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Geodes are some of the most amazing gemstones you can find in nature. Once you crack open a geode, you will notice that there aren’t two specimens alike, which adds to their uniqueness. Each geode has various crystals inside, which also dictate their color. You can find geodes worldwide and in almost all U.S. states.
Geodes are mainly found near desert regions or areas with limestone deposits. In the U.S., you can find geodes easily in the western states. Some of the best states to find geodes include Iowa, Oregon, Wyoming, and Nevada. The most common geodes have quartz crystals inside, but their contents can vary.
Depending on the crystals present within these hollow rocks, their value can range significantly. To find geodes easier in nature, you need to understand how they were created. Let’s see precisely how geodes form, where you can find them, and explore some geode areas in some U.S. states!
If you are interested in checking out the best books about rock and minerals identification you can find them by clicking here (Amazon link).
Where to Find Geodes Near Me (Best Environments)
It takes millions of years for geodes to form, and some special conditions. You can’t find them everywhere on earth, but certain environments and tell-tale signs can help you find them more easily.
Geodes form in volcanic rocks or animal burrows, beginning as bubbles, mud balls, or tree roots in sedimentary rocks. The spherical outer shell hardens in time, and water containing silica with various dissolved minerals cools and forms crystals inside. Deserts, volcanic ash beds, or limestone deposits are excellent locations to find geodes.
The silica precipitation inside the hollow cavity of geodes can contain minerals such as quartz, calcite, amethyst, and other specimens.
Several layers of silica form and cool at varying temperatures, influencing the different types of mineral crystals inside. The rarest and most wanted geodes contain either amethyst crystals or black calcite. Let’s analyze a couple of locations where geodes are usually found.
Deserts, Canyons, Quarries, Limestone Deposits
You have a high chance of finding beautiful geodes in areas such as canyons, deserts, quarries, or limestone deposits. Some outcrops may reveal them, but in other cases, due to past geologic activity, you don’t have to dig too deep to find them.
Carbonate deposits, such as those discovered in limestone rocks, are an excellent spot to look for geodes. The voids inside these rocks begin either due to volcanic air pockets, rotted organic material, or the spaces left by tree roots. Due to these consequences, geodes forming in these areas tend to have a similar crystal content.
Canyons, due to their nature, reveal many things hidden beneath the earth. They are also excellent spots to search for geode formations.
Quarries extract many types of rocks from the planet’s surface, and you can also find geodes here. In some situations, you may have to pay a small fee to enter them or near their area and collect.
TIP: Both geodes and thundereggs look like ordinary stones from the outside. At the same time, they hide a magnificent world of minerals of various forms inside. Find out more in the article below:
The 7 Main Differences Between Geode and ThunderEgg
Volcanic Ash Beds
Volcanic geodes are among the most beautiful you can find, and volcanic ash beds often contain them. They result from vast amounts of air pocket voids typically found in volcanic rocks such as basalt.
These volcanic geodes form when the gasses from the lava are trapped in the cooling lava and can’t escape. Some geodes even form in lava tubes. They are voids left behind by liquid lava, leaving an area of partially solidified lava.
In many instances, groundwater makes its way to these voids and leave behind several mineral components necessary for the geode to form.
Many rockhounds seek to find these lava tubes, which are incredibly long and result in many huge geodes forming. Some of these lava tube geodes can grow over one meter in diameter.
Creeks, Draws and Washes, Streams, Rivers, or Gravels
Due to their form, geodes can turn up just about anywhere, including creeks, draws and washes, streams, rivers, or gravels.
You should especially explore the river tributaries around your region in the hopes of finding a geode. You never know where they might have come from, but chances are high that if you study a map and consider how geodes form, you will find them easily.
National state parks are also good locations to find geodes, but more often than not, you are not allowed to take them. What you should be focusing on instead are geode bed formations.
They are usually specialty designated rockhounding spots for enthusiasts to find and crack open their geode specimens.
A good example is the Dugway Geode Beds in Utah. Not all such locations are free to enter, and you may be required to pay a small fee.
