Complete guide for Rockhounds

Complete guide for Rockhounds

by Ritika

Here is a bird's eye view on the ever-popular hobbies of the Americans - Rock hounding. The aim of this article has been to throw light on the various important aspects of rock hounding like the seasons and time that are best suitable for rock hounding, cost, tools and equipments required for rock hounding, a peek into the history of rock hounding and last but definitely not the least, some of the major regional attractions for rock hounding. We aim at providing our readers a set of guidelines for safe, legal and responsible rock hounding. The tips provided here may be greatly helpful for our rock hounders to ensure they have successful outings.

Summary: Here is a bird's eye view on the ever-popular hobbies of the Americans - Rock hounding. The aim of this article has been to throw light on the various important aspects of rock hounding like the seasons and time that are best suitable for rock hounding, cost, tools and equipments required for rock hounding, a peek into the history of rock hounding and last but definitely not the least, some of the major regional attractions for rock hounding. We aim at providing our readers a set of guidelines for safe, legal and responsible rock hounding. The tips provided here may be greatly helpful for our rock hounders to ensure they have successful outings.

OVERVIEW


Rockhounding toolsAs you all may be aware, Rockhounding refers to the fascinating treasure hunt and recreational collecting of rocks and or minerals from their natural environment. Rock hounding can be your greatest excuse for playing with nature in a harmless manner. There are several ways that one can resort to rock hounding. Some collectors go in search of certain types rocks like volcanic rocks or meteorites. Others collect fossils or mineral specimens. There is also gold planning or prospecting of gold. Apart from gold minerals, gems and precious and semi-precious stones are all hot pursuits of rock hounders.

If we trace the early history or rockhounding, we find that some of the early rockhounders were prospectors who were on the search for precious minerals and gemstones that can be used commercially. However, as time passed, more and more people have taken to rock hounding as a recreational pass-time as they have been inspired greatly by the beauty that the rocks and minerals provide.

Whether you are an experienced and trained rockhound or prospector, there can be no doubt that loads of fun, adventure and may be various hidden treasures are in store for you. However, prior to embarking upon such adventures, it is important that you are equipped with the right information and accessories. Learning a lot about petrology, the study that would help you gain knowledge of the various rock forms and the conditions on which they form, would be of immense help to any rock hound. Apart from petrology, an in-depth knowledge of geology would also be of immense value in rock hounding.

Much of world's famous rock hounding takes place in the United States, especially in cities like Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. Most of these states have an abundance of minerals, precious and semi-precious stones in their mountains.

The most common materials that are being sought after by rock hounds are:

* Agate
* Jasper
* Limb Casts
* Obsidian
* Petrified Wood
* Thunder Eggs


All these materials have formed as a result of processes that are at least a thousand years old. For instance in Oregon, millions of years ago various volcanoes that erupted in the region of Central Oregon led to volcanic ash being deposited on the steep slopes that mixed with the tropical rains and created mud flows that swept across the landscape devouring plants and animals and storing them inside as fossils.

Similarly, in Washington a continuous phase of volcanic eruptions that resulted in the oceanic plate being submerged under water along with water rich rocks under the continental plate. Since lava rocks and ash have rich silica content, this gives a good chance for agate formation in the area. This action has resulted in some of the finest agate reserves in the area including the well-known Ellensburg Blue Agate.

IMPORTANT REGULATIONS TO FOLLOW WHILE ROCK HOUNDING


Prior to choosing any site for rock hounding, there are various important points to remember. They are:

* The rock hound should determine if the site selected is located within the National Forest Land.
* It is important to find out if rockhounding is legally permitted in the area
* The rock hound should also find out if the mineral rights in the site are privately owned. The above information will be available with the local District Ranger Offices.
* Semi-precious stones, mineral specimens and common invertebrate fossils can be collected from public lands in reasonable quantities for personal use.
* Vertebrate fossils can be collected only with requisite permits.
* Collection of rock materials for commercial use is prohibited.
* No mechanized tools or explosives can be used during rock hounding. Only shovels, picks, chisels, rock hammers and crowbars are allowed.
* Most importantly, every rock hound must solemnly adhere to the Rock hound's Code of Ethics to ensure that the entire rock hounding experience is a pleasant and memorable one for everyone involved in the adventure.

ROCKHOUNDING TOOLS AND SUPPLIES:


There are thousands of rock hounding accessories and tools in the market. All rock hounders must ensure that they are well equipped with the best and safest rock hounding equipments. The rock hounding kit must possess essentials like probes, digging tools, rock hammers band crevice tools. Various modern rock hounding tools are available like the Rock pick, which has a hammer on one end and a sharp pointed pick at the other, making it suitable for freeing specimens, busting rocks and digging in the dirt.

All rock hounders must possess a map of the desirable location that is highly informative and provides accurate details about the minerals and rocks available in the site. Various pocket guides to rock hounding are available in the market that throw an ocean of light on the various aspects of rock hounding like fossil search, mineral hunting, gem search and gold are prospecting.

By following the above mentioned guidelines we assure you that your journey through the various blazing deserts, winding rivers and various geologic wonders would create one of best and most fruitful rock hounding adventures you have ever had. It would also kindle your interest in this search for the untouched treasures of Mother Earth and motivate you to venture out to those out-of-the-way places. Happy Rock Hounding!!
 
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