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Bedford Geodes

Indiana Rocks

Bedford Geodes

I recently was able to take some time while moving to visit my wife's parents in southern Indiana. Since I was there, I stopped in at the Evansville Lapidary Society and talked to a couple members. I had been planning a trip to Missouri to hunt for geodes, but due to bad weather in that area and the distance, had put it off. However one of the individuals there suggested going to Bedford, which is about the middle of the state. He stated that you could find geodes in streams to the south east of the city and seemed to think there would be quite a few. He also stated that so long as the stream was navigable some time during the year, it was owned by the state so we would not have to worry about trespassing. He then stated that the pile of rocks outside the club building were from that area and to take a couple to see what we would be finding.

Bedford is like all of Indiana in having been under an inland sea at one time. The primary rocks in this area are of course sedimentary and include limestone, slate, and sandstone. This is the source of the "Bedford Limestone" that was used to build the Christian Science Building in Boston. Some fossils of shells and corals occur in the slates and sandstones. The "geodes" are formed in the slate layers and are very numerous in the streams and rivers as my informant had stated. The primary form they take is a brownish jasper coating with rounded mammaliary forms inside. The outside has many knobs making them difficult to cut cleanly, and very easy to break. Some of the "geodes" are whitish quartz and may contain small quartz crystals, the better of these rattle when you shake them because of all the small sometimes perfectly formed crystals inside them. Many of them are solid lenses or spheres. Just a few may have agate centers instead of the normal jasper or quartz.

My wife and her parents went with me to go collecting, and since it was a cool day, we wore our coats. We went on I-64 to Highway 38 as that was the route suggested. Highway 38 is a very windy route through low wooded hills and small towns almost all the way to Bedford. On getting near to the city, it widens into a 4 lane road and passes over a small river. We turned off the highway once we reached Bedford and proceeded down the hill not particularly worried about where we were going, just looking for a stream to try our luck in. It seems our luck was very good, because we shortly came across a medium sized stream with parking areas near the bridge. On going down to a gravel bar in the stream, the first thing I saw was hundreds of pieces of rock simular to the ones I had seen at the rock club. Most of them were small, and a lot of them were broken open, which permitted us to determine quickly which ones would most likely contain the crystals we were wanting. We quickly filled up a 5 gallon bucket as well as two back packs with geodes. The trip was well worth going on, but as my mom stated, "it would have been better in the Summer when we would have fun wading in the water".

After that we went to a city park near the area which had a small river running through it. Sandbars in the park also contained numerous geodes, however not of the same quantity as the stream we had just been in. From what the fellow I talked to had said, most of the streams in the area must have large numbers of them. It's true, that they will be difficult to cut, but the beauty is there just the same. Plus the quantity leaves nothing to be desired. Even my mom who is not a rockhound really enjoyed herself and wants to go back herself.

James Mallonee