Crater of Diamonds State Park

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Crater of Diamonds State Park
Arkansas state park
Natural Monument (IUCN III)
Digging For Diamonds (2245556315).jpg
Digging for diamonds, 2007
Named for: Diamond mine
Country United States
State Arkansas
Regions Ouachita Mountains
County Pike
City Murfreesboro
Location Visitor Center [1]
 - coordinates 34°1′59″N 93°40′13″W / 34.03306°N 93.67028°W / 34.03306; -93.67028Coordinates: 34°1′59″N 93°40′13″W / 34.03306°N 93.67028°W / 34.03306; -93.67028
Area 911 acres (369 ha) [2]
Created 1972 [2]
Managed by Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism
Locator Red.svg
Location of Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas
Location of Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas
Website : Crater of Diamonds State Park

Crater of Diamonds State Park is a 911-acre (369 ha) Arkansas state park in Pike County, Arkansas in the United States. The park features a 37.5-acre (15.2 ha) plowed field, the world's only diamond-bearing site accessible to the public. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists the site as a Class III Natural Monument or Feature in its registry. Diamonds have continuously been discovered in the field since 1906, including the world's only perfect diamond ever discovered, the Strawn-Wagner Diamond.[1] The park became a part of the system in 1972 after the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism purchased the site from the Arkansas Diamond Company and Ozark Diamond Mines Corporation, who had operated the site as a tourist attraction previously.[2]

History[edit]

A supplement to the Nashville News of nearby Nashville, Arkansas, advertising diamond mining in the early 1900s

In August 1906, John Huddleston found two strange crystals on the surface of his 243-acre (98 ha) farm near Murfreesboro, Arkansas, and soon became known as the first person outside South Africa to find diamonds at their original source. The following month, Huddleston and his wife, Sarah, sold an option on the 243 acres (98 ha) to a group of Little Rock investors headed by banker-attorney Samuel F. (Sam) Reyburn, who undertook a careful, deliberate test of the property.

After 1906, several attempts at commercial diamond mining failed. The only significant yields came from the original surface layer, where erosion over a long period of time had concentrated diamonds. In the early period, 1907–1932, yields from this "black gumbo" surface material often exceeded thirty carats per hundred loads (50 mg/Mg) (standard 1600-pound tramload of the early period). Highest yields from the undisturbed subsurface material (described as kimberlite or volcanic breccia, by the U.S. Geological Survey) were two carats per hundred loads (3.5 mg/Mg) in 1908 and about two carats per hundred short tons (4.4 mg/Mg) in 1943-1944.

Because equipment of the early period usually included bottom screens with mesh larger than 1/16 inch (1.6 mm), thousands of smaller diamonds were allowed to pass through. The bulk of these ended up in drainage cuts of varying depths all over the field and in the big natural drains on the east and west edges of the diamond-bearing section of the volcanic deposit (approximately 35 acres (14 ha) of volcanic breccia on the east side of the 80-acre (32 ha) pipe). In recent decades, those small diamonds have been the bread-and-butter of recreational diamond-digging.

Soon after the first diamond was found, a "diamond rush" created a boomtown atmosphere around Murfreesboro. According to old tales, hotels in Murfreesboro turned away 10,000 people in the space of a year. Supposedly these aspiring diamond miners formed a tent city near the mine which was named "Kimberly" in honor of the famous Kimberley diamond district in South Africa. On the other hand, all available evidence indicates the Town of Kimberly originated as a land-development venture in 1909, initiated by Mallard M. Mauney and his oldest son Walter on their land immediately south of Murfreesboro. The project failed soon afterward as the speculative boom generated by the diamond discovery collapsed. Today the Kimberly area is almost all cow pasture, owned by Mauney's descendants.

During the Second World War, the U.S. government took over the mine and granted a contract to Glen Martin to extract this rare war material. Although diamonds were obtained, and the concentration of diamonds similar to other producing mines, this was not fully successful as a venture due to the large costs involved with U.S. labor. After the war, the property was returned to the previous owners. From 1951 to 1972, the crater hosted several private tourist attractions. The first, The Diamond Preserve of the United States, lasted only about one year. In late 1951, Howard A. Millar stepped in and salvaged the infant tourist industry. In April 1952, Millar and wife, Modean, launched their "Crater of Diamonds" attraction. Howard Millar, an accomplished writer and promoter, stirred unprecedented national publicity and drew enough visitors to sustain the operation. In March 1956, a visitor found the "Star of Arkansas" on the cleared surface. The rare beauty weighed 15.33 carats (3.066 g). Later, Roscoe Johnston opened a rival tourist attraction, the "Arkansas Diamond Mine", on the main part of the diamond field.

