Purple Obsidian from Glass Butte

Glass Butte is a can’t-lose place for rockhounding. Look down and you’ll find something.

It features some uncommon obsidian varieties: fire, rainbow, aurora, sheens, midnight lace, mahogany – and a ton more depending on who you talk to.

This one doesn’t have a name.

In hand, it looks like purple glass. With good lighting, you can see the reddish-pink swirls.

Obsidian is fun because you can see the movements of molten rock and earth as it spilled across the landscape. Waves, bubbles, peaks of flowing glass were frozen in time. And, with this small piece, you can see that little plume forever locked in clear glass.

Glass Butte is just over an hour east of Bend. While this is one of the easier rockhounding sites to visit, the dirt road can become rutted or uneven. Obsidian is glass, so take care driving around brick sized obsidian and bring gloves for handling sharp pieces.
This site is great for kids and you can usually get away with a well-behaved dog sticking close by, but it is a popular place and others may be just over the hill from you.
I’d recommend just going and having fun your first time out. If you’d like to hunt for specific varieties, there are maps online and the Central Oregon Rock Club has many knowledgeable members on Facebook willing to share their favorite spots.
As always, bring lots of water!
Eric Lint

Eric Lint