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Where to Find Magnetite: Best Environments & Locations (USA)

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One of the fascinating minerals is magnetite, both due to its look and magnetic properties. Ancient people observed how lodestone, a magnetized piece of magnetite, attracted iron fragments, leading to the discovery of magnetism.

In nature, you can find magnetite in its black, gray, and brown forms. There are various places in the U.S. where you can find magnetite, including Utah, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Alaska. Magnetite is commonly found in igneous, metamorphic,  and sedimentary rocks and forms in various ways. 

To find magnetite in nature, you must first understand how this mineral forms and the most common environments to find it. Let’s find these things out, along with the best states in the U.S. to find it and specific locations! 

Where to Find Magnetite Near Me
Where to Find Magnetite Near Me

If you want to check out the best rock and mineral identification books, you can find them here (Amazon link).

Where to Find Magnetite Near Me (Most Common Environments)

Magnetite can form in banded iron formations, igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary rocks, as well as in lakes or marine sediments. Some bacteria can produce magnetite, which can be preserved in sediments as magneto fossils after their death.

When igneous rocks crystalize, magnetite forms around the melt, and it orients itself with our planet’s magnetic field polarity and direction.

It can occur as a primary or secondary mineral in sedimentary, metamorphic, and igneous rocks. You can easily find it in mines, mine dumps, outcrops, rivers, boulders, quarries, and other environments.

Let’s explore some of them and see why you can find magnetite!

Mines, Quarries, and Mine Dumps

Mines, quarries, pits, and mine dumps are among the best environments to find magnetite specimens since they are usually found at small depths compared to other minerals, starting at only 39 feet / 12 meters.

Magnetite forms in high temperatures underground, and if you can explore a mine, don’t hesitate! You will easily find it.

Lakes, Rivers, Creeks, and Mountainous Regions

Lakes, creeks, and rivers are the second-best places to find natural magnetite. This is because certain types of bacteria also form magnetite.

When the bacteria die, the magnetite ends up in sediments. Mountainous regions are also great for finding magnetite since they often unearth minerals. 

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):

Outcrops, Exposures, Placer Deposits

Outcrops, exposures, placer deposits, and perhaps even road cuts can also reveal magnetite specimens. You never know what the earth will reveal in these places, so don’t hesitate to look for magnetite! Usually, if hematite is present, you will also find magnetite.

TIP: Earthquake zones are suitable for various, often rare, rocks and minerals. Check out these rocks and minerals in the article below:
Eight Most Common Rocks You Can Find In Earthquake Zones

Where Can I Find Magnetite in the USA? The Best Locations

Where to Find Magnetite in the USA
Where to Find Magnetite in the USA

Magnetite can be found worldwide, but some areas are more abundant. Regarding the U.S., there are various states where you can search for magnetite, and some are richer than others.

The best states in the U.S. to find magnetite specimens include Utah, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Missouri, Massachusets, New Jersey, Minnesota, New York, Wisconsin, Colorado, Alabama, Arkansas, Alaska, Maine, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Montana, South Carolina, Idaho, or Oklahoma.

UtahColorado River, Rocky Range, Fish Springs
North CarolinaGold Hill, Winston-Salem, Clubb Mountain
PennsylvaniaLebanon County, Cornwall, Warwick
MissouriIron Mountain, Graniteville, Shepherd Mountain
Where to Find Magnetite in the USA

Currently, no U.S. state has magnetite designated as its official state mineral. Let’s explore some of these states and see exactly where you can find magnetite minerals and crystals!


Utah is, without a doubt, the best state in the U.S. to find magnetite specimens. They are everywhere in this state, but let’s start in its Salt Lake regions! In Box Elder County, plenty of mines in Willard have unearthed magnetite specimens.

When it comes to Salt Lake County, it’s probably the best place in the state to start your adventure. You can find magnetite in the many area mines around Alta or the Big Cottonwood mining district here.

The large open pit mines in Bingham Canyon also have magnetite, but you can try your luck at Little Cottonwood.

In Summit County, you can find magnetite in the mining district, where several mines and mine dumps are present. In the western regions of Utah, starting in Juab County, you can find magnetite in the area mines around Desert Mountain.

The Fish Springs is also worth checking out, as you can find gold or silver. At Spor Mountain, many area claims and mines are worth checking out. In Millard County, head to Twin Peak and explore the region.

