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    This Is How You Can Dig For Crystals In Oklahoma

    Because who doesn't like things that sparkle.

    BuzzFeed/Hannah Wong

    I’ve crissed-crossed Oklahoma many times in my approximately 26 years living in the state. I’ve seen everything from a museum dedicated to the 1996 film “Twister” to bison in the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge. Never before, though, had I been to the state’s prehistoric ocean now featuring selenite crystals. The Great Salt Plains State Park and Great Salt Plains National Wildlife Refuge are located about 50 miles northwest of Enid, in Oklahoma’s northwest corner. Great Salt Plains State Park includes a lake as well as hiking trails. But many people come for the crystal digging.

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    The site is where a prehistoric ocean was once located. It’s now covered with leftover salt. It’s about half as salty as the ocean, according to the Oklahoma Department of Tourism. Native Americans once used the area for hunting and shelter. The refuge is designated as critical whooping crane habitat for use during the fall and spring migrations.

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    In 1930, the Salt Plains National Wildlife Refuge was established as a refuge and breeding ground for birds and for use as a sanctuary for migratory birds. The nearly 33,000-acre refuge is part of the National Wildlife Refuge System.

    My friend Holly and I had been planning to visit the area for the past year, but both of our schedules kept us from making the trek. With summer vacation coming to a close for her two boys, we finally decided to head over to the other side of Oklahoma and do some digging. Here’s what to consider if you find yourself digging for crystals in the future!!

    1. Research is key!


    Do your homework. If I’m honest, I will say that this is one step I didn’t follow. Sure, I looked up the site online and knew it was only open from April 1 to Oct. 15, but I didn’t really look at past visitor experiences or consider what equipment I needed. Luckily, my friend Holly did. (She tends to save the day.) She came prepared with a large shovel, smaller shovels, a gallon of water and other essentials.

    2. Do what you can to survive the road trip.

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    Make sure you have some good music or audio books to keep you occupied on the drive. More than likely, you will be traveling to a remote location to dig for crystals, so prepare for a road trip. Holly and I can talk for hours about any and everything, so we were set, but her two boys, ages 8 and 11, brought along movies to watch on the car ride.

    3. Location, location, location.

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    Once at the site, we snapped photos of the amazing views. To me, it looked like snow-covered prairie land. We headed to the area designated for digging, which was dotted with previously dug holes and found our perfect location.

    4. Just keep digging...

    Kristi Eaton

    We dug a total of three separate holes, each about 2 feet wide by 2 feet deep and started using our hands to search for the crystals. They were smaller than we anticipated and some holes produced more than others. The crystals form in wet soil, sand and clay particles, and an hourglass-like shape often appears inside the crystal – the only place in the world where such a shape is found in selenite crystals.

    5. or maybe not.

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    While we initially searched for the crystals at the bottom of the 2-foot hole, we eventually realized that many were located closer to the rim of the surface. There, we found tiny crystal after crystal that we would wash with the gallon of water.

    6. Jackpot!

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    While the crystals we found were typically less than an inch in length, some people who dig have found crystals measuring up to 7-inches long!

    7. Don't be a rule breaker.


    No special permit is needed to dig, but there are some rules: People can remove up to 10 pounds of crystals plus one large cluster for their personal use each day, but they can’t be sold.

    8. Protect yourself!


    A few other things to consider: the heat and sun can take a toll, so consider going earlier in the day, if possible. The location is pretty remote so consider packing snacks or a lunch to stave off hunger.

    Keep these tips in mind as you ponder a visit to dig for crystals in Oklahoma and elsewhere!