Rock Discoveries

Rockhounding for Mahogany Obsidian: Top US Locations to Collect Volcanic Glass

Collecting Mahogany Obsidian: A Guide to the Best Locations in the US

If you’re a rockhound or just someone who loves to explore the great outdoors, you may be interested in collecting some Mahogany Obsidian. This unique and beautiful variety of obsidian can be found in a few different locations across the United States.

In this article, we’ll explore where to find Mahogany Obsidian and what you need to know before heading out to collect it.

Where to Find Mahogany Obsidian

Location 1: Glass Butte, Oregon

Glass Butte is a mountain located on BLM (Bureau of Land Management) land in Oregon. It is a popular spot for rockhounds and collectors because of its large obsidian deposit.

The Fire Obsidian found here is particularly coveted, with its red patterns that resemble flames. Mahogany Obsidian is also found at Glass Butte, in a range of colors that can include brown, red, and black.

Location 2: Mono County, California

Mono County is home to a lot of great obsidian collecting sites, including the famous Obsidian Dome. However, Mahogany Obsidian can be a little harder to come by here.

You may have better luck searching around creek beds in the area. Keep an eye out for red mottled obsidian, which could be a sign that Mahogany is nearby.

Note that some areas in Mono County may be off-limits to collectors, so be sure to check local regulations before heading out. Location 3: Modoc National Forest, California

Modoc National Forest is home to four primary obsidian mines, and you will need a permit to collect obsidian here.

However, the rainbow obsidian found here is well worth the extra effort. Mahogany Obsidian can also be found in this area, often in the form of jagged needles or clusters.

Keep in mind that collecting obsidian in a national forest comes with additional regulations, so be sure to do your research before setting out. Location 4: Jemez Mountains, New Mexico

The Jemez Mountains in New Mexico are federally protected land, so collecting Mahogany Obsidian here is not permitted.

However, the Cerro del Medio area is known to have granular obsidian and rhyolite outcroppings that can be particularly interesting to observe. Location 5: Obsidian Tank, Arizona

Obsidian Tank is a tuff ring formation in Arizona that also happens to be a great place to find Mahogany Obsidian.

The nearby Government Mountain is rich in feldspar, which can be a helpful indicator for obsidian collectors. Differential cooling during the formation process gives Mahogany Obsidian its unique coloration, and you’ll find plenty of it at Obsidian Tank.

Collecting Obsidian at Glass Butte

If you’re interested in collecting Mahogany Obsidian at Glass Butte, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. First, be aware of the legality of collecting on BLM land.

You are generally allowed to collect small amounts of rock and mineral specimens for personal use, but commercial or large-scale collecting may require a permit. Check with the local BLM office to learn more about the regulations.

Once you’ve confirmed that it’s legal to collect at Glass Butte, you’ll need to do a little preparation before heading out. Make sure you have appropriate tools with you, such as sturdy gloves, a hammer or rock pick, and safety glasses.

You’ll also want to dress appropriately for the environment, as it can be hot and dusty in this area. Bring plenty of water and sunscreen, and be prepared to pack out any trash or debris you create while collecting.

When you arrive at Glass Butte, you’ll want to look for areas where Mahogany Obsidian is likely to be found. This can include places where there are large deposits of obsidian, or areas where the soil and rock are a reddish-brown color.

Look for sharp, angular pieces of obsidian that have a dark brown or black core and a reddish-brown rind. Keep in mind that not all obsidian at Glass Butte will be Mahogany, so it may take some searching to find exactly what you’re looking for.


Mahogany Obsidian is a fascinating and beautiful variety of obsidian that can be found in several locations across the United States. Whether you’re a seasoned rockhound or just someone who loves to explore the outdoors, collecting Mahogany Obsidian is a rewarding and interesting experience.

By following the guidelines and tips outlined in this article, you can have a safe and successful collecting trip to one of these top locations for Mahogany Obsidian. California’s Best Spots for Collecting Obsidian: Mono County and Modoc National Forest

If you’re an avid rock collector or simply enjoy exploring the outdoors, then California should be on your list of must-visit destinations.

This state is home to some of the best obisidian collecting sites in the US, specifically Mono County and Modoc National Forest. In this article, we’ll delve into these two regions and provide guidelines on how to collect obsidian in these areas.

Mono County, California

Mono County is located on the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada mountain range and is known to have various volcanic rocks, including obsidian. Obsidian Dome, in particular, has drawn attention for providing a wide variety of obsidian types.

However, the black stones at Obsidian Dome are weathered, making it difficult to determine what type of obsidian it is. Still, the area is an impressive start for rock hunters looking for a variety of volcanic materials.

The challenge in Mono County lies in its restrictions on collecting obsidian, with some areas being declared off-limits. If you wish to obtain any obsidian in this region, be mindful of the following: ensure you check with federal or local authorities before heading out to any designated spots that allow one to collect rocks there.

Some of these places may have different rules and regulations, depending on the location. Creek beds may offer more opportunities for collecting obsidian, particularly in areas where minerals and rocks have eroded and become exposed.

If you do find a spot where you can collect obsidian, ensure you are mindful of the environment while collecting the rocks. Always leave the area better than you found it! Collect only a few pieces of obsidian and avoid taking every shiny rock you see.

Pristine areas are rare to come by, and any we have preserved are worth protecting for generations to come. Modoc National Forest, California

Modoc National Forest is a place where you can collect different types of obsidian, with rainbow obsidian being one of the rarest obsidian forms in this region.

