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Mississippi isn’t among the top locations in the U.S. for rockhounding enthusiasts due to its lack of rock and mineral diversity and few rockhounding locations. However, those passionate and determined will find in Mississippi a couple of exciting rockhounding sites to explore.
In Mississippi, you can find fossils, petrified wood, agates, amber, ocher, petrified palm wood, geodes, fulgurites, gold, opal, and more. Some of the best rockhounding sites are the Mississippi River, its tributaries, the Homochitto River, and the northern parts of the state.
Mississippi offers some interesting specimens to collect, including artifacts and some rare fossils, but let’s see exactly where you can find them!
If you are interested in checking out the best rockhounding book about rockhounding in Mississippi you can find it by clicking here (Amazon link).
Best Rockhounding Sites in Mississippi
Some of the best rockhounding sites in Mississippi, apart from the Mississippi River, are Ball Creek, Tombigbee River, Tuscaloosa Formation, Waynesboro, Adams County, Holly Springs National Forest, and Union County, among others. The northern parts of the state are generally the most abundant.
Let’s take a look at some of these sites and see what you can find!
The town of Wesson is situated in Copiah and Lincoln counties. The eastern areas of this town contain some of the best-banded agates specimens you can find in Mississippi.
In Wesson, you can also find chalcedony, and petrified wood, among other things.
The Tombigbee River is a tributary of the Mobile River that runs through both Mississippi and Alabama.
Though there are various things that you can find along it, some of the most noteworthy items are the fossils, especially shark fossils. It’s possible that some megalodon teeth can be found here
The city of Waynesboro in Wayne County is another excellent location for rockhounding enthusiasts in Mississippi. Here, in gravels and banks, you can find various fossils from different eras and petrified palm wood.
BTW: Do you want to know more about rock and mineral identification? The books listed below are the best ones you can find on the internet (Amazon links):
- Smithsonian Handbooks: Rocks & Minerals
- Gemstone & Crystal Properties (Quick Study Home)
- Ultimate Explorer Field Guide: Rocks and Minerals (National Geographic Kids)
Mississippi River Rockhounding
The Mississippi River is, without question, the best rockhounding site in the state. At the mouth of the river, you can find relics, artifacts, and gold. Along the river, in the sands and gravels, you can find agates and fossils. The river’s tributaries are also rich.
For example, in the Homochitto River Basin, plenty of agates can be found. The gravel pits and dredge tailings close to the river have revealed many times even geode specimens.
TIP: Do you know what the most common river rocks are? You can find these rocks in rivers most often. Check them out in the article below:
Ten Most Common Type of Rocks You Can Find In Rivers
What Kind of Rocks Are Found in the Mississippi River?
Though Mississippi isn’t as rich in its rock variety as its neighbors, you can still find some interesting specimens in the state. Some of the best rocks you can find in Mississippi include geodes, agates, chert, flint, sandstone, limestone, and others.
|Agate||Adams County, Bell Creek, Mississippi River|
|Geodes||The Mississippi River|
|Flint||Yazoo County, Flint Creek|
|Chert||Tishomingo County, Tuscumbia & Ft. Payne Formations|
In Mississippi, you can find both regular and banded agates. Banded agates are usually found in Wesson, in the gravels and pits east of the town, or in the gravels and pits in Adams County.
Regular agates are located along the Mississippi River, especially its tributaries, such as the Homochitto River. You can also find them in Bell Creek, in the gravel northwest of Gulfport.
When it comes to finding geodes in Mississippi, things get tricky, as they are rare. You can find geodes in the gravel pits and dredge tailings close to the Mississippi River.
They are transported downriver from the Keokuk geode beds of southeastern Iowa and don’t occur naturally in the state.
Flint is also relatively rare in Mississippi. You can find it at Flint Creek Water Park, in Wiggins City, or you can go to Yazoo County, at the Hammett Gravel Company Zieglerville pit.
Chert is only found in Tishomingo County in Mississippi, in the limestones of the Ft. Payne and Tuscumbia Formations. Up until now, no other locations in Mississippi have reported chert findings.
Recommendation box: All tools and equipment you need for rockhounding and rock identification* (Amazon links):
1. Estwing Rock Hammer – Light, comfortable, and extremely durable hammer.
2. Estwing Geologist Pick – Classic and the most trusted paleo pick in the world.
3. Finder 12-Inch Chisels – Heavy-duty chisels set with hand protection.
4. Mini Handle Shovel – Great tool for digging deep in the dirt.
5 Ironclad Utility Work Gloves – Breathable but they also protect the areas requiring them most.
6. 3M Safety Glasses – Comfortable and efficient goggles for rockhounding.
7. Convoy 8+ UV Light – 365nm UV LED flashlight with a patented glass filter.
8. Wesley’s Jewelers Loupe – High magnification options (30X and 60X) with carrying case.
9. Mohs Hardness Kit – A specially designed kit for rockhounds
*All recommended products are personally tested and regularly used by experts from this website.
What Gemstones Are Found in Mississippi?
Mississippi is a poor state when it comes to gemstones. However, there are some specimens that you can find. Some of the most interesting gemstones you can find in Mississippi include jasper, carnelian, quartz, and opals. You can also find petrified palm wood, fulgurites, or petrified wood.
Though fulgurites aren’t gemstones, they are used in jewelry.
Finding opal in Mississippi is extremely rare. In fact, opals were discovered in just one instance in this state. Members of the Mississippi Office of Geology discovered a couple of opal specimens in Claiborne County, similar to the ones in Vernon Parish L.A.
