Believe it or not (especially because the Crater of Diamonds State Park was once featured on Ripley’s Believe it or Not!), there’s a place in the United States where you can mine for your own diamonds. Located in the little town of Murfreesboro, Arkansas, the Crater of Diamonds State Park is home to a unique type of volcanic soil that yields diamond after diamond, in multiple colors and qualities.
In this article, we’ll go over the history, geological features, and reasons why the Crater of Diamonds State Park exists. We’ll discuss the process of hunting for diamonds in one of the only locations worldwide that allow members of the public to hunt for diamonds, right in the dirt that they have always been in. Plus, this particular Arkansas state park lets you keep every single diamond you happen to find! Let’s get started and dig deep into the aptly-named Crater of Diamonds State Park.
Crater Of Diamonds State Park: An Overview
In 1842, Murfreesboro was already a point of geological interest. Multiple geologists noted and investigated a variety of igneous rock formations in and around this humble Arkansas town. Some of these geologists mentioned the potential for these rocks to be diamond-bearing, but the 1800s remained free of any diamond discoveries.
The history of diamond mining in this particular Arkansas state park dates back to the early 1900s. A farmer by the name of John Huddleston once owned some of the acreage of this state park, not knowing the true value of his property until he discovered his very first diamond in 1906. It was too good to be true: Huddleston’s farm and nearly 40 acres of land in Murfreesboro rested atop an ancient volcanic crater, but not just any type of volcano.
This was a type of volcano capable of producing diamonds, quartz, amethysts, jasper, and much more. It certainly didn’t take long for people to take interest in Huddleston’s land, both average prospectors and rich landowners alike. Throughout the 1900s, the town of Murfreesboro was put on the map. Many magnates tried to monopolize and commercialize this field of diamonds, while others tried to establish towns in and around Murfreesboro in order to boost the local economy.
The Crater of Diamonds State Park was founded in 1972, after being purchased by the state. Since then, visitors have been allowed to visit and hunt for whatever gemstones they please, including perfect and sizable diamonds. Ever a tourist destination, the Arkansas State Park Rangers offer visitors plenty of information about both the rich history of the area and can even help with diamond identification!
Hunting For Diamonds At Crater Of Diamonds State Park
Yep, you heard correctly: if you happen to find any gemstones in the minable area of Crater of Diamonds State Park, you get to keep your haul. This process is not as simple as showing up with a shovel and digging in, however. This Arkansas state park requires reservations and charges a minimal ticket fee for both adults and children hoping to strike it rich. Likewise, you can rent equipment through the park for additional fees. All of this seems reasonable if you have the chance of getting a diamond in exchange!
The process of hunting for diamonds is readily explained by state park staff. They can explain helpful diamond-hunting methods as well as what tools are allowed. It’s important to note that motorized vehicles and tools are not permitted within the 37 acres of the crater. However, these acres are overturned and dug through using machines about once a month, helping to refresh the potential of your finds!
How Many Diamonds Have Been Found At Crater Of Diamonds State Park?
As of 2022, over 35,000 diamonds have been found in the volcanic crater of the Crater of Diamonds State Park. The 35,000th was discovered in September of 2022 by an Arkansas resident. But this is only one diamond in a slew of thousands. The most common diamond colors found within this state park are brown, white, and blue. Many other gemstone types are harvested daily.
Currently, there is a state-funded geologic evaluation process happening in this park. Not only are scientists attempting to estimate just how large this volcanic crater is, but they are also trying to determine just how many diamonds there are. Some notable diamonds that have been found in the Crater of Diamonds State Park include:
- A 4.25-carat yellow diamond worn by Hilary Rodham Clinton
- A 3.03-carat white diamond labeled as a perfect specimen
- An 8.52-carat white diamond named Esperanza, discovered after only 30 minutes
- An impressive 16.37-carat diamond named the Amarillo Starlight
- A 3.11-carat white diamond with a silhouette resembling President Dwight D. Eisenhower
- A whopping 15.36-carat white diamond named the Star of Arkansas
- An even larger 40.23-carat pink diamond. It was named the Uncle Sam Diamond, both after the finder as well as the fact that it is the largest diamond found in the United States
Recreation In Crater Of Diamonds State Park
While diamond hunting is obviously the most popular recreational activity found within the Crater of Diamonds State Park, there are a number of other activities to consider. When you’re not getting down in the dirt and getting rich, you can enjoy the following things in this unique Arkansas state park:
- Camping (both simple tent camping and more involved facilities with WiFi)
- Multiple trails and hikes
- Gift shop services
- Picnicking opportunities
- Education and interpretive programs with Park Rangers
- A seasonal waterpark, open from Memorial Day to Labor Day!
Where Is Crater Of Diamonds State Park Located On a Map?
The Crater of Diamonds State Park is found on a map just outside Murfreesboro, Arkansas, near the state’s border with Texas. Prairie Creek, Lake Slough, and Blocker Creek are all adjacent to the park.
The photo featured at the top of this post is © Lloyd Weema/Shutterstock.com
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