Shiny Rocks - Crater of Diamonds
Size:  (not chosen)
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Crater of Diamonds State Park is 40 miles north of Hope, AR. The mining area is a simple plowed field, so the terrain is based on that...however, it can be extremely muddy at times. Watch your step!
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. To log this cache, enter the park to search for diamonds (adult fee - $6). Two things must happen to get credit. Take a pic of you or one of your party searching the field for diamonds or using the field pavilions to sift and sluice for precious gems. Your GPS should be pictured somehow. Next, email me with this information: In the display area near the tool rental building, they show a diamond-tipped saw that is ripping through something. It has a crank handle you can turn to see it work. What is being sawed through? (Please don't post a pic of this in your log. An email will be sufficient. Logs without the proper picture of the hunt with GPS and emailed answer will be promptly deleted.) The story of the Crater of Diamonds begins over 3 billion years ago. Then, the earth was not as we know it now. Instead of there being seven continents spread over the globe, there was one huge landmass that we refer to as Pangaea (a name that means "all lands"). The outer surface, or crust, of the earth is divided into great segments called plates. Since the layer below the plates is made of hot, easily flowing material, the plates move about on this surface. Imagine a big jelly sandwich, where the top slice of bread moves around because the jelly is so gooey; that's basically how the plates move. Basic Geology of the Crater of Diamonds. The process of the continents moving on their plates away from each other is called continental drift. This process is still going on, though gradually, but sometimes shockingly (for example, earthquakes). As the plates move, they collide with one another. The stress of two plates pushing one another often causes mountains to be created. Picture a tablecloth on a table. When you push the tablecloth together, it bunches up in folds much the way mountains will do on a continent. Another change that happens when two plates push together is that through the stress, one plate must go below the other. The lower plate continues its journey down deep into the earth, where it becomes hotter and hotter, until the rock that makes up the plate becomes liquid, or molten, like lava. This process is what happened in Arkansas. Plates pushed together to make the Ouachita Mountains, and one plate slipped below the other. Believe it or not, 300 million years ago, most of Arkansas was under water except for the Ouachitas. In fact, 135 million years ago in the Ouachitas, flowering plants and trees began to appear that were important for the emerging animal life: mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and insects. Dinosaurs roamed there until about 70 million years ago. About 100 million years ago, the continents finished the majority of their movement. But those last movements formed cracks in the earth's crust, allowing some of the hot magma from deep in the earth to escape. This is what happened here at the Crater of Diamonds. The volcanic event that occurred here pushed diamonds up with it. These diamonds had already formed, perhaps several billion years ago, at mantle depths within the earth, where tremendous heat and pressure had allowed carbon atoms to bond tightly.
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