If you’re looking to collect rocks and minerals in Mississippi you’re probably wondering where to look and what you can find. You’ve come to the right place! I’m sure this isn’t what you want to hear, but Mississippi ranks among the worst states in the U.S. for rockhounding due to its lack of rock and mineral varieties and a woefully short list of prospective collecting sites. Still, there are plenty of places to search and interesting things to find for the determined collector.
The best places to rockhound in Mississippi are the gravels and sands of the Mississippi River and its tributaries, particularly the Homochitto River basin where agates can be found. Northern Mississippi is notable for petrified wood, while gravels across the entire state produce fossils in abundance.
|State Rock||Petrified wood|
|State Fossil||Basilosaurus cetoides|
Rocks and Minerals Found in Mississippi
When it comes to varieties of rocks and minerals to collect, Mississippi is, unfortunately, one of the worst states in the entire country. The entire area was covered in a shallow sea until very recently (geologically speaking) and the surface geology simply hasn’t been conducive to producing the types of rocks and minerals that are typically of interest to most collectors.
It’s not a total loss, though! Mississippi does have some material worth collecting if you know where to look. You can find agates and petrified wood throughout a good portion of the state, and fossils are extremely abundant.
The most commonly found and collected rocks and minerals in Mississippi are:
- Petrified wood
- Shark Teeth
If you’ve already found a rock and you’re not sure what it is, I would highly recommend checking out my Practical Rock Identification System. This bundle of information includes a book, videos, and online tools. It is, simply put, the most comprehensive and easy-to-understand rock identification system you’ll find anywhere.
You can also read through my free rock identification guide and mineral identification guide which are filled with useful information and tools.
Through quite a bit of research and cross-referencing of available literature, I have compiled this list of some prospective locations in Mississippi which I would recommend to people looking to do some rockhounding. These are mostly comprised of beaches, river bars, old mining prospects, washes, streams, and historically known rock and mineral collecting sites. For additional reading, I’d highly recommend these books you can find on Amazon:
Please remember that rock collecting locations are constantly changing. Specimens may become depleted from other collectors, the location may have been built on or altered, locality information in literature may be inaccurate, and property ownership may have changed hands. Joining up with a local rockhounding club for a group trip can often get you access to otherwise off-limits locations like privately owned mines and quarries. There are many rockhounding clubs in Mississippi so you can most likely find one you like nearby.
Though there are many locations listed here, this list is far from exhaustive. A location’s listing here is not a guarantee of accuracy. Be safe, never go underground, and make sure to get permission from the landowner to search for and collect specimens.
If you’re planning on heading to the field, make sure you have all the gear you’ll need! To get started, you can check out my recommended gear page which contains my full reviews for every Geologist’s favorite rock hammer and the best hiking backpack I’ve ever owned.
Rockhounding Sites in Mississippi
Important Disclaimer: I have not been to these locations myself, and I do not know if they are currently open for collecting. Use this resource as a guide to get you started. Follow posted signage and always get permission from the landowner to collect.
|Location||Rocks & Minerals|
|WM Browning Fossil Park (Twentymile Creek)||Fossils, Petrified wood|
|Wesson, in gravels and pits to E||Agate (banded), Chalcedony, Petrified wood|
|Bell Creek, in gravels NW of Gulfport||Agate|
|Tombigbee River, general area||Fossils (shark teeth)|
|Paden, in area outcrops of Tuscaloosa formation||Amber|
|Iuka, general area in extensive deposits||Ocher (red, yellow)|
|Waynesboro, in area gravels, banks, etc.||Fossils, Petrified palm wood|
|Mississippi River, in sands and gravels along entire length||Agate, Fossils|
|Holly Springs National Forest||Petrified wood|
|Adams County, area gravels and pits||Agate (banded)|
Where to Find Geodes in Mississippi
Geodes are extremely popular specimens with rockhounds wherever you are in the world, and Mississippi is no exception. Unfortunately, geodes are not commonly found in Mississippi because there are no known localities where they are locally sourced in abundance enough to be collected. Still, in rare circumstances, you may be able to find a geode of your own if you’re searching in the right place.
Tip: If you’re wondering how to spot a geode I would recommend checking out my article here.
The best places to find geodes in Mississippi are in gravel pits and dredge tailings near the Mississippi River. Geodes which have formed elsewhere, particularly in the Keokuk geode beds of southeastern Iowa, are sometimes transported downriver and collect in the gravel bars along the river.
Where to Find Shark Teeth in Mississippi
While the rockhounding opportunities in Mississippi are relatively lacking, there are many fantastic locations where you can hope to find fossilized shark teeth. These shark teeth vary in size but are usually about an inch long and range in age from about 20 to 90 million years old.
The best places to find shark teeth in Mississippi are in gravels near Cretaceous and Eocene rocks. Shark teeth are particularly prevalent in the stream and river gravels of northern Mississippi, most notably at W.M. Browning Cretaceous Fossil Park.
Collecting fossilized shark teeth can be a lot of fun and, in a good spot, you can find many of them in a short period of time. To improve your chances and speed things up considerably I would recommend using a large sifter to sort through a large amount of material in a short period of time. A traditional sieve like this one on Amazon will work great, or you can get a combo shovel and sand scoop like this one.
Where to Find Agates in Mississippi
Agates are some of the most commonly collected and sought-after rocks no matter where you live. In Mississippi, they are some of the only semiprecious stones you can find with any regularity, and the endless variations of colors and patterns they can contain only make them that much more desirable. While agates aren’t as abundant in Mississippi as they are in most other parts of the U.S., there are definitely plenty of places where you can find a nice haul.
The best places to find agates in Mississippi are in gravel pits and stream beds near the Mississippi River, as well as in the sands of the Homochitto River and its tributaries. These agates can be banded or uniform in appearance, and while colors vary they are usually off-white to yellow.
Mississippi Rockhounding Laws & Regulations
One of the most common questions rockhounds have is whether or not they are allowed to collect at a certain location. It is the responsibility of each rockhound to obtain permission from a landowner to search and/or collect on a piece of property.
The ownership and status of land can and does change frequently, making it impossible to document accurate information for every location on this page. However, I have compiled a list of resources here so that you may investigate and obtain permission for any locations (found here or elsewhere) for yourself.
Public Land Resources
I have written entire articles which cover the rockhounding laws and regulations for nearly every type of public land you can think of. I encourage you to check them out if you are curious about the legalities of rock and mineral collecting.
- Rockhounding on Public Land: Laws and Regulations
- Can You Collect Rocks in State Parks? All 50 States Answered
To determine what type of public land a particular location is on, I would recommend starting with the Mississippi Department of Wildlife & Hunting’s public lands maps.
Private Land Resources
As with most states, each county in Mississippi will have records of who owns each piece of property. You can also usually get the landowner’s name and address by visiting the county records office. I would probably start by contacting the clerk in whatever county you’re interested in and getting whatever contact information you can for the landowner.
Sources & Further Reading
The locations and information contained in this article are primarily derived from academic papers, online resources, and other outside sources. If you would like to read some of the source material for yourself I have listed them below. The majority of these locations are my interpretation of Robert Beste’s A Location Guide for Rock Hounds in the United States. Other sources include: