I will be travelling up to the Keokuk area from Arkansas with my sons the weekend of June 16th for some geode hunting. It will be my first time in the area. I will only have 2 days for collecting so I thought I would concentrate on the fee mines. I know of Jacob's and another place Stevenson's. Are there any other places that might be worth visiting? Also, any additional info on the mines would be appreciated (fees, ease of collecting, tools needed, etc.). Anything else experienced collectors can recommend to make our trip successful would be greatly appreciated (good cheap local motels, etc). I hope to find out how many geodes a Toyota Tacoma will haul!
Thanks & Regards,
Northwest Arkansas Gem & Mineral Society
Those 2 places are about the only real productive places you can dig at. I dont think right now there are any other fee mines you can go to, but hear there are 2 others that might reopen this year sometime.
I just got back home from Stevensons about 45 minutes ago with 10 buckets... was there yesterday and got 3+ and picked up 5 from Jacobs too.
Jacobs has almost dug back to the tree line in his main digging area. The wall is hard to dig in and not hardly worth your time for what you get out of it. Hes been running his back hoe in there often to collect buckets that he retails out. That wall is about 15 yards farther back from were it was when some of our board members had an outing there about 2 months ago. We went to the south west of the main digging area down a little trail in front of the pond and found the digging much better down there, but beware there is alot of mud when its been raining... like crystal digging down your way i guess. We got 5 nice buckets in 4 hours with me and my son digging in that area. Far south was best for us by far as the size geodes were better than anything we had been getting from that main digging area and most where very hollow too.
Normal tools for digging is about all you will need, the sun gets bad at jacobs, not so bad at Stevensons being in the creek bed. If you call stevensons ahead of time and tell him you and your sons are coming in all the way from AR. he might hook you up with a nice area to "play" in. He told me tonight he has 21 guys coming to dig the weekend after you are going to be there so you timed it right I would say.
Email me if you have any more questions, you will be passing right by me (Hannibal) on your trip up there.
Across the river in Hamilton, ILL is a city park where you can collect Geodes down by the river. All so in Warsaw south of Hamilton is a ball park, behind the ball park is a small picnic area and to the left side a old road going down to the river. When you get down there go left and look along the banks. I'm sure others will chime in here too, to help you out.
KOR Carl in WI
Can you tell me where Stevenson's is please
Hello, there is great news about the mine it will be re-opening and a mine still exist. It will be in a new building only half mile from the old building. Just thought you would like to know.
The places that have been given to you on this board are great locations. Make sure to visit Jacob's because of the neat minerals that are coming out of there right now!! Stevenson's is mostly quartz geodes but they can get very big there, several volleyball sized geodes I bought home from there are beautiful!! After the fee digs I would suggest to hit Geode Glen park, If your coming across the bridge from Keokuk going towards Hamilton at the first light take a right and head to Warsaw IL, once you get into Warsaw you will come to a stop sign, turn left here and follow the road for a couple blocks. On the left will be a baseball diamond and park, take the second drive around to the back and park at the picnic area, go down straight behind the pavilion to the creek at the bottom of the hill. Here you will find all of the Warsaw formation exposed in a 20 ft high wall. Digging in the lower sections of this you can find all kinds of different minerals. This is harder digging than the fee digging at Jacob's but you can find more minerals here. This is a free area to dig.
Also as Carl (gemhunter) mentioned Wildcat springs is another location to hunt in the creek and on the banks...it is in Hamilton, there is a sign right on 136 that points to the park.
PS Virgil has the map to get to Stevenson's geodes.
Thank you all for the great info! I'm sure it will help make our trip a success. A couple more questions:
1. What about bugs in that part of the country? Down here in Arkansas we have plenty of chiggers (the worst), ticks, and mosquitos.
2. Can anyone recommend specific digging tools/techniques? Different for different locations? Just trying to figure out which tools to bring. Would like to leave sledge hammers and picks at home!
PS. I will be sure to let y'all know how our trip goes.
I don't know about the bug situation this time of year, but you will need to bring a pick, shovel, prybars, hammers and chisels to extract geodes from the limestone strata at Jacob's. Mr. Jacob's only allows you to bust certain flattened geodes, so you will have to fill 5-gallon buckets with unbroken ones to crack later. You pay by the bucket (I can't remember exactly how much, but it was around $20 - well worth the price!).
