Types of Rocks in Alaska: A Guide To The 8 Most Common You’ll Spot

Alaska is a prime center for active volcanoes, some of the highest mountains on the planet, and years of weathering in multiple conditions.

As you can imagine, geologically, this results in some fascinating rocks one could find on the planet.

With Alaska spreading over 663,300 square miles, it’s the biggest state by landmass in the United States.

It has a multitude of rock types available for rockhounding.

Types of Rocks in Alaska: The 8 Most Common Rocks You’ll Spot


Obsidian is quite common in Central Alaska but can be found in many regions.

The rock is extrusive and solidifies above Earth’s surface.

Obsidian is colored black and can have a brown, tan, or green tint.

Mining obsidian is easy due to it being easy to break from outcrops.

Obsidian will be near the earth’s surface.

The primary method of gathering is using a rock hammer which can break off pieces.

In Alaska, you can find Obsidian in the following areas:

  • Nenana City
  • Tanana Valley
  • Batza Tena
  • Wiki Peak
  • Suemez

In the modern-day, Obsidian makes jewelry, including reflective beads and gemstones.

Although, before, it used to be used to make weapons, tools, and mirrors.

In metaphysical properties, Obsidian is thought to be a powerful cleanser of psychic smog and is considered a protection stone.


Soapstone is a metamorphic rock.

While the exact chemical formula differs, you’ll find specimens mixed with talc, chlorite, micas, carbonates, and possibly many other minerals.

The color is often gray, blue, green, or brown in appearance, and it has a soapy texture.

Deposits will be in small deposits in small rocks, seams, and boulders.

To mine soapstone, one will need to carve crude stone tools on the outcrop.

To get the soapstone loose, use the tool to pry, chisel, and scrape the soapstone from its deposit.

In Alaska, soapstone can be found everywhere.

Today, soapstone has many commercial uses, including the construction of fireplaces, cladding on wood-burning stoves, and masonry heaters due to its ability to radiate heat evenly.

Metaphysically, soapstone is used for being soothing, calming, and bringing calming energy.


Geodes are spherical rock structures lined with minerals.

The rock has a durable exterior wall and includes a mineral cavity inside.

Some common mineral cavities include amethyst, calcite, and agate.

One may find gem silica, rhodochrosite, and opal in rare cases.

Geodes can be found in areas close to volcanic ash beds or regions with limestone.

To harvest geodes, you’ll need to use a hammer and chisel to open the geode.

Essentially, chisel around the circle of rock until a crack has formed and then chisel around until the geode cracks open.

In Alaska, Geodes are commonly found in:

  • No Name Creek
  • Yukon River
  • Talkeetna Range
  • Totem Bay
  • Denali
  • Sheep Mountain
  • Yellow Jacket River
  • Jim Creek Area
  • Glenn Highway (Northern)
  • Palmer
  • Chilkaloon

The Geodes value varies significantly on the type of mineral structure inside the rock.

Depending on the minerals, a geode can be sold for quite a high price.

However, smaller geodes are used for decoration.

Metaphysically, geodes are thought to help communicate with divine beings and help create better moods while reducing stress.


Agates are a translucent variety of microcrystalline quartz formed by the deposition of silica from groundwater.

This rock forms in various colors, including brown, white, red, gray, pink, black, and yellow.

The stone often occurs in nodules in volcanic rocks or ancient lavas.

Unlike other stones, agates can quickly be scooped up using a rock picker.

We also suggest bringing a bag, flashlight, and bottle sprayer to help identify the rock.

In Alaska, Agates are commonly found in:

  • Point Woronzof
  • Fire Island
  • Kenai Beach
  • Juneau Beach
  • Anch (Western)
  • Mendenhall Lake

Agate is extremely hard, retains a polished finish, and resists chemical attacks.

These properties make agates perfect for knife-edge bearings for laboratory balances and precision pendulums.

Metaphysically, agates are thought to be good for cleansing and stabilizing auras.

Jade (Jadeite & Nephrite)

Jade variants are rocks that have slightly different mineral compositions.

Jadeite is an aluminum-rich pyroxene and nephrite is a magnesium-rich amphibole.

Both rocks range widely in appearance but generally are dark green, gray, pink, lilac, red, blue, white, cream, yellow, orange, or black.

You’ll be able to find jade in rocks with a high level of pressure.

To extract jade, one will need to use excavators in open pits.

Otherwise, a person may need to use core drills and hydraulic spreaders to push back rock so that the jade can become separated.

In Alaska, Jade can be found in the following areas:

  • Shungnak District
  • Jade Mountain
  • Jade Creek
  • Kobuk
  • Noatak Rivers
  • Dall River
  • Seward Peninsula

Historically, Jade has been used to make jewelry.

Today, jade is often combined with other metals to help craft stunning jewelry, such as necklaces, earrings, beads, pendants, etc.

Metaphysically, jade is thought to be a protective stone.

6. Gold

Gold is an element and a mineral and is one of the most sought-after and well-known rocks in Alaska.

Trace amounts of gold can be found almost anywhere.

However, large deposits are only located in a few areas globally.

In Alaska, small amounts of gold can be found in a few gold panning areas.

The majority of gold is often found in quartz rocks near river beds or on large hillsides.

Other than going gold panning in designated spots in Alaska, one can also search for gold using geophones.

Trace amounts of gold can generally be found all over Alaska.

However, the most common places you can find gold are:

  • Yukon River Basin
  • Kuskokwim River
  • Copper River
  • Kobuk River
  • Noatak River
  • Nome Creek Valley
  • Dalton Highway

Almost 78% of gold is used to manufacture jewelry in modern society.

However, it is also used as a financial exchange.

Metaphysically, gold symbolizes the purity of spirit. 


Diamond is a rare and naturally occurring mineral primarily composed of carbon.

Its appearance is octahedral and brown or yellow.

However, rare variants include hues of red, orange, green, blue, pink, purple, violet, and yellow.

To find diamonds, you’ll have to search below the earth.

To collect diamonds, one will need to use open-pit mining techniques and remove layers of sand and rock. 

In Alaska, Diamonds can be found in the following areas:

  • Shulin Lake
  • Nunavut borders and Northwestern Territories

Most diamonds are used for adornment and crafting wedding rings.

However, diamonds are also helpful in the industrial sector.

Naturally, diamonds have a high level of strength on the Mohs scale of hardness. 

Due to this, industrialized companies use diamonds to drill, polish other metals, and cut.

Metaphysically, diamonds represent fearlessness, invincibility, and fortitude.


Garnets are rock-forming minerals that share a crystal structure and chemical composition.

The deposits are found on the earth’s surface and only form when subjected to high heat and pressure.

The appearance of garnets is often only mistaken as red gemstones.

Still, they can occur in multiple colors, including green, yellow, orange, pink, and purple.

To find garnets, look for tiny crystals by panning or pegmatite mining.

Collecting garnets will require a rock pick, shovel, sledgehammer, cold chisel, and safety glasses. 

In Alaska, garnets can be found in the following areas:

  • McCarthy area
  • Tok River
  • Northway Uplands
  • Stikine River

Garnet is often used as an abrasive blasting material in processes like water filtration.

This includes abrasive blasting media, abrasive powders, and waterjet cutting.


Alaska is rich in rock deposits, and there is likely a large variety that can be found throughout the land.

You might also like:

types of rocks in alaska