A Location Guide for Rock
Hounds in the United States
Minerals are the major contribution
to the Blue Grass State’s economy. These
consist mainly of coal, limestone,
fluorspar, rock asphalt, gravel and sand-all products of
sedimentation. The state
is part of a very old land surface, lying within the eastern uplifted
Appalachian Plateau and the
westerly Interior Low Plateaus. During most of the Paleozoic
and Mesozoic eras, Kentucky lay beneath the sea, and thus its rock formations are
shales, sandstones, limestone, etc., with almost no igneous or
The rugged hardwood timbered
Cumberland Plateau that comprises part of eastern Kentucky rises to 4,100’ in Big Black Mt., highest of numerous peaks
that straddle the Virginia border in the range of the same name along the boundaries of Bell and Harlan counties. This plateau
breaks toward the Bluegrass heartland in the Pottsville Escarpment,
marked by a belt of rounded
shale hills known as the Knobs. To the west in the low Mississippian Plateau, a region of rocky hillsides denotes an extensive
area of underground streams which have carved such great caverns as the famed Mammoth Caves in the limestone sub-strata.
The region lying east of
the Tennessee River emerged from the Paleozoic seas toward the close of the Mississippian period some 340 million years
ago. Outcropping rocks in this region range from middle Ordovician to the Pennsylvanian, containing few collectable minerals
and gemstones but great amounts of fossils. Nevertheless, wherever the Fort
Payne and Warsaw formations of the Mississippian Period outcrop, gemmy geodes appear abundantly. These interesting nodules are found
in many sizes from walnut to beach ball. Some contain beautifully banded chalcedony, while others have interiors lined with
crystals of Calcite, Celestite, Fluorite, Goethite, Pyrite, and Quartz. The most productive area for
geodes surrounds the Bluegrass,
southward into Tennessee. Throughout this considerable region, investigation of creek and stream beds
& banks, runs & rills, rd. and RR cut banks, excavations, almost always reveals an abundant supply of geodes.
The lands lying west of the
Tennessee R., known as the Purchase Region, did not emerge from the sea until Tertiary times only 40 to 50 million years ago.
This region remained for long ages as the head of a great embayment extending north from the ancient Gulf of Mexico,
thus receiving largely estuarine deposits. Cretaceous and Tertiary formation
are developed principally
in the Jackson Purchase area, while Pleistocene alluvium occurs plentifully in the valleys of western Kentucky and along the Ohio R. and its tributaries.
AREA, countywide creeks, rivers, beds and banks, rd. cuts exposing the Warsaw
Formation-Quartz and other
COLUMBIA, the Shamrock Stone Co. limestone quarry-geodes.
SCOTTSVILLE, area quarries
in the Warsaw formation-Quartz geodes.
WICKCLIFF: - E, in a ravine
as a deposit-yellow ocher; - in gravel pit-
CAVE CITY, area commercial
quarries, as pink and yellow gemmy varieties-
GLASGOW, in steam to E.-geodes.
OWINGSVILLE, area iron mines-Hematite.
MILLERSBURG, area mines-Barite,
BOYD, CARTER, GREENUP COUNTIES
ASHLAND (Boyd Co.): These counties in the extreme NE corner of Kentucky
comprise a considerable mining
district for iron ores, mines and dumps producing as the
DANVILLE: - many area mine dumps⎯Barite; - the Caldwell Quarry-
AREA, many mines throughout W part of Co.-Barite, Calcite, Fluorite, etc.
CRIDER, N, in fault exposures-Fluorite,
FREDONIA, area mines-Barite.
PRINCETON, area quarries-Calcite, Fluorite.
AREA, many well-known old mines such as Ashbridge, Glendale, Tabor, and other
regional mines back of the
Ohio R.-Galena, Fluorite.
LAKETON, in bluffs of a nearby
Cr., a deposit-yellow ocher.
