Are you starting to have interest in collecting rocks and minerals? Then you must be a rock hound. It may seem like a simple hobby as you simply pick up a rock and put it in your collection. Well, here are some ideas to get you started on your rock collection.
Which rock to collect
You can have a collection based on colour, shape, texture or anything that you find intriguing. Many amateur collectors of rocks and minerals try to gather all the related rocks from their area. Others search for unique rocks from the areas they visit. Eventually, as your collection and interest grow, you can begin to learn more about various rock classes.
Where to look for rocks
You can start looking for rocks in your own backyard or neighbourhood. Places to look for rocks are stream beds or lands of erosion which you may have chances of finding unusual rocks.
Places like quarries, ditches, road cuts and construction sites are also places where you can find interesting rocks. However, you will have to be very careful when visiting those sites. Also, make sure an adult knows where you are going.
Avoid state parks, national parks or national monuments as your spots to find rocks as it is often illegal to collect rocks at these places. Remember to ask for permission from the landowner if you are looking for rocks on private property.
Basic tools for rock hunting
The basic tools of any rock collector are magnifying glass and geologist’s hammer or rock pick. Wear safety glasses whenever you use the rock pick for splitting and breaking rocks. It protects you from the sharp chips that might fly and damage your eyes. Other useful equipment to have when rock hunting includes gloves, newspaper to wrap rocks, labels and a felt-tip marker.
It is helpful to record the details of your find in a field notebook. Note the rocks you collected and when and where you found it. Place a temporary label with a piece of tape and attach it to your rock.
Rocks do not really need specialised treatment. You can clean them in cold water and an old toothbrush is enough to use for gentle cleaning. You can use egg cartons and shoeboxes to store the rocks you collect. Use a decorative glass jar if you want to display your rock collection. Also, cases with individual compartments and transparent lids can be great rock containers that you can display.