If you are located in Sevier County, or plan to visit it, don’t skip the Henry mining district, as there you can find various types of minerals at Antelope Range.

In Southern Utah, you should visit Beaver County. Here, you can discover magnetite specimens at the Cactus Mine, the many mines around Rocky Range, or mines on the south side of the San Francisco Mountains.

If you can visit the Colorado River in Kane County or Garfield County, don’t hesitate to check the placer deposits for magnetite and gold.

Iron County is a befitting name because you can find lodestone and magnetite here at Three Peaks or Iron Peak. Remember, where there is hematite, there is also magnetite! Lastly, you can also find magnetite in San Juan County, in the Brumley Ridge area.

TIP: For a complete rockhounding guide in Utah, check out this article.

North Carolina

North Carolina is a prosperous state regarding minerals, including magnetite. If you live or plan to visit this state, start your journey in the western territories. Head straight to Bullhead Mountain, as the area mines here are filled with magnetite and gem-quality kyanite specimens.

Magnetite crystals can be found at New River and outcrops near Ennice. Check out Helton Creek as well, and search for magnetite in the area near the mouth. At Horse Creek, you can also find magnetite.

If you plan to visit Higdon Mountain, visit the southern area near U.S. 64. You can find magnetite and opal here. Bryson City is another excellent place to find magnetite and other valuable minerals. Search the general area to the north, especially near Deep Creek Church. 

In Central North Carolina, you can find magnetite at Catawba. The quartz seams four miles to the east near the railroad. In Winston-Salem, search for magnetite in the area of quarries and pits.

Clubb Mountain is a fantastic place to visit, and you will have plenty of mines and rock exposures to search, or you can try your luck at Crowder’s Mountain. Lastly, Gold Hill is an area with plenty of quarries and mines. Here, you can find gold, as well as magnetite.

TIP: For a complete rockhounding guide in North Carolina, check out this article.


Pennsylvania also has its fair share of locations where you can find magnetite. Here, you can start your journey in its western regions. Starting in Girty, plenty of area quarries and mining dumps are present to Apollo and McWilliams, and you will find magnetite here.

In Southeastern Pennsylvania, you can find magnetite and native copper in the many area mines around Gettysburg. You can also drive to Boyerstown and search for magnetite to the west in Ironstone Creek.

At Warwick, the mines near French Creek are also worth exploring. In Lebanon County, there are many area quarries and dumps where magnetite is present.

You can also go to Cornwall to find magnetite in the many old mining dumps south of Routte 322. Apart from magnetite, you can also find quartz crystals as well.

TIP: For a complete rockhounding guide in Pennsylvania, check out this article.

New York

There’s no place like New York, and if you want to find magnetite here, start in the metropolitan area and visit the Tilly Foster Iron Mine.

There are many minerals here, not just magnetite. In the capital district, you can find magnetite at Arnold Hill, in the area of mines and ore bodies, but you can also search the mien dumps.

At Lyon Mountain, you can find magnetite and over a dozen of other minerals in the many area mine dumps. As with any different location, it’s best first to research the areas you are visiting and ensure you have permission to collect.

TIP: For a complete rockhounding guide in New York, check out this article.

TIP: Does the number of rocks you collected increase yearly, and do you not know how to organize your rock collection? Check out the complete guide in the article below:
Expert Tips on Labeling & Organizing Your Rock Collection

FAQ About Finding Magnetite

Still did not find the answer to your questions about finding magnetite? Find frequently asked questions in the section below:

Is Magnetite Rare or Common?

Magnetite is common. However, you must search for it in the environments where it is usually found. Some include lakes, mines, quarries, mine dumps, creeks, rivers, outcrops, and mountainous regions. Magnetite crystals are generally harder to find but can also be found in outcrops.

What Type of Rock is Magnetite Found in?

Magnetite is found in sedimentary, metamorphic, and igneous rocks. Occasionally, you can also find it in banded iron formations. Quarries, mines, outcrops, exposures, and road cuts are among the best places to find magnetites in rocks.

BTW: If you are looking for the best UV light for rockhounding, find out my picks below (Amazon links):


Magnetite is among the most otherworldly minerals you can find out there. However, considering the above environments and locations, you will easily find it! If iron ores or hematite is present, you will find magnetite as well.

TIP: Some minerals and rocks have unique magnetic properties, like magnetite. Check out the complete guide about magnetic rocks in the article below:
List of Common Magnetic Rocks & Minerals (with Explanation)