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Digging for Diamonds

MURFREESBORO, Ark.-One hundred million years ago, a volcano exploded in Arkansas, leaving behind a legacy of diamonds.

Deep within the earth, gems were formed and were carried to the surface through lava. Now visitors from all over the world tromp to the crater to comb through the 37 1/2 acres of plowed land in the Crater of Diamonds State Park in Southwest Arkansas.

With the exception of a small visitor's fee, the park is the only public mining field in the world where people can search all day and keep whatever gems they find, regardless of value.

"We can't promise visitors a diamond, but we can guarantee them quality family time and a unique experience with nature," said Bill Henderson, assistant superintendent of the park.

The Crater of Diamonds State Park has recently undergone many enhancements for the enjoyment of park visitors.

The latest addition is a 3,900-square-foot Diamond Discovery Center that will serve as a gateway to the park's diamond search area.

"The new facility will enhance the total experience of diamond hunting. The building is more customer friendly," said Bill Henderson, assistant superintendent of the park.

The Discovery Center is designed to add to the visitor experience at the park by helping people understand diamonds and how to search for them. Exhibits include the diamond hunters' hall of fame and features information about the notable diamonds that have been unearthed at the crater.

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