The rivalry between the two tourist operations left both in a weakened position. In 1970 the entire volcanic formation was consolidated by a private partnership which then reassigned the property to General Earth Minerals (GEM) of Dallas, Texas. GEM expected to turn the property over for a profit, but ended up heavily indebted to GF Industries (GFI) of Dallas. Upon default, GFI took the property in July 1971.

GEM consolidated the tourist operation as well as the property. GFI continued the attraction until it sold the 80-acre (32 ha) volcanic formation and some 800 acres (320 ha) surrounding to the State of Arkansas in March 1972, for $750,000. The tourist operation continued as the centerpiece of Crater of Diamonds State Park.

Due in part to the park, and also because Arkansas was the first place outside South Africa where diamonds were found at their original volcanic source, this special gem has come to be associated with the Natural State. A large diamond symbol has dominated the state flag since the early years. The Arkansas State Quarter, released in 2003, bears a diamond on its face.

Geology[edit]

The Crater of Diamonds volcanic pipe is part of a 95 million-year-old eroded volcano. The deeply sourced lamproite magma, from the upper mantle, brought the diamonds to the surface. The diamonds had crystallized in the cratonic root of the continent long before, and were sampled by the magma as it rose to the surface.

The geology of the area and the diamond formation process itself were the subjects of the Ph.D. dissertation of Roland Everett Langford in 1973 from the University of Georgia; in it, he proposed a gas phase reaction from the reduction of carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide in the upper mantle. The dissertation was on display at the state park for many years.

The lamproite diamond source is unusual, as almost all diamonds are mined from kimberlite and from alluvial deposits of diamonds weathered from kimberlite. The most prominent lamproite diamond source is the Argyle diamond mine in Australia.

Recreation[edit]

Pool at Crater of Diamonds State Park

Crater of Diamonds State Park is famous for the 37.5-acre (15.2 ha) plowed field on which visitors can hunt for diamonds and other semi-precious gems. On average, two diamonds are found per day by park visitors. A visitor center contains information about the geology of the park, a gift shop, and a cafe. Interested visitors can continue to the Diamond Discovery Center, which offers an interpretive look at prospecting for diamonds. The Diamond Springs aquatic playground, enclosed pavilion, trails, and picnic areas surround the diamond field.[1] The park offers campers 47 Class AAA facilities near the Little Missouri River.[3]

Diamond mine[edit]

Crater of Diamonds State Park is situated over an eroded lamproite volcanic pipe. The park is open to the public and, for a small fee, rockhounds and visitors can dig for diamonds and other gemstones. Park visitors find more than 600 diamonds each year of all colors and grades.[4] Over 29,000 diamonds have been found in the crater since it became a state park. Visitors may keep any gemstone they find regardless of its value.

In addition to diamonds, visitors may find semi-precious gems such as amethyst, agate, and jasper or approximately 40 other minerals such as garnet, phlogopite, quartz, baryte, and calcite.

Notable diamonds found[edit]

