Rock Discoveries

Uncovering Missouri’s Hidden Gems: A Rockhound’s Guide

Best Rockhounding Sites in Missouri

Missouri might not be the first state that comes to mind when you think of rockhounding, but it has plenty of excellent sites for collecting unique minerals, gemstones, and fossils. In this article, we will explore some of the best rockhounding sites in Missouri, the types of rocks you can find, and the local rockhounding clubs to join for enthusiasts.

Indian Creek

Indian Creek, located near Kahoka, is one of the top rockhounding sites in Missouri.

Mozarkite, a banded chert, is the most common rock found here, but there are also many agates and geodes to discover.

The creek runs through private property, so permission is required before collecting.

Old Mines

Old Mines is a historic mining district located in Southeast Missouri, known for producing an array of minerals such as barite, goethite, and malachite. The area also boasts drusy quartz consisting of small, glittering crystals with a sparkling appearance.

The abandoned mine sites are now located on private land, so permission must be obtained before entering.

Bee Bluff

Bee Bluff is a beautiful area that offers two types of rockhounding opportunities. Along the Missouri River, you’ll find a range of minerals and gemstones, including quartz, pyrite, and jasper.

The nearby wooded area is ideal for finding geodes and agates. The site is home to many private properties, so be sure to get permission before collecting.

Grand River


Grand River in northern Missouri is another excellent rockhounding location, where you can find a wide variety of rocks, minerals, and fossils. Grindstone Creek and Chariton River are also great places to collect minerals, including sphalerite, chalcedony, and smithsonite.


Warsaw, located in the west-central part of the state, is known for its unique deposits of calcite crystals. The area also offers opportunities to find dolomite, chalcopyrite, and galena.

Decaturville Crater


Decaturville Crater is a fascinating geological feature, located about 125 miles south of St. Louis. It is a basin-shaped depression in the earth, approximately 3.5 miles in diameter.

The site offers unique minerals, including marcasite, sphalerite, and albite. Eldon & Etterville

Eldon and Etterville are two small towns located in the central part of Missouri.

Here, you can find minerals such as malachite, pyrite, and sphalerite, as well as galena, chalcopyrite, and dolomite. The area is home to many abandoned mines, making it an ideal destination for history buffs as well.


Joplin has a rich mining history, and abundant minerals, crystals, and gemstones can still be found here. Some of the most popular rocks to collect include azurite, barite, chrysocolla, and garnet.


Steelville is known for its abundant deposits of mozarkite, a colorful variety of chert with fascinating patterns and a unique texture. There are also opportunities to find geodes and jasper in the area.

Ruepple Iron Mine

Located in eastern Missouri, the

Ruepple Iron Mine has produced a range of minerals, including aragonite, calcite, and sphalerite. Although the mine is now closed, it remains a popular spot for rockhounding enthusiasts.


Fredericktown offers a unique and diverse array of minerals, crystals, and gemstones. Some of the most common rocks found here include aragonite, sphalerite, pyrite, and galena.

The area also boasts rare minerals, such as chalcocite and cerussite.

Types of Rocks Found

Missouri is an excellent place for rockhounding because of the variety of rocks and minerals found here. Some of the most popular types of rocks include:

Mozarkite – a colorful variety of chert found primarily in the northeastern part of the state, including

Indian Creek and


Agates – rounded, banded rocks with a wide range of colors and patterns.

Geodes – spherical rocks that contain a cavity lined with crystals. Quartz – a mineral that comes in many colors and varieties, including smoky quartz and amethyst.

Pyrite – a golden metallic mineral.

Chert – a hard, dense rock made of microcrystalline quartz. Jasper – a form of chert with red, brown, or yellow tones.

Opal – a mineraloid with a unique play of color, from blue to green to pink. Chalcedony – a type of quartz with a waxy appearance and a range of colors, from white to blue to red.

Smithsonite – a mineral that comes in many colors. Sphalerite – a mineral that often forms alongside other minerals, including zinc and lead sulfides.

Minerals and

Gemstones – Missouri is home to a wide variety of minerals and gemstones, including calcite, malachite, azurite, and garnet.

Rockhounding Clubs

Rockhounding can be a solitary activity, but it can also be an opportunity to connect with other enthusiasts. Missouri has several rockhounding clubs, including:

Central Missouri Rock & Lapidary Club

Independence Gem & Mineral Society

Mineral Area Gem & Mineral Society

Mozarkite Society of Lincoln

Osage Rock & Mineral Club

Ozark Mountain Gem & Mineral Club

Rockwood Gem & Mineral Society

Show Me Gems & Mineral Group

Show Me Gold Prospectors

Show Me Rockhounds

Sterling Guild of Greater Kansas City

Tri-State Gem & Mineral Society

Joining a club is a great way to learn more about rockhounding, connect with local enthusiasts, and gain access to exclusive sites.


If you’re an experienced rockhound or just starting, Missouri has much to offer.

The state has an abundance of unique minerals, crystals, and gemstones that are waiting to be discovered. Whether you choose to explore

Indian Creek or

Old Mines,

Fredericktown or

Decaturville Crater, you’re sure to find something fascinating.

