Great Salt Plains Lake, Oklahoma

January 16, 2024


Photographer: Missie Olson
Summary Author: Missie Olson 

In the state of Oklahoma, located in the middle of the continental United States, lies the remnants of an ancient inland sea, the Great Salt Plains Lake. On the shores of this ancient lake, a great salt pan formed with salt crystals that have an unusual structure. It seems that only in this area do selenite crystals, a crystalline form of gypsum, have a unique hourglass structure with inclusions of sand, clay, silt, or even bones.

Each year from April 1st through October 15th, portions of the Salt Plains National Wildlife Refuge are open for public crystal digging. This refuge is primarily managed as a breeding ground for bird species, including the endangered least tern. Photo taken on July 23, 2023.

Great Salt Plains Selenite Digging Area, Oklahoma Coordinates: 36.722676, -98.276233

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