Honduras contains some of the most amazing stones in Central America.
In this article, you’ll learn more about the geology of Honduras.
Types of Rocks Found In Honduras: A Guide to the 7 Most Common You’ll Spot
The information provided in this article by YesDirt.com is for informational purposes and is subject to change. Laws are updated. Accessibility guidelines and restrictions change. Be sure to confirm the land status and collection rules before you travel to an unfamiliar location or collect any material.
Honduras has been explored and documented by those interested in its valuable geological deposits.
Silver and Gold has been mined in Honduras for more than a century.
Rock hunters can expect to find samples of andesite, red sandstone, limestone, olivine basalt, marble and rhyolite.
Honduras has been heavily mined, but recent governmental changes have put strict limitations on what and how it can be mined.
The country has 4 extinct volcanoes that are responsible for the many volcanic rocks that can be found on the island.
Opal is mined in Honduras. This stone is black with a speckled appearance some describe as cosmic.
This rare stone is generally found most commonly in Australia with Honduras being the second most common place to find the semi-precious to precious stone.
The oldest opal mines are found in Honduras. Erandique is the largest opal deposit in Honduras.
Opal has a glassy appearance, but it is opaque and ranged in color. The opals found in Honduras are generally black and iridescent.
Consider buying black opals at tourist jewelry shops in Honduras.
Andesite is igneous rock that forms when high viscosity lava erupts and cools rapidly when it meets the air.
Andesite is a fine grained rock that is gray to black. Andesite is often hard to distinguish from basalt, but the color is a major clue.
The lava that forms Andesite is generally pretty thick, a little thicker than smooth peanut butter. It contains less than 20% quartz.
Red sandstone is a particularly hard type of sandstone that was used extensively by the Maya in construction of temples and sculptures.
The Red Sandstone is not prone to breaking like other types of sandstone and it has been carved into the largest free standing sculptures in the Americas.
The sandstone is most famously used in carvings in Quirigua, but the stone was mined 5 km away. The site is located less than 10 miles from the border of Honduras and is associated with Copan in Honduras.
Limestone is a relatively soft stone that is fine grained and can often be scratched with a sharp knife.
Limestone can be found in Honduras at Punta Gorda and it can be found in coastal regions.
Limestone is formed when the calcium containing marine animals die and their remains are solidified into stone on the seafloor.
This limestone is then raised to the surface when tectonic or volcanic action raises the sea floor.
Limestone is easily shaped by wind and water to create cliffs, boulders and natural bridges.
Limestone was heated with water to create lime plaster to create some of the structures erected by the Mayans in Copan.
Some theorize that the collection and burning of the forests that surrounded these buildings contributed to the downfall of the society.
Basalt is a dark, fine grained rock that forms when lava is extruded and cools suddenly when it meets the air.
Basalt is made after a low viscosity lava cools. Because of the texture of the lava it often contains other minerals that crystallize in the lava flow.
The basalt in Honduras often contains olivine. Olivine is a transparent light green to yellow stone.
Olivine crystals can sometimes be found by careful rock breaking on Basalt formations. Be sure you have a sample of basalt not andesite which is unlikely to contain crystals.
Olivine can also be called peridot and is the birthstone for August.
Olivine is being studied as a CO2 sequestering compound. It absorbs CO2 readily when exposed to air.
Marble is a light colored hard stone with dark black veins. The stone has been used for many centuries for construction, sculpture and practical tools.
Many examples of early Mayan marble bowls and vases have been uncovered by archeologists. Images are available at the Library of Congress.
Because of the hardness of marble it can often be found in riverbeds where it will be slow to erode.
Marble is found in large quantities on Guacamaya Cay.
Rhyolite is a very fine grained or glassy stone that is formed from very silica rich lava.
The type of lava that results in the formation of rhyolite is often extruded in explosive volcanic eruptions.
Rhyolite is not usually found in thick sheets, but in stone fragments.
Because of the method of formation of rhyolite it can result in a very abrasive pumice like stone or a very sharp glassy stone.
The pumice type of rhyolite is often used in concrete, while the glassy formations have been historically used for blades.
Silver and Gold
While you are unlikely to find silver and gold while walking along the beach in Honduras, it is important to understand the history of mining in Honduras when you intend to collect rocks in the country.
In 1855 there is an early written record of a British man exploring the area to report on the gold and silver deposits of Tegucigalpa.
If you intend to collect stones on the island remember that the people of Honduras have been stripped of many natural resources by outsiders and you should practice extreme respect and care when collecting rocks.
The mining of silver and gold are still ongoing in Tegucigalpa and there is still much gold exported every year.
Collecting Rocks on Honduras
Honduras is a beautiful nation with many geological resources. When collecting rocks be sure to obey any posted signage and do not collect any sells, sand or rocks in protected National Parks.
With 20 National Parks Honduras is heavily environmentally protected. Consider buying local rock specimens to support the local environment.
The Maya used many of the rocks in important religious and daily activities and these same rocks are still used by local artisans to create beautiful pieces for sale.
Rocks on Honduras
Be sure to visit coastal and central locations to find all the types of rocks that are present on Honduras.
It can be easy to spot some highly recognizable marble or olivine containing basalt. These rocks will make an excellent addition to any collection.
Although there are no active volcanoes in Honduras the historic activity has left the country supported mostly by igneous rocks.
You might also like:
- Types of Rocks Found in El Salvador
- Types of Rocks Found In Honduras
- Types of Rocks Found in Anguilla
- Types of Rocks Found in Montserrat
- Types of Rocks Found on Guadaloupe
- Types of Rocks Found on Dominica
- Types of Rocks Found in Haiti
- Rockhounding Belize
- Rockhounding Mexico
- Types of Rocks Found in Costa Rica