Sparkling diamondsMurfreesboro, Arkansas is home to a unique mining experience — the Crater of Diamonds State Park.  The Crater of Diamonds is the only place in the world where the general public is allowed to search for diamonds themselves, as well as keep whatever they find.  Common finds include brown diamonds, yellow diamonds, and white diamonds.  Over 75,000 diamonds have been found in the park, and 30,000 have been found by visitors since 1972.  Jasper, Agate, Garnet, amethyst, quartz and other gems have also been found on site.  Within the park, you can have your finds identified, weighed, and certified for free.  

History of the Park

The Crater of Diamonds State Park covers 37 ½ acres of diamond-bearing soil.  In 1906, a farmer named John Huddleston found a diamond on his property.  For a few years, many different people attempted to turn it into a commercial mining spot unsuccessfully. It was opened as a tourist attraction in 1952.   In 1972, Arkansas State purchased the mine and developed it as a state park.  Periodically, the soil is plowed to bring more diamonds to the top of the field (it happens about once a month, weather permitting).  It costs $8 for a day pass to dig in the park for adults, $5 for children, and anyone under 6 is free.  You can bring your own shovels, buckets, screens, etc. or you can rent them at the center for about $4 each (or $14 for a full kit).  While there are quite a few diamonds found every year, less than 1% of visitors to the park actually find a diamond.

Why Are There Diamonds in Arkansas?

Over three billion years ago, extreme pressure and temperatures 60 to 100 miles below the earth’s surface caused carbon to crystallize, forming diamonds.  Over the past 3 billion years, mountain ranges formed, continents shifted, ground eroded, and volcanic vents formed.  Between 250 and 300 million years ago, South America collided with North America, forming the Ouachita Mountains.  Those mountains slowly eroded and eventually were covered by the seas. About 100 million years ago, instability in the earth’s mantle caused a drastic shift, creating the “Prairie Creek” volcanic vent.  Gas and rock shot to the earth’s crust, bringing rocks and minerals to the surface in an explosion, including diamonds.  While most of the debris fell back into the vent, many stayed on the surface, creating an 83 acre crater that is now the Crater of Diamonds State Park.