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Good areas for rockhounding/fossil hunting in eastern SD?


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I will be moving to Rapid City this fall for my masters, and would love to do some rockhounding, maybe find some fossils. 

 

I did find this great map; http://www.thefossilforum.com/index.php?/topic/76244-fossil-bearing-units-map/  And of course, I have state and other geologic maps (and university library if I want it, probably) at my disposal. I enjoy exploring new territory, for sure.

 

But some tips on good areas/regions to look in would also be great. I am certainly not opposed to prospecting some myself, but tips from fellow rockhounds are always welcome! I don't know a ton about what SD has to offer, outside of the well-known Jurassic and Cretaceous formations. I am wanting to stick to the eastern side of the state, probably staying within a few hours drive of Rapid. 

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Greetings,

 

If you'll be in the Rapid City SD area and come from WY, I'm not sure what eastern SD would have to offer you.

 

Eastern SD/western MN is well known for the Sioux Quartzite. It's all over the place. It can range from noticeably layered to uniform pink to conglomerate and varying 'stages' of metamorphism. If you're interested, I'd suggest Pipestone National Monument in Pipestone MN for a look at the catlinite and the quartzite in a historical location. 

 

In northern SD in the Milbank area there are granite quarries and in some places there are layers of cretaceous sediments on top with a variety of smaller fossils. Search fossil forum for some threads about that. Access may be difficult.

 

Along the Missouri river a lot of the public access land is Corp of Engineers  and SD State Parks which in their regs state that nothing should be removed from their land which is disappointing because of the exposures and erosion.

 

There is a rock and gem society in Rapid City called Western Dakota Gem and Mineral Society. they have a web site.  There is/was also a Darton Society there as well but they do not have the web presence that WDGMS does. I think the Darton Society was at one  time meeting at the Journey Museum in Rapid City. I think they're also a bit more, uh, academic. Those groups are where I'd start.

 

Also check out the School of Mines geology museum in Rapid City. they also have a paleontology prep lab further up the hill from that. And the Homestake visitor center in Lead as well as the Black Hills Mining Museum in Lead which has a Homestake focus.

 

..and of course Roadside Geology of South Dakota. Probably should also mention that (in the first edition) some of the pegmatites mentioned in that book, with directions, are actually private  (leftover notes from a bygone era??).

 

Anybody else feel free to correct me.

 

g'luck

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1 minute ago, Houdek said:

Greetings,

 

If you'll be in the Rapid City SD area and come from WY, I'm not sure what eastern SD would have to offer you.

 

Eastern SD/western MN is well known for the Sioux Quartzite. It's all over the place. It can range from noticeably layered to uniform pink to conglomerate and varying 'stages' of metamorphism. If you're interested, I'd suggest Pipestone National Monument in Pipestone MN for a look at the catlinite and the quartzite in a historical location. 

 

In northern SD in the Milbank area there are granite quarries and in some places there are layers of cretaceous sediments on top with a variety of smaller fossils. Search fossil forum for some threads about that. Access may be difficult.

 

Along the Missouri river a lot of the public access land is Corp of Engineers  and SD State Parks which in their regs state that nothing should be removed from their land which is disappointing because of the exposures and erosion.

 

There is a rock and gem society in Rapid City called Western Dakota Gem and Mineral Society. they have a web site.  There is/was also a Darton Society there as well but they do not have the web presence that WDGMS does. I think the Darton Society was at one  time meeting at the Journey Museum in Rapid City. I think they're also a bit more, uh, academic. Those groups are where I'd start.

 

Also check out the School of Mines geology museum in Rapid City. they also have a paleontology prep lab further up the hill from that. And the Homestake visitor center in Lead as well as the Black Hills Mining Museum in Lead which has a Homestake focus.

 

..and of course Roadside Geology of South Dakota. Probably should also mention that (in the first edition) some of the pegmatites mentioned in that book, with directions, are actually private  (leftover notes from a bygone era??).

 

Anybody else feel free to correct me.

 

g'luck

Oh man, I totally didn't realize I'd made a mistake there! I meant Western SD. Oops! Mistake corrected. I intend to get roadside geology, and incidentally, I will be attending SD Mines. Any thoughts on things to see/find in the western side of the state? I may get some chances to go east at some point as well, but I really was after things closer to Rapid.

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There are tons of fossils to be found in WESTERN South Dakota.  Too

many to list here and now.  You will likely learn a lot about them at the school of mines.  As is usual in the west, access to land is much more difficult than actually finding fossils 

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