plains, with its plain sloping from northwest to southwest, including rich farmlands in the east, backed by a region of sand hills to the west which lead into the more rugged bluffs, tablelands, and occasional mountains of the High Plains. In the extreme northwestern corner, Nebraska shares an area of badlands with South Dakota. Nebraska's landscape is mostly loosely compacted sediments, with areas of the state having thick layers of sedimentary rock outcroppings. Nebraska's sediments and sedimentary rocks lie atop a basement of crystalline rock known only through drilling. Agates in stream gravels and gravel pits and petrified wood are the primary gemstone materials under such geological conditions.

The Cameco Resources Crow Butte uranium mine opened in 1991 in northwestern Nebraska near Crawford, Nebraska and ceased operation in 2018.

Oil was first discovered in Richardson County in 1939. By 1990, the state was the 20th largest producer of oil and gas in the United States, with three oil and gas producing regions and 93 counties with at least one test well.

The agates in Nebraska are some of the most desirable types. In various places across the state, you can find banded agates and moss agates. Probably the most well-known are Fairburn Agates found in the Northwestern portion of the state.

Petrified Wood found in Nebraska tends to be mostly brown, but some opalized wood is found there. Petrified wood is found alongside the agates and jaspers all over the state, but the best examples come from Harlan County and Dawes County.

Quartz geodes can be found in the state in gravel pits. In the gravel pits of Dawes County and Sioux County, celestite geodes have been found.

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.