Missing: The Largest Geode in Iowa

I love geodes, they are the Official State Rock of Iowa. They’re quite common here (as these things go). I even have a few nice specimens of geodes sitting on my mantle for display. I’m currently on a hunt for the largest geode ever found in Iowa, it has gone missing and I may be the only person that even remembers it existed.

I remember back in the early 1970s, the University of Iowa Geology Department had a huge geode on display in front of their building, along with a bronze plaque declaring it the Largest Geode Ever Found In Iowa, and the date and place of its discovery. The geode was about 4 feet in diameter, and a chunk had been knocked out of the front so you could see the smoky grey quartz crystals inside. Most of the crystals were as large as your fist and came to very sharp points. The geode, as displayed, was quite similar in shape to a chair. So it used to be a freshman tradition to have yourself photographed sitting in the geode. Sophomores who enticed people into a sitting portrait already knew the trick, you brought a few sheets of cardboard to sit on, to prevent your butt from being pierced.

But the Geology building was moved in the 1970s. I don’t mean the department was moved to another building, the entire building was moved across the street. And the geode was in the path. It was removed for the duration of the relocation project, and has not been seen since that time. No trace of its existence has been found, except for my memories.

I have spent years trying to track down the geode, it is a historic artifact, and probably worth a substantial amount of money. It is worth restoring to its proper place. But I have been unable to find anyone who even remembers the geode, let alone knows where it went. I went to the Geology Department and spoke to the oldest staff members who might have worked in the old building, but still nobody remembers it. I thought I might have found it when an old geologist told me where they dumped a group of large rock specimens right behind the new building. I inspected the site, but there was no massive geode.

So the trail has gone cold. If there is anyone who remembers this geode monument, or knows where it has gone, please contact me. You can leave a comment here on this blog entry. You will be doing me (and all Iowans) a great service.

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