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
< < < The entrance to the Geological Center & Visitor Center. Inside, in addition to the agate and geological display, is a nature store/bookstore and the usual state park visitor center facilities.
There are hundreds of agates, gemstones, and rocks on display plus interesting exhibits on the geological history of the region. > > >
There is a nice general exhibit of -innesota 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 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 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 an eyeball agate, a rare and beautiful find. This specimen has been polished to better show its beauty. (the white specs are reflections from the glass of the display case).
Here's a picture of another beautiful, polished agate specimen > > >
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.
Agate Hunting Made Easy: How to Really Find Lake Superior Agates
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.
Rock Pickers Guide to
Lake Superior's North Shore
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.
Agates: Treasures of the Earth
Roger Pabian, professor emeritus at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and his fellow authors provide an informative guide to finding and collecting agates.
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