Alabama has a wealth of mineral and rock deposits that make it an ideal state for rock hounding or hunting. The state is dominated by two different geologies--mountainous in the northeast at the southern end of the Cumberland plateau and rolling coastal plains that cover the rest of state’s farming regions.
A Diversity of Gems
More than 190 mineral species can be found in Alabama, according to the Encyclopedia of Alabama.
Gold occurs in its natural form in Alabama and has been reported in Chilton, Clay, Cleburne, Coosa, Randolph, Talladega and Tallapoosa counties.
Pyrite, aka fool’s gold, is found in Clay County. It occurs in igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks.
Different Rocks, Different Places
Rock hunters will find gem-like qualities in cherts for cutting and polishing in the coastal plains of Alabama. In the mountainous regions, rock hunters can expect to find conglomerates, marbles, phyllites, quartzites and slates.
Gems and Precious Stones
Among the more popular gems and collectible minerals found in Alabama are agate quartz, amethyst, andalusite, apatite, calcite, emeralds, fluorite, ilmenite, magnetite, monazite, onyx, opal, rutile, tourmaline and turquoise.
Geologic Maps and References
The Geological Survey of Alabama (GSA) says it has more than 35 maps with booklets summarizing the geology, perfect for showing rock hounds where to look for precious rocks and minerals.