Some visitors go days and even weeks at Crater of Diamonds State Park and never find a diamond but Eric Blake, of Appleton, Wisconsin, found two this week. On Monday, Eric discovered a 1.49-carat and Tuesday he 3.92-carat white diamond. His fiancée, Susan, also found 1.47-carat this week so it has been a productive time for diamond seekers.
Like many of the visitors at this unique Arkansas state park, Eric returns several times a year to try his luck sorting through the dirt in search of diamonds and other gemstones. He was carrying a bucket of mud on his way to a washbasin when he set the bucket down to switch hands and spied the 3.92-carat diamond. While most diamonds at the park are found by washing the dirt away from the rocks and stones in a washbasin, many of the larger stones have been discovered while simply walking along the paths.
The Crater of Diamonds State Park gets is name from the 83-acre funnel-shaped crater that was formed by an explosion of volcanic gases. Much of the material from the explosion fell back in the crater where years of erosion have increased the concentration of heavy minerals, including diamonds, in the crater area. Today, most of the diamonds at the Crater of Diamonds State Park are found loose in the soil as they are released from the surrounding rocks from by weather and erosion.
The State Park does what it can to help the diamond production by regularly cultivating the soil to provide “fresh” sources of diamonds for visitors. Prior to 1949, there were numerous commercial mining efforts in the area of the Crater. In 1951, the a portion of the land was leased and open to the public as the Diamond Preserve of the United States and another section opened as The Big Mine. For years, the areas competed for the public’s admission fees until the State of Arkansas purchased both properties in 1972 for $750,000 and created Crater of Diamonds State Park.