Where To Find Rocks
(Where to Find Rocks)
In the great interior plains and lowlands of the United States, a wide variety of sedimentary rocks are exposed. Igneous and metamorphic rocks are widespread in the mountains and piedmont areas of New England, the Appalachians, the Western Cordillera, and scattered interior hill lands; igneous rocks make up almost all the land of Hawaii. Along the Atlantic and Gulf Coastal Plains, loose and unconsolidated rocks are widespread.
The best collecting sites are quarries, road cuts or natural cliffs, and outcrops. Open fields and level country are poor places. Hills and steep slopes are better sites.
Housing arrangements can be very simple because rocks are durable and do not require special treatment. Shoe boxes and corrugated cardboard boxes are often used. Ordinary egg cartons can be used if the specimens are rather small. Shallow wall cases for rock collections are available commercially.
It is important to have a careful system of permanent labeling so that specimens do not get mixed up. Many people paint a small oblong of white lacquer on a corner of each specimen and paint a black number on the white oblong. The number, rock name, collector's name, date collected, description of collection site, geologic formation, geologic age, and other pertinent data are entered in a small notebook. If rocks are kept on separate trays, a small card containing some data is usually placed in the tray.
Extra specimens are sometimes used for trading with other collectors. Few people have the opportunity to obtain all varieties of rock types, and exchanging can fill gaps in a collection. Collectors interested in trading are usually located by word of mouth. No nationwide organization of rock collectors exists, though local clubs and individual collectors are found throughout the United States. It may be necessary to buy some specimens, but good specimens are expensive.
Hints for Rock Collectors
1. Label specimens as they are collected. Identification can wait until later, but the place where the rocks were found should be recorded at once. Many collections have become mixed up because the collector did not do this.
2. Trim rocks in the collection to a common size. Specimens about 3 by 4 by 2 inches are large enough to show rock features well. Other display sizes are 2 by 3 by 1 inch, or 3 by 3 by 2 inches.
3. Ask for permission to collect rocks on private property. The owners will appreciate this courtesy on your part.
4. Be careful when collecting rocks. Work with another person, if possible, and carry a first aid kit. Wear protective clothing--safety glasses, hard-toed shoes, hard hat, and gloves--when dislodging specimens. Avoid overhanging rock and the edges of steep, natural or quarried walls.
5. Do not collect rocks in national parks and monuments or in State parks; it is illegal. Similar rocks commonly crop out on land nearby.
6. Look for unusual rocks to study in large buildings or in cemeteries. Dimension stone blocks and monument stone are often transported long distances from where they are quarried. Polished stone sometimes looks different from unpolished rock. This provides good identification practice.
7. Join a mineral club or subscribe to a mineral magazine....