Utah Rock Hounding
Utah is known by some as the Rock Hounding Capital of the United States! Destinations throughout Central Utah provide the most diverse and unique rock hounding sites in the state. Popular finds include trilobites, gem quality topaz, red beryl, geodes and sun stones. Although rock collecting is permitted on most public lands for personal use, you need to research the area you plan to collect in. Be sure that a permit is not required and check for mining claims. Do not collect on mining claims without the proper permission from the claim owner. Please read the Rules And Regulations Regarding Rock, Mineral, and Fossil Collecting In Utah. Below you will find detailed information on the most popular rocks and fossils collected in Utah.
"U-Dig Fossils" provides you with 40 acres of the very best trilobite collecting property in the world. It is located about 52 miles west of Delta, Utah. The most common trilobite fossils found at this location are Elrathia Kingi, Asaphiscus Wheeleri, Peronopsis Interstricta (Agnostus), and the Brachipod. There are less common trilobites to be found as well . Read More!
Trilobites. The very name conjures up images from "B" science-fiction movies of bug-eyed, wiggly-legged, insect-like creatures that eat New York. Two questions we commonly receive are "what are trilobites and where are they found in Utah?" Read More!
Located approximately 83 miles from Salt Lake City is a location that one can collect ancient shells and clams. The area is loaded with thousands of shells all in one location. This is a great activity for the kids and adults alike. While digging through the shell rock you never know what ancient treasure you will discover. What is even more interesting is knowing that at one point this area was part of a ancient lake. If collecting in the summer be sure to bring lots of water and protection from the sun. Read More!
Approximately 6 to 8 million years ago (Miocene epoch), volcanic activity occurred in western Utah and deposited an extrusive igneous rock called rhyolite. Trapped gasses formed cavities within the rhyolite, and millions of years of ground-water circulation allowed minerals to precipitate into the cavities. The result is geodes with spherical shapes and crystal-lined cavities. Read More!
The Dugway Geode Beds not only offers rock hounding opportunities for the beautiful Geodes but the location is great for a weekend campout. There is an abundance of recreational activities such as ATV trails, wildlife viewing, shooting, hiking, and of course rock hounding. The trip to the beds is an adventure in itself as you travel down the historical Pony Express Trail and pass through several historical locations such as the Pet Cemetery and Simpson Springs. Read More!
Geologic Information: Approximately 58 to 66 million years ago (Paleocene epoch), a large body of water known as Lake Flagstaff covered parts of northeastern and central Utah. This lake deposited a sequence of sediments that formed rocks known as the Flagstaff Formation. Read More!
The Marysvale area is dominated by Tertiary igneous rocks ranging from intermediate to silicic compositions with both volcanic and plutonic representatives. The especially thick volcanic section is thought to be the result of a large stratovolcano complex and associated calderas that existed during mid-Tertiary time. Read More!
Sunstone Knoll is formed of volcanic vents that erupted during the early Pleistocene (1.6 million years to about 750,000 years ago). These eruptions left deposits of basaltic lava and volcanic breccia (angular, broken rock fragments held together in a matrix of finer grained material). Sunstone is a transparent, yellowish labradorite (a plagioclase feldspar mineral) found as crystals in these volcanic rocks and on the flats surrounding the knoll. Read More!
The Vernon Hills wonderstone is a welded-vitric tuff (vitric means glassy) of rhyolitic composition. It is a volcanic rock composed predominantly of volcanic glass particles which have been welded or stuck together by heat and compacted by the weight of overlying material. Alteration of the rock by circulating ground water produced the colorful banding. Read More!
Topaz Mountain is located on the southern end of the Thomas Range. This range is very popular to rock collecting enthusiasts. Topaz, Utah's state gem; is a semiprecious gemstone that occurs as very hard transparent crystals in a variety of colors. The Topaz crystals at Topaz Mountain are naturally amber colored, but become colorless after exposed to sunlight. Read More!
Approximately 2.5 million years ago (late Tertiary Period), volcanic eruptions in the Black Spring area of the Black Rock Desert in western Utah spewed out the volcanic rocks rhyolite, pumice, and obsidian. Obsidian is a dark-colored volcanic glass formed when molten lava cools quickly. It is usually black but colored varieties range from brown to red. Read More!
Located approx 43 miles from Delta, Utah via HWY 257 is the Obsidian beds. Obsidian was used by the Indians to make arrowheads, spearheads and other tools. This rock is brittle and sharp like glass and this area has a variety of different colors such as black with white flake patterns called Snowflake Obsidian and Mahogany Obsidian which is brown or black & brown. Read More!