AREA along the Ohio R. (KY side similarly famed Fluorite region of IL), many
Fluorite mines, such as the
Old Jim Brown, Hodge, Columbia, etc.-Barite, Calcite,
Dolomite crystals, Fluorite
(every color), Galena, Marcasite, Pyrite, Smithsonite,
MARION: - N 3 mi. from jct. of US 60 and Rte. 1668, on E side of rd., the
Crittenden Springs fault-Barite,
Calcite, Dolomite crystals, Fluorite (every color),
Galena, Marcasite, Pyrite, Smithsonite, Sphalerite; - NW, off Rte. 387 at Hickory
Cane Mine dump (W of rd.
and up Caney Cr. from the Glendale Baptist Church on Glendale
Church rd.) -mica, Fluorite,
peridotite; - from jct. of US 60 and Rte. 855, go 1 mi. left to
old Kirk Mine-Barite, Calcite,
Dolomite crystals, Fluorite (every color), Galena,
Marcasite, Pyrite, Smithsonite,
Sphalerite; - SW 5 mi., as scattered deposits⎯ocher.
MEXICO, SW on US 70, turn
left at the Crider Fluorspar Co. sign 0.8 mi. from town,
then left at 0.3 mi. (1.1
from town) across RR to the Pigmy Fluorspar Mine (open pit)
-Barite, Calcite, Dolomite
crystals, Fluorite (every color), Galena, Marcasite, Pyrite,
SHERIDAN, the Big Four Fault,
NE to SW of Rte. 297 (the La Rue, Cartwright,
Macer, etc. Lead mines) -Anglesite,
Cerussite, Fluorite, Galena, Pyromorphite,
Smithsonite, Smoky Quartz
AREA, igneous outcrops in the Little Sandy R. area-Apatite, Almandite garnets,
Chromite, Diopside, Enstatite,
ISONVILLE, in peridotite
outcrops along the banks of Ison Cr., especially just W of
confluence with Johnson Cr.
and across from the Ison Johnson school⎯Enstatite, Ilmenite,
Magnetite, mica, Olivine,
peridotite, Pyrope garnet, serpentine.
LEXINGTON: - area mines-Barite; - vicinity of Morton’s Mill, mine-Fluorite;
- area of Elk Lick
Falls (Petrified Falls), a large deposit⎯cave onyx (banded in brown and
FRANKFORT, area of Kissinger, as gangue mineral in the Clerk vein-Barite, with
Galena as main ore.
LANCASTER: - N on Rte. 52 on Boone Cr., in Barite prospect-crystal Barite,
Calcite, Fluorite, Sphalerite;
- W 4 mi., a deposit-Barite.
FARMINGTON, HICKORY, SEDALIA, VIOLA, regional gravel and clay pits, as
chert, jasper, Quartz, silicified wood.
HARD MONEY, S 2½ mi., small
quantities in gravel beds-Hematite.
MAYFIELD, SW 5 mi. on US
45 (and just N of Pryorsburg), area clay pits, as
chert, jasper, Quartz, silicified wood.
ELIZABETHTOWN, area quarries in the Warsaw formation⎯Quartz geodes, etc.
VINE GROVE, area excavations,
pits, quarries, cut banks exposing the Warsaw
CYTHIANA, SE 3 mi., in Ordovician
limestone as a deposit-Barite.
LAIR, area mines and pits-Barite,
ROWLETTS, area rd. cuts,
banks, stream gravels-banded Calcite onyx, petrified
LOUISVILLE: - area beds and banks of the Ohio R.-fossil coral,
wood; - N end of Louisville-Jeffersonville
bridge-fossil coral, petrified wood; - E via
US 60: (a) By-pass 60 to
Grinstead Ave., turn right to quarries N of the by-pass near jct.; (b)
first left turn of Grinstead Ave., a quarry; (c) across the by-pass at E end of park-silicified
fossils, oolites; -: (a)
rd. cuts along US 42; (b) the County Quarry (reached from
Ave. N from By-pass 60 to Stilz, then
left to Frankfort St., and Hillcrest to US 42),
quarry is 2½ mi. from jct.
-silicified fossils; (c) rd. cuts N of the quarry-silicified
fossils; - Coral Turnpike,
an exposure⎯silicified corals.
VALLEY STATION, S to Muldraugh’s
Hill (on or near Co. line,; reached also from
West Point in Bullitt Co.), numerous roadside exposures of the Warsaw formation-Quartz
AREA, countywide exposures of the Fort Payne and Warsaw formations-geodes
(containing Calcite Celestite,
Goethite, Fluorite, Quartz and Pyrite; some with
botryoidal and banded chalcedony),
clear Quartz crystals.
