Types of Rocks Found In Arkansas: A Guide To the 4 Most Common You’ll Spot

Are you planning to go rock collecting in the state of Arkansas?

If so, you may be wondering why the kind of rocks and other minerals you can find in the great Bear state.

Of course, YesDirt has you covered, and in this guide, you’ll learn the most common rocks you’ll find in Arkansas.

So now, let’s get started. 

Types of Rocks Found In Arkansas

Diamond

Diamonds are native crystalline carbons, and they are the hardest known minerals.

Most diamonds are nearly colorless.

It is highly valued when transparent and free of flaws as a precious stone.

There is a mine in Arkansas where you can go rock collecting and find diamonds.

The Crater of Diamonds State Park is located near Murfreesboro, Arkansas.

A fee of ten dollars will get you into the mine, where you can search all day long and keep any diamonds found.

Diamonds are not the only gems that may be found there, as there are a number of other vibrant gemstones as well.

There are many gemstones you can find, including amethyst, agate, jasper, garnet, peridot, and hematite.

Diamonds occur in the park’s soil, which makes them easy to find.

Some people look through a field to find a diamond that is reflected in bright light after being cleaned by the rain. 

Another method is to dig through the soil with a shovel, one shovelful at a time.

If you don’t have your own tools, you can rent some at the park.

The park does not allow power tools, but they periodically plow the diamond field.

Quartz

In the Earth’s crust, quartz is among the most common minerals.

Despite being a colorless and transparent material, quartz comes in a variety of colors and opacities.

There are many varieties of these crystals, such as rose quartz, amethyst, smokey quartz, and citrine.

Cryptocrystalline quartz, or quartz composed of microscopic crystals, is also common.

Chalcedony, agate, and jasper are examples of these.

Among Arkansas’s most valuable gems is quartz.

There are many places in Arkansas where crystals of quartz are found.

For example, there are significant deposits near Mount Ida, Fisher Mountain, Hot Springs, and Jessieville.

There is a fee if you would like to go rock hounding around Fisher Mountain in Arkansas.

For adults, it is $25, for children between the ages of 7-15, it is $10, and for children under the age of seven, it’s free.

You can learn more about rock collecting at Fisher Mountain by visiting the website here.

Milky quartz is most likely to be found in the Ouachita Mountains.

There are many microscopic bubbles in this quartz, which scatter light that would normally pass through clear crystals.

In central Arkansas and southeastern Oklahoma, the Ouachita National Forest – which the U.S. Forest Service manages – covers approximately 1,800,000 acres.

In Hot Springs, Arkansas, the Forest Service operates its headquarters.

Under federal restrictions, the U.S. Forest Service allows recreational rock hounding at two collecting sites to collect quartz crystals.  

In the Womble Ranger District, Crystal Vista is a four-acre site that was previously a quartz crystal mine.

It is approximately 15 miles southeast of Mount Ida, Arkansas, on Gardner Mountain.

In the Jessieville-Winona Ranger District, Crystal Mountain is located halfway between Jessieville and Perryville in Arkansas.

Turquoise 

The opaque mineral turquoise is found in various blue, bluish-green, green, and yellowish-green shades.

The chemical composition of turquoise is a phosphate of copper and aluminum.

The gemstone market is attracted to turquoise because blue minerals are rare.

Well-formed crystals of turquoise are rare.

Instead, they usually consist of aggregates of microcrystals. Because the microcrystals are packed closely together, turquoise is more durable, polished to a higher luster, and lower porosity.

People describe this luster as waxy or subvitreous rather than vitreous or glassy.

A few locations in Arkansas have produced small amounts of turquoise.

For example, in Polk County, there is a deposit named the Mona Lisa near the summit of Porter Mountain.

Turquoise has also been found in the areas of Saline County, Montgomery County, and the Ouachita Mountains.

In Montgomery County, there is an abandoned quarry where many people have found turquoise and other common minerals known to Arkansas.

The location is near Mauldin Mountain and is about 2.5 miles northwest of Mount Ida. 

It is also located on the Ouachita National Forest land, and as stated above, the forest service only allows rock collecting in two areas.

Rock collecting for personal use is generally permitted.

However, you are likely to be denied if you request permission to collect.

Consider that you will likely have to leave if you collect here and leave all your hard-earned samples away before you depart.

Freshwater Pearls

Unlike saltwater from the sea, freshwater pearls are created by oysters that grow in non-saline water (from lakes and ponds).

As a result, freshwater pearls are usually less round than saltwater pearls.

It was common for freshwater pearls and mussel shell products to be produced in almost every major stream in Arkansas in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

The White River and Black River were particularly important freshwater pearl sources in northern Arkansas.

There were regular visitors from Paris and London buying pearls in Arkansas.

As a result of people aggressively pursuing pearls, Arkansas’ pearl production began declining in the early 1900s. 

During the late 1880s and early 1900s, Arkansas experienced a “Pearl Rush.”

Pearl hunters took family vacations to Arkansas to find valuable pearls, and many people still searched for pearls in the state.

Many people still find freshwater pearls when rock collecting within the rivers of Arkansas.

Some of the rivers you may find freshwater pearls are the Arkansas River, Ouachita River, Little Red River, and Cache River.

Remember to stay safe when rock collecting near rivers and streams as the current can be strong and sweep you away in a blink of an eye.

Wrapping Up

The four minerals above are the most common rocks you’ll find when rock collecting in Arkansas.

But, of course, there are plenty of other kinds of rocks and minerals you can find in the state.

Some include agate, amethyst, jasper, and petrified wood.

types of rocks found in arkansas