News from Crater of Diamonds State Park

 

I just received some interesting information from the folks at Crater of Diamonds State Park. It involves bats and geology and workshops the park is hosting about these two subjects. Below are the full details. Even if you might not be able to make the workshops, the information they share is quite informative. Have a good Wednesday!

The below information about bats comes from Crater of Diamonds park interpreter Waymon Cox.

Bats are objects of fear and fascination for many. As the only mammal with true flight, 16 bat species call Arkansas home. These furry, winged critters come in all colors, shapes, and sizes. They may have red, brown, yellow, gray, or black fur and range in wingspan from less than ten inches to more than 16! While some species live alone, others roost in groups called colonies, in caves, trees, barns, and other natural or manmade structures.

Bats are also helpful to humans in many ways. Most Arkansas species eat pest insects like mosquitoes, flies, moths, wasps, and beetles. In fact one bat can eat 600 mosquitoes in an hour, while a colony may consume tons of insects in a single night!

It is a misconception that bats are blind. They have good eyesight, but because they are nocturnal, only coming out after dark, they can’t use their eyes to navigate the night sky (just like humans can’t see well at night). Bats use a form of biological sonar called echolocation to navigate and hunt at night. Scientists have studied echolocation for several years and have learned how to implement similar techniques to assist humans with vision impairment.

Though it is illegal to keep bats as pets in Arkansas, we can still benefit from having them nearby. On Saturday, August 25, from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., Crater of Diamonds State Park will host a Bat House Building workshop in the Diamond Discovery classroom for anyone interested in learning more about Arkansas’s bats and how they help us.

During the workshop we’ll dispel bat myths and misconceptions and learn more about various Arkansas species, including unique characteristics, habits, and threats to their survival. Participants will also build their own bat houses to draw these beneficial creatures close to home.

Cost is only $15 per person, payable upon arrival at the visitor center. Space is limited and all ages are welcome, though younger children should bring an adult to help build the bat house (no charge for helpers).

Call Crater of Diamonds State Park at 870-285-3116 by Monday, August 20 for more information, or to sign up for Bat House Building.

 

Park interpreter Margi Jenks sent the below information highlighting the geology of the area and also news about a broadcast set to showcase the park on CNBC ( on Aug. 27).

Have you ever wondered why the rocks in your garden are different from those in your friends across town?  Over my years as a geologist many people have told me that they have thought of similar questions.  So, they also enjoy learning the stories behind the different types of rocks and about geology, the study of the Earth’s history.  The Crater is a unique geologic place—only one other area in the United States has diamonds, the Stateline Province of Wyoming and Colorado.  So, the Crater, because it is in Arkansas, provides the closest opportunity for most people in the Eastern United States to visit a real diamond mine in the crater of a volcano. 

However, the Crater volcano is just a small part of the overall geologic history of this part of southwest Arkansas.  For those of you that would like to learn more about the geologic history of both the diamond mine and the surrounding area, you are invited to attend a workshop at the diamond mine on Sunday, September 16, from 1- 4 PM.

The workshop has two parts.  We are pleased that Doug Hansen, a geologist from the Arkansas Geological Survey and an expert on the geologic history of southwest Arkansas, will take part in the workshop. His presentation will set the stage for the period of southwest Arkansas geologic history that included the eruption of the Crater volcano.  Then, I will zero in with a presentation on history of the particular volcanic eruption that created the Crater.

However, listening to presentations is not as much fun as actually looking at the rocks where they are exposed.  So, Doug and I will lead a field trip to visit some of the more interesting local geologic areas.  First, we will go out on the diamond mine and look at the different types of rocks that resulted from the Crater volcanic eruption.  Then, Doug will lead us to several stops in the Murfreesboro area that show the rocks that were formed before and after the Crater eruption. 

The workshop costs $10.00 per person.  Please wear sturdy shoes or hiking boots, put on sunscreen, and bring a hat and a bottle of water.  The workshop presentations will be held at the Diamond Discovery Center classroom, and the field trip to the Murfreesboro area will be in private cars.  Attendees will pay for the workshop at the front desk of the park’s visitor center.

Another item of interest, this time for your TV viewing calendar, is the upcoming new CNBC special called “The Diamond Rush”.  A segment of the broadcast was filmed at the Crater and features the diamond search area and park staff. Also, long time diamond miner, Glenn Worthington is shown with his largest two diamond finds. The segment airs twice on Monday, August 27th, at 8PM and again at 11PM central time. The following link contains more information about the broadcast: http://www.cnbc.com/id/48443306.

 

Posted in Kids
One comment on “News from Crater of Diamonds State Park
  1. Callie says:

    You need to fix the hand pump down in the pig pen area!!!

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