Written by Theresa Rose on July 13, 2017

Annually in July, Dover Historical Society plans a Sunday program featuring local history. This Sunday, July 16 at 1:30 pm. Dave Smith will be presenting  “What is in a Geode” at the Museum. Dave is going to have a particularly busy Sunday. He has just announced that he will be heading up the new Friends of Geode group for Geode State Park. He will lead the kick-off meeting on July 16th at 6:30 at the beach shelter as well as sharing his expertise at Dover Museum earlier in the day. These two presentations work well together as our entire community is concerned about the future of the park and as it is being drained and reworked.


The Geode is the State Rock. The General Assembly designated the geode as the official state rock in 1967. Because Iowa is well known for the presence of the geode, it was chosen as the official rock in an effort to promote tourism in the state. Legislators who favored making the geode the state rock pointed out that it is among the rarest and most beautiful rocks and that Iowa is known worldwide because of the large number found in the state. Other rocks considered for official status were limestone and fossil coral.


In Latin, the word “geode” means earthlike. Geodes are shaped like the earth and average about four inches in diameter. Geodes are found in limestone formations and have a hard outer shell. When carefully broken open, a sparkling lining of mineral crystals, most often quartz and calcite, is revealed. Geologists attribute the crystal growth to the percolation of groundwater in the geologic past.


Southeastern Iowa is one of the state’s best geode-collecting areas. Geode State Park in Henry County is named for the occurrence of the geode.


With the City Council’s re-adoption of New London’s designation as the “Gateway to Geode”, this is a great time to celebrate the Smith Family contribution to the study of geode geology as well as their vision of the development of the lake and park. The recent work by the DNR and the NRCS on the Geode Waterway will make a great difference in the quality of the water entering the lake. For many years the Henry County NRCS under the direction of Caleb Waters has been quietly working on identifying erodible land and placing sedimentation ponds at critical places in the Geode Watershed.


Join us and learn what is in a geode. As always, there will be time for questions. The program is free and refreshments are served. Donations are always welcome.