If you want to find jasper in Mississippi, then your best bet is the Mississippi River. Search along the river for jaspers. Even if you find them or not, you will surely walk home with some beautiful fossils, agates, gold, or even artifacts.
TIP: Have you ever heard about organic gemstones? Yes, they exist and they might suprise you. Check them out in the article below:
What Are Organic Gemstones? Complete List With Explanation
What Minerals Are Found in Mississippi?
Mississippi’s mineral diversity is also poor in comparison to other states. Some of the minerals that you can find in Mississippi include chalcedony, quartz, bauxite, gypsum, anhydrite, bentonite, gold, and others. Most of these minerals are located on private lands.
|Gold||Beaches near the Gulf of Mexico, Mississippi River|
Finding gold in Mississippi is not so hard, but there are only specific regions where you can find it. For example, the beaches along the Gulf of Mexico contain gold.
Some of it was in the form of coins or other treasures from pirates that met their demise. Another significant region to find gold in Mississippi is near the mouth of the Mississippi River.
When it comes to chalcedony, head towards Wesson, and search for it in the gravels and pits east of the city. You may also find petrified wood and other interesting specimens there.
Finding quartz in Mississippi is also a hassle, as there are very few places where it was discovered. The Catahoula Formation, for example, is where some beautiful quartz specimens were unearthed.
Can You Find Crystals in Mississippi?
Unfortunately, little to no significant crystals have been found in the state of Mississippi. You may encounter quartz crystals in this state, though.
However, these specimens are generally found in national parks where rockhounding is almost always off-limits.
TIP: Raw crystals are beautiful and I personally like them the most. But a lot of people prefer polished crystals. Dremel drills are great tools for polishing rocks and crystals so check out the best Dremel drills in the article below:
3 Best Dremels for Polishing Rocks & Crystals + Accessories
Where to Dig For Fossils in Mississippi?
Mississippi is rich in fossils, dating back to the Pleistocene, Cretaceous, Eocene, Tertiary, Oligocene, Mississippian, Devonian, Paleocene, and Pliocene eras.
The best places to dig fossils in Mississippi are Alcorn, Chickasaw, Clarke, Clay, Hinds, Itawamba, Kemper, Lauderdale, Lee, Lowndes, Marshall, Monroe, Noxubee, Newton, Pontotoc, Oktibbeha, Prentiss, Rankin, Smith, Tippah, Tishomingo, Union, Warren, Yazoo, and Wayne counties.
Let’s take a look at some of these popular fossil hunting places in Mississippi and see what you can find!
In Lee County, you can find fossils dating back to the Upper Cretaceous and Cretaceous periods. In the Bethany, Saltillo, Shannon, Tupelo, and Waverly regions, you can find the Selma and Eutaw formations.
Here you can find fossils such as exogyra, Hadrosaurs, ammonites, crabs, fish, mollusks, echinoids, and other dinosaur fossils.
Warren County is where Eocene-Oligocene and Pliocene fossils can be found, near the town of Vicksburg. Here you can find various marine fossils, pteropods, vertebrate fossils, and even mastodon fossils.
The Columbus town in Lowndes County contains fossils dating back to the Cretaceous period. Here, you can find various vertebrates, invertebrates, and plant fossils.
Pontotoc County is another excellent place in Mississippi to find various fossils.
The fossils in this county date back to the Upper Cretaceous and Cretaceous epochs. The Ripley, Prairie Bluff Chalk, Selma, and Eutaw formations in this region are the best places to find fossils.
Here you can find shark teeth, Exogyra, Gryphaea, Micrabacia, Ostrea, gastropods, Pecten, Hardouinia, and various other fossils.
TIP: Amber is unique gemstone formed from the resin of coniferous trees. Do you know that you can find a lot of fake amber gemstones for sell on the internet? Check out the differences between real and fake amber in the article below:
Real vs. Fake Amber: 9 Key Differences & UV Light Testing
Can You Find Gold in the Mississippi River?
You can find gold near the mouth of the Mississippi River. Various beaches near the Gulf of Mexico contain gold in the form of coins or pirate treasures. Numerous explorers discovered such treasures and impressive amounts of gold coins in these areas.
FAQ About Rockhounding in Mississippi
Sill did not find the answer to your answers about rockhounding in Mississippi? Find frequently asked questions in the section below:
What is the State Rock of Mississippi?
The official state rock of Mississippi has been petrified wood since 1976. The petrified wood found in this state comes from the Oligocene Epoch, about 30 million years ago. The petrified wood is predominantly in the northern parts. Near Flora, you can find the famous Petrified Wood Forest of Mississippi.
What is the State Fossil of Mississippi?
Mississippi’s official state fossil is the Prehistoric Whale, since 1981. The two specimens, Basilosaurus and Zygorhiza, lived during the Eocene Epoch, between 50 to 40 million years ago. They had small heads and narrow bodies that were around 50 to 80 feet long.
Though Mississippi is a poor state in rockhounding sites and has a lack of diversity in its minerals, rocks, gemstone, and crystal specimens, it shines when it comes to fossils.
Various fossils can be found throughout the state. Even dinosaur fossils are present here, and various other plant, vertebrates, and invertebrate fossils.
TIP: Petrified wood is the official state rock of Mississippi. Do you know how valuable petrified wood can be? Check the real value of petrified wood in the article below:
Crucial Factors of Petrified Wood Value: What’s the Worth?