Kahn Canary in 1992 Dunay setting
Notable diamonds found
Year Finder Diamond Name Weight (carat) Weight (gram) Color Notes
1917 Wagner, Lee J.Lee J. Wagner of the Arkansas Diamond Company 17.86 3.572 canary yellow on display in the National Museum of Natural History
1924 Basham, Wesley OleyWesley Oley Basham Uncle Sam 40.23 8.046 largest diamond ever discovered in the United States
1964 Pollock, JohnJohn Pollock Star of Murfreesboro 34.25 6.850
1975 Johnson, W. W.W. W. Johnson Amarillo Starlight 16.37 3.274 Largest found since 1972. Cut into a 7.54 carats (1.508 g) marquise[5]
1977 Stepp, GeorgeGeorge Stepp Kahn Canary 4.25 0.850 canary yellow Naturally flawless. Remains uncut in dodecahedral "pillow" shape[5]
1978 Lamle, BettyBetty Lamle Lamle Diamond 8.61 1.722 fourth largest found since 1972
1981 Blankenship, CarrollCarroll Blankenship Star of Shreveport 8.82 1.764 second largest found since 1972
1990 Strawn, ShirleyShirley Strawn Strawn-Wagner Diamond 3.09 0.618 cut to 1.09 carats (218 mg) in 1997; graded a "perfect" 0/0/0 by the American Gem Society in 1998, making it the first diamond ever to receive such an AGS grading. Currently on exhibit at the park.
1991 Fedzora, JoeJoe Fedzora Bleeding Heart Diamond 6.23 1.246 brownish yellow
1997 Cooper, RichardRichard Cooper Cooper Diamond 6.72 1.344 deep purplish-brown
1997 Cooper, RichardRichard Cooper Cooper Diamond 6.00 1.200 brown/cognac new owners from Florida since 2008
2006 Culver, MarvinMarvin Culver Okie Dokie Diamond 4.21 0.842 deep canary yellow Flawless. Seen on Today Show, MSNBC, Inside Edition and Travel Channel and published in Lost Treasure magazine (twice), Western and Eastern Treasures magazine, Mineralogical Record and Rocks & Minerals.
2006 Wehle, BobBob Wehle Sunshine Diamond 5.47 1.094 deep canary yellow flawless
2006 Roden, Donald and BrendaDonald and Brenda Roden Roden Diamond 6.35 1.270 honey brown
2007 Johnson, ChadChad Johnson 4.38 0.876 tea-colored [6]
2008 Tyrrell, DenisDenis Tyrrell Kimberly Diamond 4.42 0.884 [7]
2008 Burke, RichardRichard Burke Sweet Caroline 4.68 0.936 white [8]
2009 Worthington, GlennGlenn Worthington Easter Sunrise Diamond 2.04 0.408 yellow [9]
2010 Worthington, GlennGlenn Worthington Brown Rice Diamond 2.13 0.426 light brown [10]
2011 Gilbertson, BethBeth Gilbertson Illusion Diamond 8.66 1.732 white third largest diamond found since 1972, and largest in almost 30 years[11][12]
2013 Detlaff, MichaelMichael Detlaff God’s Glory Diamond 5.16 1.032 honey brown [13]
2013 Clymer, TanaTana Clymer God's Jewel 3.85 0.770 canary yellow [14]
2014 Kalenda, BrandonBrandon Kalenda Jax Diamond 2.89 0.578 white [15][16]
2014 Anderson, DavidDavid Anderson Limitless Diamond 6.19 1.238 white [17]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Crater of Diamonds State Park". Arkansas State Parks Guide, 2011. Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. p. 19. Retrieved February 21, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c Staff of the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism (February 14, 2011). "Crater of Diamonds State Park". The Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture. The Central Arkansas Library System. Retrieved February 21, 2012. 
  3. ^ "Crater of Diamonds State Park" (PDF). Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. 2005. Retrieved February 21, 2012. 
  4. ^ "Crater of Diamonds State Park Enjoying Spotlight". Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. Retrieved January 17, 2012. 
  5. ^ a b "Famous Finds". Crater of Diamonds State Park. Retrieved 2012-01-12. 
  6. ^ FOXNews.com - Arkansas Man Nearly Throws Away 4.38-Carat Diamond - Local News | News Articles | National News | US News
  7. ^ The-Vug.com, Arkansas Diamond Digging Regular Finds 4.42 Carat Diamond with Pictures
  8. ^ Visitor From Michigan Finds 4.68-carat White Diamond at Arkansas's Crater of Diamonds State Park
  9. ^ The-Vug.com, Glenn Worthington finds 2.04 carat Yellow Diamond; Easter Sunrise Diamond with Pictures
  10. ^ Gold Prospector Magazine, Sep–Oct 2010 
  11. ^ Crater of Diamonds State Park (April 27, 2011), Colorado Visitor Finds 8.66-Carat White Diamond at Arkansas’s Crater of Diamonds State Park, retrieved 1 May 2011 
  12. ^ Eddington, Sarah (April 28, 2011), Salida woman finds 8.66-carat diamond at Arkansas park, Associated Press, retrieved 1 May 2011 
  13. ^ Twelve-year-old boy from North Carolina finds 5.16-carat diamond at Arkansas's Crater of Diamonds State Park 
  14. ^ "Oklahoma teen finds 3.85-carat diamond at Arkansas state park", Fox News, October 22, 2013 
  15. ^ Louisiana Tourist Digs up White Diamond in Arkansas 
  16. ^ Kindelan, Katie (March 13, 2014). "Man Finds 2.89-Carat White Diamond in State Park". 
  17. ^ "Arkansan Finds 6.19-carat White Diamond Yesterday at Arkansas's Crater of Diamonds State Park" (Press release). Arkansas State Parks. April 16, 2014. Retrieved April 19, 2014. 

External links[edit]