Saturday, January 06, 2007

Crater of Diamonds State Park

This sounds like such a cool place! Or maybe it's just muddy...we'll check it out, and let you know.

Arkansas, The Natural State, is blessed with an abundance of geological wonders. The Crater of Diamonds State Park, the only diamond-producing site in the world open to the public, stands out as a unique geological "gem" for you to explore and enjoy.

Here, you are invited to prospect in the park's diamond search area, a 37-acre plowed field that is the eroded surface of an ancient volcanic pipe that 95 million years ago, brought to the surface the diamonds and some of the semi-precious stones lucky visitors find here today.

Diamonds of all colors of the rainbow can be found here at Crater of Diamonds, but the three most common colors unearthed by park visitors are white, brown and yellow. This Arkansas Diamond Mine is a rockhound's delight since, along with diamonds, over 40 types of rocks and minerals can found here, too. These rocks and minerals include lamproite, amethyst, banded agate, jasper, peridot, garnet, quartz, calcite, barite and hematite.

In 1906, John Huddleston, the local farmer who owned this property then, found the first diamonds here in Murfreesboro, Arkansas, and started the diamond mining rush. According to the history of the Crater of Diamonds State Park, after a series of ill-fated mining ventures followed by tourist attractions, the site became an Arkansas state park in 1972.

Within the park boundary many remnants of old mining ventures remain including the Mine Shaft Building, the Guard House, mining plant foundations, old mining equipment and smaller artifacts. Nowhere else is North American diamond mining history as evident or as well preserved as here.

Along with the diamond search area, the park has hundreds of acres of natural forest featuring a diversity of flora and fauna and offering visitors interesting things to do in the area. Arkansas' natural and cultural diversity -- the geology, the site's history, the plants and animals -- makes the Crater of Diamonds State Park a unique Arkansas attraction unlike any other in the world. You are invited to visit this one-of-a-kind attraction and experience the thrill of searching for real diamonds in the rough. Our park staff will identify your finds for you. And, the policy here is "finders keepers." Any diamonds, semi-precious stones, rocks or minerals you unearth are yours to keep, regardless of their value.

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