You should make sure to call ahead to be sure that Mr. Jacobs will be around when you want to be there.
Jacob's Geode Shop and Mine
823 East County Rd 1220
Hamilton, IL 62341
Go to the following message thread for lots more information, including lodging options: Click Here
Also, check out the field trip reports page on McRocks.com for reports to various Keokuk loations.
One more thing I would appreciate opinions on:
Cut vs. crack for Keokuk geodes? Meaning saw vs. pipe cutter? What do the Keokuk "pro's" prefer?
Thanks again and regards,
In my opinion, using a soil pipe cutter to crack Keokuk geodes is a must because of the presence of delicate minerals that would be lost if cut on a rock saw. Many Jacob's geodes contain pyrite, marcasite needles, and barite that would likely be destroyed by a rock saw.
I concur with the Boss, anytime you cut a geode you risk cutting thought the crystals that are inside as well as getting them dirty. The marcasites so far have held up. I would think if you get water on them you might make them unstable. Also some geodes have large calcites or barites that you could saw off the tips if you cut through them.
Bugs are not all that bad there unless it has been raining. The dozen or so trips I've taken out there to only real problem I've seen would be skeeters after some wet weather.
Enjoy your trip and have fun!!!
Our trip to the Keokuk area was successful and enjoyable in spite of the near record heat! We spent 3 days digging.
Day one was spent at Jacob's. We dug a little in the main area and then spent the rest of the day digging on the other side of the pond. The digging was a little easier there and the geodes seemed bigger. We took home 4 buckets of nice hand ball to soft ball sized ones with a bunch of golf ball size for filler. The largest was a 6 inch round beauty with a white ring around the rim and sparkling clear and citrine quartz in center. So far we have found sphalerite, pyrite, calcite, citrine, clear quartz, and those "hairs". I have never seen anything like these hairs. Some of them even have branches and look like little trees. What the heck are they?
Days two and three were spent at Stevenson's. The shade of the creek bottom, easier digging, and abundance of larger geodes kept us there. After being very selective we took home 8 buckets. The largest was 12 inches (haven't opened yet). Alot of hand ball to cantaloupe size. So far we have found some "hairs", calcite, lots of citrine and other quartz including some pretty light blue grey botroidal chalcedony. Alot of beautiful quartz from this location. Mr. Stevenson was an excellent host. He even brought his backhoe down and dug up some new areas for us to dig in.
Thanks again for all the great info and advice! Now I have to get back to cleanin' and crackin'!
The "hairs" are pyrite and marcasites. The marcasites are the "tree" or arborescent looking pieces. Most of the pyrite acicular or capillary "hairy" xls will be only one long xl. Some of the Marcasites have flat xl shapes.
Sounds like you did well!!
If you get a chance, post some photos of your finds!!
Thanks for letting us know! It's great to hear how things turn out for those who have sought out advice here!
I was reading this board in hopes of finding out any information on Sheffler's reopening or a contact number, when I read about Stevenson's mine, and the nice geodes that are being found and was hopeing someone could tell me where this mine is located or any information in conacting the owners of the mine.
thank you for any help.
Tony, go to this site to contact the Stevenson Place. Unbelievable things can be found there, I went last year and have 4 geodes the size of a cantaloupe. Be prepared because you are searching in a creek with thick forest, wear long shirts and pants. You will find some cool stuff there and ask dennis Stevenson where is the best place to pick now. Happy hunting, and definitely worth the trip. Go to the bottom of the website for contact info
Is anyone else going to GeodeFest weekend after next?
I won't be there for GeodeFest but I am planning to go out this weekend, Sept 18-19 for my first crack at finding Geodes in Keokuk.
Anyone else be there this weekend?
I have been to Stevenson's and it was great. Very easy to find geodes in the creek there, though many were solid. There was another place we have visited too, also on the Hamilton IL side, digging in the side of a small embankment, also a fee place, but also welll worth it, we found lots of goodies (I can't remember the name of it offhand, but it was a person's name).
There's also Sheffler's in northeastern MO. Are they really open again? Has anyone been there lately? Find any good geodes?