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Finding gold in Arkansas

Finding gold in Arkansas was originally by the Spaniards who mined gold in the Ouachita Mountains. Today gold is mined in Arkansas by mainly recreational miners searching for placer gold.

Arkansas is the only state in the Union that has a state park that has a diamond mine. This is the Crater of Diamonds state park that is open to the public where they can keep any diamonds they find. Every month park visitors walk away with the diamonds they have found. This park is located just south of Murfreesboro, and is well worth a visit.

In an area that runs from thirty to forty miles wide and about one hundred seventy mile long going from northeast southwest through the heart of the Ouachita mountains there are plenty of chances to collect quartz crystals. The gold found in Arkansas is found in roughly the same area as the quartz crystals. You can pan for the gold along the many rivers and creeks that drain out of the central Ouachitas. Most of the gold found will be as fine flakes or grains.

Gold has been known in Arkansas since the days of the Spanish in the 1500s, and there has been more then more then one gold rush centered on the Ouachita Mountains since. The Spanish reportedly even mined gold in Arkansas in their time. The other period of gold mining occurred during the period from 1800 to 1830. It was reported at the time they didn't find much gold.

What hard rock gold mining there is has been found in quartz veins that are heavily stained black with manganese stains. According to geologists that have examined the Ouachitas there is little hard rock gold available for mining. The prospects for mining placer gold may be a little better because as the gold is weathered from the rocks by the process of erosion it tends to concentrate in streambeds as placer gold. This was the situation that occurred in the Klondike Gold Rush in the late 1890s. The gold was apparently encased in a schist that are wrote away and deposited the gold it had contained in new placer deposits that were found in the streambeds.

Even while gold is scarce there are plenty of other things that you can find prospecting in Arkansas. One of the more interesting minerals is cadmium sulfide found with the lead and zinc ores. It wasn't too many years ago that Arkansas was the largest producer of Cadmium in the United States.

In order to make any prospecting venture worthwhile is a real good idea to read everything that you can find about the area where you are going. Among the prospectors in Canada there is a saying that more valuable mines are found in the shadow of a preceding mines headframe.

There are even small deposits of turquoise that are associated with copper in the Ouachita Mountains. This is then worked sporadically for its value as a gemstone for making jewelry.

For more information about gold mining go here!

References:

Crater of Diamonds State Park, http://www.craterofdiamondsstatepark.com/

Quartz Crystals, Rockhounding in Arkansas, http://www.rockhoundingar.com/quartz.html

Minerals on the Ouchita National Forest, http://www.fs.fed.us/r8/ouachita/natural-resources/minerals/otherminerals.shtml

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