One Tank Travels: Crater of Diamonds State Park
If you’ve never been before, you can get a quick introduction via the diamond displays and exhibits that detail the site’s history and geology in the park’s visitor center.
The search area at the park is a 37 1/2 acre plowed field on the eroded surface of the eighth largest diamond-bearing deposit in the world (in surface area). More than 500 diamonds were found at the park last year. There are many ways to search for diamonds at the park. You can walk the grounds looking for diamonds lying on top of the ground–a technique known as surface searching. Following a hard rain this is a popular method since rain washes soil away, leaving rocks and minerals ( and hopefully diamonds!) exposed on the surface. You can dig ( from around 6 inches to a foot) in the soil and screen for diamonds. Or you can dig deep holes, washing the soil in a series of screens and hand sorting the gravels from the screen. Of note, if you want to dig you can bring your own tools from home or you can rent them at the park. Whatever method you choose ( and you can do all three if you want) there is a park interpreter on site that can help you with the specifics.
What sets Crater diamonds apart are color (the vast majority of diamonds found here
are white, brown and yellow), luster (many look like small pieces of metal) and shape (if not broken they are usually very smooth and well rounded). The largest diamond discovered by visitors since the site became an Arkansas state park was the 16.37-carat Amarillo Starlight found in 1975. Another notable diamond found was the 1.09-carat D-flawless Strawn-Wagner Diamond found in 1990 by Shirley Strawn of Murfreesboro. The gem is the most perfect diamond ever certified in the laboratory of the American Gem Society.
The park, which Is located at 209 State Park Road—don’t worry, there are many signs
that point the way, also has a campground, hiking trails, a picnic and play area, a restaurant ( open only in summer), and a seasonal “Diamond Springs” water play area that is also
only open in the summer. So there is plenty to do to fill a day. Also, if a diamond is found you will hear about it as the park does a nice job of keeping track of finds. You can find a list of the latest recorded finds here.
After you’ve got your fill of prospecting, you can head downtown to Murfreesboro’s Courthouse Square to grab a bite to eat or to go antiquing. Here is a link that can help with that.
Boating, fishing and camping are also popular in the area. If you want to make the trip more than one day, you can head to nearby Lake Greeson. The 7,260-acre lake is known forfishing, boating, scuba diving and water sports, so it can be a destination in itself. Recreation areas are located around the lake and there is also an ATV trail. Daisy State Park is located on its north shore. The Little Missouri below the Greeson Dam is also known for its bass and trout fishing. That part of the river is the most accessible from Murfreesboro. Enjoy!