Crystals and the Arkansas Mountains

Eureka Springs is home to a number of rock and gemstone shops, hearkening back to a day when it seemed every rural highway in the Ozarks and Ouachita mountains featured a number of them.

My daughter’s favorites include Crystal Waters, Magic City Crystals, and until recently the late-and-lamented Nature’s Treasures. You’ll also find selections at many other shops in and near town like chain store Earthbound Trading Company (22 S. Main) and family-owned Onyx Cave Park’s gift shop and Razorback Gift Shop and Tower.

Their popularity doubtless stems from a long association of esoteric and scientific properties as well as innate beauty, even when unpolished. There is a local legend that one lady citizen, some years ago, petitioned and was granted permission to install quartz crystals in the well of Basin Spring in its city park.

And our two mountain ranges are blessed with mineral wealth. In the Ozarks, caves with flowstone formations and onyx deposits pock the hillsides. In the Ouachitas, quartz crystals abound.

So, naturally, quartz crystals found their way into the essence of the stories in the “People of the Waters” Cycle. They help the People of the Waters recognize each other, perfectly clarify their memories of the past, even distinguish between helpful and harmful waters.

This article describes a four-ton quartz formation of record size that was mined in the Ouachita Mountains (south of the Ozarks in Arkansas), and now on display at the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum of Natural History.

The museum’s new natural quartz weighs a whopping 8,000 pounds. It was found in an Arkansas mine in 2016, making it a quintessential American mineral specimen. James Di Loreto, Smithsonian Institution
Quartz crystal at the bottom of Basin Spring’s well at Basin Park in Eureka Springs, Arkansas.

About W. Keith Brenton

W. Keith Brenton is a retired communication specialist, minister and passenger train conductor, living and writing in the historic resort village Eureka Springs, Arkansas. He is the widowed adoptive dad of Matt and Laura, and Pop-Pop to one grandchild. He enjoys drinking the local water, but unfortunately doesn’t look any younger than his actual age.
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