An abundance of Georgia Fossils and Crystals await discovery for those who seek them out
If you’re headed to Georgia and you enjoy rockhounding then you’re in luck. The state contains both a surprising amount of fossils and some enormous, gorgeous crystals which will sit nicely in your collection.
Many are surprised to find out that the state fossil of Georgia is actually shark teeth. The teeth of ancient sharks are common in a lot of areas, and they’re easy to find in the Peach State. You can also expect to find other marine fossils, including trilobites.
The state is actually quite neatly divided between the areas where you’ll find crystals and fossils, making it easy to plan what you’re looking for when you’re there. South of Mason you’ll find younger Georgia fossils, and in the northwestern portion of the state, you’ll find older ones, nearly all of them will be invertebrates if you happen upon a complete one.
Where to Look
For the most part, you can find them along pretty much any creek bed or beach in the southern portion of the state. Look for sedimentary rock outcroppings which come apart easily and you can often find the ancient remains of invertebrates by separating the layers by hand. No tools necessary.
Even farm fields can be a good place to look. The sedimentary rocks in the area are just brimming with the imprints of ancient life and your best bet is to join a club in the area if you’re looking to get in on the action. There really aren’t any publicly open “dig sites” in the southern part of the state, because Georgia fossils can be found nearly anywhere.
You can usually get into areas where you’ll be able to strike it rich by asking, pretty much. Take care not to trespass and you’ll be fine.
Fossils on the Beaches
The coastal portion of the states are great if you’re looking for Georgia fossils including actual bones and shark teeth, they commonly wash up on beaches although many will overlook them. Look for blackened bits in the sand, which is usually the phosphate reaction of long burial breaking off of the bones and is a great indicator of fossils along any beach where they can be found.
Of particular interest is Bird Island, or Shark Tooth Island, where the dredgings from the river have piled up over time and stirred up a large number of fossilized shark teeth. You’ll have to take a kayak to get there, but you’ve got a great chance of finding a serious amount of teeth there.
Northwestern Georgia is a problematic area to go fossil hunting in, despite the better fossils being present in that area. Most of the land is privately owned in that area, and you’ll have to get permission in order to enter there.
If you can acquire the permission in a good area, however, you can look forward to a whole lot of goodies that are dated earlier than the more common fossils which roam the southern portion of the state.
The Hunt for Crystals
Thankfully, unlike the ancient remnants above, there are plenty of places that are well known in the northern portion of the state which will allow you some easy access in order to dig or pan for crystals.
The most famous crystals in Georgia are definitely quartz. They come in the clear, smoky, and amethyst varieties and depending on where you go to look for them you might even be able to find prized double-terminated specimens.
If you can’t find private land to take a pick too near a deposit, there’s still plenty of options for the intrepid amateur prospector. There are several pay-to-dig sites in the state, and each of them offers a little something special.
Diamond Hill Mine
For a relatively small fee of $20, you can gain access to this area. They make note of the fact that amethyst is still rare there, and the dirt isn’t “salted” which means that you’ll be sifting through the unsorted material as you get down to business.
That said, there’s been a ton of great specimens found there, and visitors regularly post some amazing finds on their Facebook page.
The Hogg Mine
The Hogg Mine is another great place to look for stones, and they’ve apparently got quite a bit of amethyst there. The fees are a little bit steeper, at $15/person, but they’ll give you a walk around the mine and show you what to look for upon arrival.
They do both scheduled and private digs, so if you’re serious about getting some quartz they’re definitely worth contacting.
Georgia’s diverse fossils and amazing quartz crystals make it a great spot for rock and fossil hunters who want to get out on their own. Whether you visit a fee-mine or just take a walk along creek beds in order to find some Cretaceous fossils, you’re looking at a good time and some special specimens that will bring big memories with them.
Next: Where to Pan for Gold in Georgia