The state of Missouri has a long history associated with various types of gemstones and minerals. The mining industry is responsible for some of the most beautiful sights in the world, from shiny crystal formations to ores that are rich in copper.
As you will see in our guide to rock hunting in Missouri, Rock hunting enthusiasts can find endless opportunities throughout Missouri to explore and discover precious gems deep within the earth’s core. With so much variety to offer, it is sure to provide hours of entertainment as you travel through forests or fields picking up your desired specimens piece by piece.
Whether you’re new at rock hunting, experienced, or anywhere in between, this post will highlight some guides for rock hunting enthusiasts as well as tips on where to start when exploring this hobby.
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Geology of Missouri
The state of Missouri is one of the most unique states in the United States. It is home to a diversity of landscapes, including swamps, rivers, lakes, and other bodies of water. Geologically speaking, Missouri has some very interesting features that are worth exploring. It is a fascinating topic and one that has been studied for many years. The area includes the Ozark Plateau, the Central Lowland, and the Mississippi Embayment.
There are many different types of bedrock in this state, as well as a variety of minerals including coal, limestone, lead ore, and zinc. Geologists have found fossils from over 500 million years ago in this state!
Common Rocks in Missouri
In Missouri, one can find various types of rocks to mine for. They come in many shapes, sizes, colors, textures, hardness, and more! Check out what you can find here in Missouri to bring home for your own rock collection:
Missouri’s official state rock is mozarkite. Chert is a kind of mozarkite. Chert is a silica-based hard, opaque rock that usually comes in the form of nodules. It comes in a variety of colors, including red, pink, and purple, and has beautiful bands or a mottled pattern. Because of its unusual coloration and ability to accept a high polish, it is a favorite of lapidaries.
It is a layered or bedded limestone that can be found in abundance in Missouri in bluffs, creek beds, and hillsides, and is known to underlie the soil in most of the state’s southern half. It can be found in thin slabs, thick layers, and enormous beds that can form a tiny cliff. It is usually white to greyish, but iron oxide can color it tan, yellowish, or reddish, and the presence of very finely divided, black carbonaceous particles can deepen it through shades of grey to black.
It is a type of rock made up of sand-sized particles that have been more or less well bonded together. When the rock is shattered or scraped with a piece of steel or another hard rock, granules of sand are dislodged or scratched loose, identifying it. It can be found in tiny layers to large enormous beds and deposits with a thickness of up to fifty feet.
Its defining qualities are so well-known that little needs to be spoken about them. The majority of the coal in Missouri is bituminous, however, there is also some cannel coal. Missouri’s bituminous coal can be found in the state’s Northern and Western regions. It has dull coal bands, gleaming glance coal bands, sooty mineral charcoal, and common mineral impurities.
Granite is a granular rock with a glossy shine that is too hard to be scratched by steel in any significant way. Granite can range in color from white to grey, tan, brown, or pink to red, although pinkish to red granite is the most common in Missouri. Some black stone, referred to as “black granite” in the area, is actually a gabbro type.
Crystal Hunting in Missouri
Crystal hunting in Missouri is really about adventure. It is not just a walk through rocky fields to find pretty rocks. You need more than patience, as this hunt requires that your eyes are looking for places where crystals might be hidden among the dirt and grasses of nature reserves. Here are some crystals that you can find:
It is a form of quartz that grows on other rocks. They are usually tiny quartz crystals on the surfaces of other stones, and they are often found in glittering clusters that cover considerable areas.
It is frequently discovered in its red state, often in enormous blocks that can be carved, making it a valued commodity since antiquity. The variety of Jasper that forms are determined by the type of mineral impurity contained inside. Hematite causes the crystal to be red, limonite causes the crystal to be brown or yellow, and chlorite causes the crystal to be green.
Missouri has historically been a major producer of Baryte. It is a non-metallic mineral with a high density. It is usually white, grey, or blue-gray in color. It has been used as a paint pigment, a barium source for chemicals, and a filler in rubber, textiles, and plastics in the past. Bladed and opaque barite specimens are the most popular examples for sale.
These are usually spherical stones with a rough exterior surface that reveal crystals inside when shattered or cut open. Finding them, which are usually quartz or members of the quartz family, can be a wonderful treat for a rock hunter.
In Missouri, the glacial and stream gravels in the northern section of the state are the most prolific sources of typical agates. Many exquisite examples of agate, petrified wood, and fossils have been found in a vast gravel pit near LaGrange, in the northeast.
Rockhounding Sites – Where to Go Rockhounding in Missouri
Looking around Branson’s roadcuts is the key to discovering rocks. It is located off of Roark Valley Road, which runs north from Main St. on the Blue Route. You can see the roadcut all the way up the hill if you turn left on the new portion of Falls Creek Rd. Calcite, limonite, and chalcopyrite crystals can be found there. Another option is to check into the Shepherd of the Hills Expressway Roadcut. Quartz crystals, malachite, chalcopyrite, and even hematite have all been discovered.
2. Elephant Rocks State Park
Elephant Rocks gets its name from the massive stones that resemble elephants. Granite from 1.5 billion years ago was used to create these massive rocks. Molten magma cooled slowly over millions of years, eventually forming the pink granite we see today.