TIP: Geodes look like a usual stone from the outside but at the same time hide a real sparkling treasure inside. Check out the most common minerals found in geodes in the article below:
16 Most Common Types of Crystals You Can Find in Geodes
Where to Find Geodes in the U.S.? The Best Locations
Geodes are present throughout the U.S. states, especially in regions where past volcanic activity was present. However, some areas are more abundant in geodes than others, especially the western states, where you can find deserts, volcanic ash beds, or giant limestone deposits.
The best states in the U.S. where you can find geodes include Iowa, Kentucky, Oregon, Tennessee, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, Arizona, Texas, California, New Mexico, and several others. Iowa is generally considered the best state to find geodes due to the many locations rockhounds are permitted to collect them.
The Midwest and Appalachia regions are generally more affluent in geodes, so consider yourself lucky if you live here. Here are some examples of excellent geode rockhounding locations in various states:
|Iowa||Keokuk Geode Beds, Mount Pleasant, Farmington|
|Kentucky||Lincoln County, Green River, Blue Grass Region|
|California||Hauser Geode Beds, Escondido Canyon, North Black Hills Geode Beds|
Let’s take a look at some of the best U.S. states where you can find beautiful geode specimens and analyze some rockhounding spots!
Best Iowa Geode Rockhounding Spots
Iowa is probably the most famous U.S. state when it comes to geodes. This is partly because of the Keokuk Geode Beds, renowned worldwide, and the geode-filled streams and tributaries to the northwest of Keokuk.
In fact, Iowa’s official state rock has been the geode since 1967. Let’s first explore some of the best geode locations in northeastern Iowa! The first location is the Riverview Recreation Area, where you can find geodes in gravel.
In Brandon, the creek gravels are filled with both geodes and various fossil specimens. If you move on to Chapin, you can find geodes in the north towards Sheffield. The area quarries and fields here are abundant in various geode specimens.
The area of stream gravels and quarries around Eldora is also worth exploring, and so is the Steamboat River along the Iowa River. Here you can find quartz-lined geodes. The steam and river gravels around Union are also a hotspot for geodes.
In southeastern Iowa, you can find geodes in Burlington in all the creek gravels. At the Skunk River, geodes are present in the gravels between Rome and Lowell. Going further to Lowell, you can find world-class Keokuk geodes in the Mud Creek stream bed.
The limestone exposures at Mount Pleasant are another excellent place to find quartz-lined geodes in Southeastern Iowa, but you can also explore the area pits and quarries around Donnellson.
Keokuk geodes are also present in the area gravels around Farmington, and you can also find quartz-lined geodes in the area stream beds.
If you go to the Geode State Park, note that collecting is not allowed. If you are lucky and visit Keokuk itself, all the regional gravels and bars of the Des Moines River and its tributaries to the northwest are filled with Keokuk geodes. Keokuk geodes are also present at Bentonsport, to the south near the bridge.
TIP: For a complete rockhounding guide in Iowa, check out this article.
Kentucky Geode Locations
Kentucky is another excellent state to find geodes in the U.S. The central parts of the state are filled with crystal-lined geodes, especially the Blue Grass region. In Western Kentucky, you can find calcite geodes at Kentucky Lake, primarily on the eastern shore.
In Eastern Kentucky, you can find geode specimens at Mont Vernon, especially at the road cuts and stream banks to the north. But let’s focus on central Kentucky, where the real deal is!
Quartz geodes can be found in Adair County, in all the area creek and river banks, or in Scottsville, in all the quarries and stream gravels. Common geodes are present in Glasgow, mainly in the eastern creeks and streams.
Quartz geodes in Elizabethtown are found in all area quarries, but you can also find them in Vine Grove, except here, you also have stream banks and gravels to look into. Lincoln County is probably the best location to find various types of geodes in Kentucky.
Here, calcite, quartz, fluorite, celestite, Goethite, and pyrite geodes can be unearthed in the countywide outcrops and stream gravels.