Make sure to get permission before collecting on private land, and consider joining a rockhounding club to get the most out of your outdoor adventures.

Types of Rocks Found in Missouri

Missouri is a geologically rich state with unique rock formations, minerals, and crystals. It’s no wonder that rockhounding enthusiasts are drawn to the state in search of agates, obsidian, geodes, flint, chert, mozarkite, and gemstones like amethyst.

In this article, we will explore each rock type in detail and where they can be found in Missouri.


Agates are a form of chalcedony, a mineral in the quartz family, with banding or swirls. Missouri is home to various agate finds, including Gentry County, La Grange, and Dexter.

The agates found in Dexter are known for their deep blue and white-grey hues. They are small, pebble-like rocks found within the gravel long the St. Francis and Mississippi River.

The agates in Gentry County and La Grange are known for their bright and colorful bands.


Missouri is home to significant obsidian deposits, commonly called volcanic glass or “Apache Tear.” It is typically dark in color and occurs when lava cools quickly, forming a glossy surface with smooth edges. The obsidian in Missouri is found in the Mississippi River and Mississippi Valley areas.


Geodes, rounded rocks that contain hollow interiors lined with crystals, are abundant in some parts of Missouri. St. Francisville is a leading source of geodes, and they can also be found in Fox City, the Weber Quarry, and Arnold.

Geodes can be found in a range of sizes and colors. Breaking them open to reveal their sparkling crystal interiors is often a highlight for rockhounding enthusiasts.


Flint is a hard and durable rock that has been used to shape tools for thousands of years. The variety of flint found in Missouri is commonly referred to as Doniphan chert and is found in the Ozarks region.

It is a grey to black rock that occurs in nodules, like geodes but solid throughout.


Chert is a common rock that is typically light-colored or grey in appearance and composed mainly of tiny, microcrystalline quartz particles. Missouri is home to many chert finds, including Current River, Dexter, Timber Knob, and Elk River.

Chert can also form in nodules, like geodes, and also be in layers or layers with flint-like crypto-crystalline quartz.

Chert is used for tools and can be found in bedrock and quarries.


Mozarkite is a unique rock formation found primarily in Missouri and is also the state’s official rock. It is a colorful form of chert with hues of brown, yellow, and blue that come about from varying amounts of iron oxide mixed in.

Mozarkite is primarily found in

Warsaw and Lincoln, Missouri. It is a popular material used for lapidary work due to its wide range of colors and patterns


While Missouri is not typically associated with gemstones, it is possible to find some rare and beautiful examples. One of the most well-known gemstones found in Missouri is amethyst, a type of quartz prized for its violet color.

Amethyst has been found in various areas of Southeast Missouri, including in geodes. However, the quality of much of the Missouri amethyst is poor compared to the higher quality found in South America and other locations.

In conclusion, Missouri offers a rich variety of rocks, minerals, and gemstones for rockhounding enthusiasts. From agates and obsidian to geodes and chert, there is no shortage of fascinating rock formations to discover.

Plus, the unique beauty of mozarkite and rare gemstones like amethyst makes Missouri an exciting destination for rockhounding enthusiasts. Whether you’re a seasoned collector or just starting, Missouri has something for everyone who loves exploring and discovering unusual rocks.

In conclusion, Missouri is a geologically diverse state with a wide variety of rock formations, minerals, and gemstones. From agates and obsidian to geodes and chert, each rock type has its unique characteristics and can be found in specific locations across the state.

By exploring these sites and joining local rockhounding clubs, enthusiasts can learn more about rocks, enjoy the natural beauty of Missouri, and even discover rare and valuable specimens. If you’re new to rockhounding, check out these FAQs on common topics.


Q: Can I collect rocks anywhere in Missouri? A: No, many collecting sites are on private land, so it’s essential to get permission before collecting rocks.

Q: Are there any specific laws or regulations regarding rock collecting in Missouri? A: Rock collecting is generally allowed on state and federal lands, but there are specific rules and regulations regarding removal and transportation of fossils, rocks, and minerals.

It is best to research these rules before rockhounding. Q: Are there any safety concerns when rockhounding in Missouri?

A: Yes, always be aware of your surroundings and potential hazards, such as unstable rock formations, cliffs, and loose rocks. Wear appropriate safety gear, such as a hard hat and sturdy shoes, and do not go rockhounding alone.

Q: What should I bring with me when rockhounding in Missouri? A: It’s recommended to bring a rock hammer, sturdy bags or containers to collect specimens, hand lenses, and a field guide to identify rocks and minerals.

Q: Can I sell the rocks I collect in Missouri? A: Yes, with some exceptions.

Rocks and minerals collected from private land may require written permission from the landowner, and some specimens, such as heritage and threatened and endangered species, are illegal to collect and sell in Missouri. Q: Are there any specific areas I should avoid or be careful when rockhounding in Missouri?

A: Yes, some areas may have environmental, safety, or legal concerns surrounding rock collecting. It is essential to research any specific areas before visiting and follow any regulations or restrictions.

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