However, keep in mind that collecting by yourself is against the law. But there is some good news: there’s an active quarry at the park’s rear. Don’t be afraid to approach the office and request that some scraps be collected from the scrap piles because the granite there is carved for monuments, the scratch has been sawed and looks rather nice.
3. Potosi, Old Mines
This is a less well-known destination. It does, however, include riches that are no less valuable than those found in any of the other locations on this list. To begin your hunt, travel east on HWY 8 from Potosi and turn left onto CR-O. On both sides of the road, there are tailing piles. Keep in mind not to step on any no trespassing signs.
Stockton, Missouri is a very small and quiet city. That isn’t to say it doesn’t have its own treasures. A number of geodes were discovered in ditches and fields along Stockton’s back road. Druzy crystals, pyrite, and even sphalerite are likely to be found.
It is also recommended to search the creeks, deteriorated farm soil, gravel bars, and road ditches in the region for the best results. It could also be beneficial to ask a cattle farmer if you could remove some of the geodes for them, as they can be damaging to cow ankles.
Dedicated rockhounds may already be familiar with the town of Lincoln, Missouri. The area is known for its abundance of mozarkite, which is also the state’s stone.The area is famous for its abundance of mozarkite, which is the state stone. Around Lincoln, mozarkite might be found in streams, ditches, farms, and road cuts. On HWY 65, south of Sedalia, you’ll locate this area. It was also discovered west of Lincoln, at Harry Truman Lake. It is also frequently found on boulders in the Lincoln area.
6. Grindstone Creek
It is a serene and beautiful tributary to Hinkson Creek. You can find an array of calcite crystals that are formed in sedimentary rocks that have been pushed up by previous glaciers or volcanoes.
It is the county seat of Benton County and lies at what some consider to be one of geology’s most prominent locations which offer countless opportunities for exploration. Agate and Mozarkite are both beautiful stones that you can find here.
8. Indian Creek
The Indian Creek area is a geologically unique location where you can find Drusy quartz crystals. These rocks are so rare and beautiful, that they have become an attraction in the community.
Missouri Rockhounding Laws & Regulations
Rockhounds are often unsure where they can collect without breaking the law. The process starts by asking permission from a landowner to search and/or collect on their property. While it is illegal to collect rocks from certain spaces, there are a few exceptions for which individuals may be permitted.
Land ownership and status can and does change on a regular basis, making it hard to document precise information for each place on this page. However, you can check the Missouri Department of Conservation to explore and gain permission for any sites.
Things to Remember When Rockhounding
Rock hunting is an addictive hobby. They can be found in most environments, from the mountains to your local creek bed and all places between. But before you get too far into it there are some things that need to be considered:
Stay Away From Private Property
Doing something as simple as picking up a rock on private property is illegal without explicit permission from the owner. Although it may not be obvious, you need to ask for permission before taking anything that belongs to someone else.
Keep Your Tools on You
If you’re looking for rocks, don’t forget to keep your equipment on hand. Rocks are a pretty common find in most places of the world and can be easily found if you know where to look or have some rockhounding tools handy like gloves, bags, hats, etc. It is always good to be prepared for any situation because anytime can be a successful hunt!
Public Land Resources
When it comes to rock, mineral, and fossil collecting, you must obtain permission from the landowner before taking any samples, no matter how small or insignificant. Unless you have permission, the default assumption should always be that you are not authorized to gather specimens on that land.
There are four primary federal agencies in the United States that administer the government’s approximately 640 million acres:
- Bureau of Land Management (BLM)
- National Park Service (NPS)
- U.S. Forest Service (USFS)
- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS)
There are also 14 million acres of state parks and a variety of smaller parks. They account for more than a quarter of all land in the United States.
In general, recreational rockhounding for personal collections is far more likely to be authorized on BLM and USFS areas than on NPS and USFWS properties. This is due to the fact that the property they oversee is generally meant for public use, whereas National Parks are officially designated as sites that must be safeguarded from damage.
Where Can I Dig for Crystals in Missouri?
Because of Missouri’s unique and complicated geology, crystals can be found in a variety of places around the state. The Lake Superior Agates, which can sometimes be found in glacial deposits left behind from the last ice age, are particularly noteworthy.
What Gems Can Be Found in Missouri?
Missouri is home to one of the world’s most mineral-rich regions. The Ozarks are rich in commercial minerals, as seen by the numerous huge mines and quarries that dot the landscape. Minerals such as agates, chalcedony, jasper, geodes, and petrified wood can be found along the Mississippi River and its tributaries. Mineral specimens such as galena, marcasite, dolomite, calcite, and sphalerite, in addition to quartz family jewels, can be found.
Where Can I Find Geodes in Missouri?
As a rich geological region, the Missouri state is home to many unique and interesting rocks. One of these stones that are abundant in this area are geodes that abound in the Northern section of Missouri’s vast landscape.
Where To Find Quartz in Missouri?
Drusy and banded quartz can be found near the villages of Potosi, Mineral Point, and Old Mines in the mining area of Washington County. Quartz crystals are nearly always found inside geodes located in far Northern Missouri.
Where Can I Dig for Amethyst in Missouri?
Missouri is one of the most popular states for collecting minerals, and quartz is no exception. Amethyst is a purple variant that’s found more often in the Northern part than any other place in Missouri.
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