Berea’s road cuts and stream banks to the south often reveal quartz geodes. You can also find geodes in Tompkinsville in all the regional quarries and outcrops of the Warsaw formation.
TIP: For a complete rockhounding guide in Kentucky, check out this article.
Finding Geodes in Tennessee
Whiskey isn’t the only good thing you will find in Tennessee. Here, there are also various places to find beautiful high-quality geodes. In Western Tennessee, calcite or quartz geodes can be found at Lawrenceburg, in the road cuts, outcrops, creeks, and other areas.
Central Tennessee is where most geode locations are concentrated, with Cannon County holding the no. 1 spot for the best geodes. All the regional gravels, streams, and fields contain geodes here.
At Boatland, you can find geode specimens in the area creeks, or you can head to Carpenter Hollow and Buffalo Cove and explore the area quarries.
In Livingston, you can find geodes at the quarries to the northwest. The western side of Ben Lomond Mountain is also excellent for hiking and finding geode specimens.
In Eastern Tennessee, you can find quartz geodes at Russellville in the area of gravels or road cuts.
TIP: For a complete rockhounding guide in Tennessee, check out this article.
Rockhounding Geodes in Oregon
If you are in Oregon, there are several geode rockhounding spots you can visit and collect your prize. In Northwest Oregon, for example, you can find geodes at the Shores of Calapooia River and Ames Creek. All the area beach gravels near Yachats are also filled with geodes.
In North Central Oregon, you can find geodes in the general area around Ashwood, Willowdale, or Antelope. The southern hills of Mutton Mts. are where you can find both common geodes and the rare and coveted black agate geodes.
If you head to South Central Oregon, you can find geodes at Lakeview, the surrounding desert area, or you can go to Hart Mt. at Warner Peak.
TIP: For a complete rockhounding guide in Oregon, check out this article.
Nevada Geode Locations
Nevada is a beautiful state with gorgeous geode specimens. If you are visiting, make sure to go to the Black Rock Desert. You can find geode just about anywhere here, apart from many other exciting rocks, minerals, and gemstones.
The Star Peak, mainly in the eastern area, is where explorers and enthusiasts almost always unearth geodes. If you feel adventurous, you can also go to the South Black Rock Range to find various types of geodes.
TIP: For a complete rockhounding guide in Nevada, check out this article.
TIP: If you have ever come across a mesmerizing geode with splendid color in a crystal shop, you may have wondered if that piece is dyed or natural. Find out more in the article below:
How to Tell if a Geode is Dyed: All You Need to Know
FAQ About Finding Geodes
Still did not find the answer to your questions about finding geodes? Find frequently asked questions in the section below:
Can You Find Geodes in Creeks?
Generally, you might not be able to discern geodes from other rocks at first glance. Creeks and streams are some of the best areas to find geodes. However, their crystal contents will leave you speechless once you crack them open.
Can I find Geodes in My Backyard?
You may be able to find geodes in your backyard, depending on where you are situated. For example, the state of Iowa is filled with many locations where geodes were unearthed. If you are near Keokuk, rivers, or tributaries, you may be able to find some.
Can Geodes be Found Anywhere?
Geodes aren’t found everywhere on the earth. Some special conditions must be met in order for them to form. The process also takes millions of years to complete. Although they are mostly found in desert areas, geodes are quite common in many places around the world.
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)
Nothing is more beautiful for a rockhounding than finding a geode to crack it open and reveal its contents. If you are in the U.S. and want to find geodes, there are so many places to choose from.
If you want your children to enjoy this unique experience but can’t find geodes in the wild, there are many areas where you can take your children to crack open geodes without the hassle of finding them.
But it isn’t as fun and as enjoyable as finding the geodes yourself. Check out the geode locations mentioned above and try your luck out! Happy hunting!
TIP: The value of a geode mostly depends on the worth of what is inside of it. Find out more on how to determine the value of geodes in the article below:
The Value of Geodes: Are They Worth Anything?