Also Books we recommend for Agate Hunting and Beach Rock Collecting.
Rock hunters and agate collectors traveling around Lake Superior should consider taking a slight side trip (on Interstate 35) about 36 miles south of Duluth, Mn to see the very impressive Lake Superior Agate collection and rock displays at the interpretive center located with the Moose Lake Park Visitor Center. If you have a annual state park pass or a pass for the day from visiting another minnesota state park, admission to the Geological Center is free; otherwise there is a modest admission charge (in my opinion worth the fee if you are interested in agates).
Agate & Geological Center
There are hundreds of agates, gemstones, and rocks on display plus interesting exhibits on the geological history of the region. > > >
< < < The agate collectors "Wall of Fame" shows some amateur collectors and their finds. Although we enjoy combing Lake Superior beaches in hopes of finding an agate, many collectors find scrounging around old (or new) rock quarries more productive. In Minnesota, the geological formations that contain Lake Superior agates stretch far from the current shoreline of Big Gitche Gumee.
There is a nice general exhibit of Minnesota and Lake Superior rock types as well as information of their origins. Here's a close-up of Gabbro, an igneous rock similar to Granite. > > >
< < < Here's an even better close-up view of that same rock for Rock Hounds who have had trouble distinguishing it from Granite. The large black crystals of biotite are more predominant in Gabbro than they usually are in Granite. The white and white-grey translucent crystals are plagioclase. The clear and more transparent crystals are quartz.
Granite, while also containing some of the same crystals as Gabbro, is generally lighter in overall color and more likely to contain shades of different colors - pinks, reds, yellows.
Here's a pretty ugly rock that has been cut open to reveal it is an agate on the inside!
Here's another agate with a "pretty face" and a "plain face."
The pit marked, and generally unattractive, husk of a Lake Superior beach agate often disguises what may be on the other side or the inside. The husk is usually rougher, with pit mark impressions, than its neighbors.
Several of the Agate Hunting Books we recommend (see bottom of the page) have numerous pictures of agates in the rough . . . which rock pickers and agate hunters need to learn because the polished ones we often see in shops and pictures don't often occur in nature looking like that.
Here's a picture of another beautiful, polished agate specimen > > >
My first Lake Superior Agate
Go Here to see my Agate. It is part way down the page near the bottom of the page. Also check out some very nice agate images of Lake Superior Agate specimens found by Jeff King.
Rock Hounds Links: More Agate and Beach Rock Pages
Lake Superior Agates from the Minnesota Agate Museum (you are here)
Books on Lake Superior Agate Hunting & Rock Picking
Recommended by a SuperiorTrails friend & rock hound, this new guide has actual photographs of various rocks and minerals found on Lake Superior beaches. Co-author Bob Lynch is owner of Agate City Rocks and Gifts in Two Harbors Minnesota
Karen Brzys. Director, Gitchee Gumee Agate & History Museum, is an experienced beach comber and agate collector. This is the most comprehensive book I've found on identifying and collecting agates. Most helpful has been the guidance on identifying agates-in-the-rough. [More Info]
This is required handbook for rock pickers who love to comb Lake Superior beaches looking for pretty rocks and hoping to find an agate. Identifies some of the UP's best rock picking beaches.
Here is another book recommended by a Superior Trails reader and rock hound who was able to identify over 50 rocks found on the beach using this guide by Kevin Gauthier and Bruce Mueller. Also included are tips for polishing the stones and rock. Kevin and Bruce also publish a similar guide for Lake Michigan rocks.
My wife Jo found this agate hunters book while traveling in the UP and thought it would help her find her first Lake Superior Agate. It is full of tips for agate hunting (and rock picking) and has some very good color photographs of a number of agate variations as well as photos of the other kinds of rocks you'll find on Lake Superior beaches.
Sparky's guide covers what north shore beaches to comb, a bit of history on the formation of the various rocks found on beaches, and helpful information and pictures on identifying beach rocks and minerals.
Roger Pabian, professor emeritus at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and his fellow authors provide an informative guide to finding and collecting agates.
Continuing your Travel & Trekking
Around Lake Superior
Superior Trails Lake Superior Circle Tour
SuperiorTrails.com - Reinhold Development - 2015
See photos and information on the Bentleyville Duluth, MN Holiday Lights Village.
Enjoying lake breezes and views at the Canal Park Brewery Beer Garden - Canal Park.
Tall Ships Duluth Festival returns in August, 2016.
Follow our Hunt for the
Best Burgers & Pubs in Duluth, Minnesota.