ROWLAND, N, on rural rds.
to just S of Rte. 52, on Boone Cr. near confluence of
Hanging Rock Cr. and Dix
R., numerous pits and prospects-Barite, Calcite, Fluorite,
STANFORD: - S 6 mi. via Rte.
78 to near hall’s Gap, bed and banks of the Green
R.; - along the S and E banks
and in the Green R. bed from Green River Church SW to New
Bethel Church-geodes (some
having pink Calcite well terminated crystals or Quartz
BIRDSVILLE, nearby on Rte.
137, two abandoned quarries-Calcite, Dolomite
crystals, Fluorite, Quartz.
BURNA, area sandstone quarries⎯Calcite, Fluorite, Quartz crystals.
CARRSVILLE: - area fluorspar
mines⎯Barite, Calcite, Dolomite crystals,
Fluorite (various colors),
Galena, Marcasite, Pyrite, Smithsonite, Sphalerite, with
some Lead-Silver minerals
in Fluorspar; - E 1 mi. and S of Rte. 387, the Ellis
Mine-Calcite, Fluorite, Quartz
crystals, etc.; - E, on N side of Rte. 3872, a fault near
the Ohio R. exposing brecciated
JOY, area fluorspar mines-Calcite,
Fluorite, Galena, Quartz.
SMITHLAND, N at Dyer Hill
fluorspar mine, in cavities in a massive fluorspar vein
in the Dyer Hill fault⎯Calcite, Fluorite, Galena, Quartz crystals, Sphalerite.
AREA: - along the E shoreline of Kentucky lake, and
- all area rd. cuts and
EDDYVILLE, area gravel pits,
rd. cuts, excavations-agate, chalcedony, jasper.
KENTUCKY DAM, 6 mi. above
at milepost 30, on the Tennessee R., in the State
Quarry revealing an unusual
exposure of the Warsaw formation-Calcite, jasper, Quartz
KENTUCKY DAM VILLAGE STATE
PARK, area rd. cuts at entrance show
Exposures-Fort Payne chert.
BEREA, SE on US 25, area rd. cuts and banks⎯oolitic limestone,
PADUCAH, E 3 mi., mines and pits⎯ocher.
CALVERT CITY, are of
Highland Landing on the Tennessee R., a deposit on the
AREA: - area of the Kentucky R. bend (NE of Harrodsburg), and - the Two
Chimneys and Fantail mines⎯Barite, Calcite, Fluorite.
HARRODSBURG, area mines⎯Barite, Calcite, Fluorite, Galena, Sphalerite.
TOMPKINSVILLE, regional quarries,
excavations, and other exposures of the
Warsaw formation⎯Warsaw type geodes.
GRATZ, N on N bank of Kentucky
R. immediately W of Rte. 355, dumps of the Gratz
Mine-Barite, Calcite, Fluorite,
BOONE: - area rd. cuts; -
S toward Mt. Vernon in all rd. cuts and banks-chert,
jasper, geodes, oolites;
- in area limestone quarry-Calcite, oolitic limestone, Quartz.
MOUNT VERNON: - N on US 25, 1 mi. from city limits, in a rd. cut-gemmy black
chert, jasper; - W, in a
limestone quarry-hert, jasper, geodes.
ELLIOTTVILLE, FARMER, HAYS,
MOREHEAD, SUMMIT, all regional quarries
and excavations, cut banks,
stream beds, etc.-fossils, crystals, minerals.
SALT LICK, W 5 mi. and 3
mi. N of Rte. 60, the old Rose River strip iron
Mine-Hematite nodules, jasper.
GEORGETOWN, area of Duval Sta., 1½ mi. distant at the Johnson vein-Galena
with Barite as the gangue
CUMBERLAND FALLS, area quarries and stream banks, rd, cuts, etc.-Rockcastle
conglomerate (a sandstone
matrix filled with well cemented pebbles of flint, jasper quartz,
TROY, SW 2 mi. on
Mundy’s landing rd., dead-ending at mines and prospect
Pits-crystals of Barite,
Calcite, Fluorite, Galena, Sphalerite.