The kaleidoscope of colors found in this obsidian is a result of mineral inclusions that happen during the formation period. This natural wonder is a sight to behold, and it’s no wonder that the area is now a designated national conservation region, ensuring the environment’s preservation.

There are four significant mines in Modoc National Forest where you can collect obsidian, but do note that you may need to obtain a permit before digging out any obsidian. The permit has limited access, and one can collect only a specific amount of obsidian within a set timeframe.

The authorities ensure obsidian is gathered in harmony with the environment and the area surrounding these mines. Therefore, it would be best to stick to the allotted amounts allowed for collection.

When collecting obsidian here, the different forms the mineral takes is the most exciting part. There is Mahogany Obsidian, typically found in clusters or as jagged needles, along with the rainbow variety.

There’s also Snowflake Obsidian, which forms unique white crystals within the volcanic glass.


Obsidian collecting in California can be a fun and rewarding adventure. Mono County has its fair share of challenges, with stringent collecting regulations in certain parts of the area.

Modoc National Forest offers rare and unique forms of obsidian with interesting colors, but one needs to get a permit to collect any of it. Collectors must always be mindful of their impact on the environment and should ensure they follow the rules and regulations laid out not to damage or interfere with the natural habitat.

Observe the local protocols and collect responsibly to ensure these areas remain intact and worth preserving for future generations. More Great Rock Hunting Locations: Jemez Mountains and Obsidian Tank

If you are a rock collector, you may already be familiar with the Jemez Mountains in New Mexico and the Obsidian Tank in Arizona.

These two locations offer fantastic obsidian collecting opportunities, with unique and varied types of volcanic glass to be found. In this article, we’ll dive into the Jemez Mountains and Obsidian Tank, providing an overview of their obsidian deposits and what to consider when collecting.

Jemez Mountains, New Mexico

The Jemez Mountains in New Mexico may not be as well-known for their obsidian deposits as other locations, but they do offer some unique forms of the volcanic glass. The obsidian in this area is more granular than other types, making it easier to chip and shape into different forms.

Cerro del Medio is one of the main locations for exploring obsidian in the area, but note that the mountain is within a federally protected land area. When it comes to collecting obsidian in the Jemez Mountains, you need to be aware of local laws and regulations.

Obtain approval and permits from the landowners since the region is federally protected. Creeks and river beds are excellent places to find obsidian.

The flowing water often exposes new areas of obsidian where rocks have been abraded and removed. Collectors need to be mindful of the impact of their activities on the environment.

Follow specific rules when it comes to collecting rocks and minerals to prevent any environmental degradation. Remember, always leave the environment better than you found it.

Obsidian Tank, Arizona

The Obsidian Tank is located in a remote corner of Arizona, where the Government Mountain stands prominently. The tank is a tuff ring, created by volcanic eruptions millions of years ago.

The formation includes obsidian, which has exceptional colorations as a result of mineral inclusions. It has breathtaking and unique patterns that are different from any other obsidian found in the US.

The obsidian in this area is a result of differential cooling, which leads to banding and swirling patterns in the rock. These patterns are then enhanced by the inclusion of minerals, making for a truly spectacular sight.

The size and type of obsidian deposits in Obsidian Tank make it an exceptionally sought-after collecting spot. When considering collecting obsidian at the Obsidian Tank, it’s recommended to take extra precaution due to its remote location.

The road and track conditions leading to the site are not well-maintained, so be sure to use a vehicle that’s well-suited for rough terrain. Loose stones litter the surrounding area, so proper footwear and equipment are crucial.

A map or GPS system would also come in handy, as it can be challenging to find if it is a newcomer to the area. Collectors looking to travel to the Obsidian Tank must keep in mind that the area is an important resource for the local community and must be respected with care.

Collect only a few pieces of obsidian, ensuring minimal impact on the environment.


Jemez Mountains and Obsidian Tank are two unique and rewarding obsidian collecting locations that provide an excellent opportunity for rock enthusiasts. These locations offer rare and exceptional forms of obsidian that are fascinating to look at.

As with all rock-hunting activities, be mindful of the environment you’re in and the impact your actions may have. Keep the natural habitats intact and only collect rocks within the legal safety guidelines.

The magnificent landscapes in these two regions are unique and must be preserved for future generations to enjoy. In conclusion, obsidian collecting can be an exciting and rewarding experience for rock enthusiasts.

By following the guidelines listed in this article and being mindful of the environment, you can explore some of the best obsidian collecting spots in the US, including Glass Butte in Oregon, Mono County and Modoc National Forest in California, Jemez Mountains in New Mexico, and Obsidian Tank in Arizona. Remember to always obtain permission before collecting, be respectful of the environment and other collectors, and leave the area better than you found it.


1. Do I need a permit to collect obsidian?

It depends on the location. Some areas, like Modoc National Forest, require a permit, while others may not.

Always check with local authorities to determine if a permit is needed. 2.

Can I collect as much obsidian as I want? No, most collecting spots have limits on the amount and size of obsidian you can take.

3. What equipment do I need for obsidian collecting?

You’ll need gloves, a hammer or rock pick, safety glasses, sturdy footwear, and appropriate clothing for the environment. Always bring plenty of water and sunscreen.

4. Is it legal to collect obsidian in protected areas?

It varies by location. Some areas are off-limits or require permits, so always check with local authorities first.

5. Can I collect obsidian from private land?

You must obtain permission from the landowner before collecting obsidian from private lands. 6.

Is it allowed to sell obsidian I collect? It depends on where you collected the obsidian.

In some areas, selling collected minerals is prohibited.

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