Dolomite in Arkansas
Associated with Lead and Zinc
Pink dolomite is widespread in certain Paleozoic dolostone formations in north Arkansas. Many of the abandoned lead and zinc mines in the Ozark Plateaus have pink sparry dolomite as the first or early mineralization which preceded the sphalerite, galena, and chalcopyrite deposition. Calcite crystals are often attractively perched on dolomite.
One area which has yielded many specimens, sometimes by the truckload is near Black Rock in Lawrence County. During the past 20 years, there has always been at least one active quarry along AR Highway 63 to the northwest of the community of Black Rock. The best dolomite is recovered from active quarries, but recent insurance and government regulations have caused the quarry operators to deny access to most people during the past year. Some north Arkansas clubs have managed to maintain good working relationships with certain operators and can still gain access for club-sponsored field trips.
Attractive pink dolomite (the featured specimen came from a zinc mine near Rush in Marion County) samples can be collected in many of the old underground workings in north Arkansas.
For additional information, read:
Smith, A. E., Jr., 1996, Collecting Arkansas Minerals, a reference and a guide: L. R. Ream Publishing Co., 149 p.
Howard, J. M., 1989, Rush creek mining district, Marion County, Arkansas - A synoptic view: Rocks & Minerals, v. 64, p. 284-292. Detailed reference list on north Arkansas zinc and lead deposits.
McKnight, E. T., 1935, Zinc and Lead Deposits of Northern Arkansas: U. S. Geological Survey Bulletin 853. The bible of locations for old zinc and lead mines in north Arkansas.
Note to Collectors: Please be aware that knowing about these minerals and where they can be found does not grant the right to trespass on private property or mining claims. Even if you consider taking some samples as "just collecting", property owners might consider your actions trespassing and theft. The status of mineral collecting on national forest and Corps of Engineers land is changing, and access is very restricted. Please check with the appropriate landowner, lease or claim holder, or district supervisor before attempting to enter a collecting locality.