Rockhounding in California

Rockhounding in California

by Ritika

California is abundant with geological forces where mineralogists and gemologists can rockhound for the largest variety of rocks and minerals. The rock and mineral wealth of California has made California the most interesting and one of the oft visited places for rockhounders.

California is abundant with geological forces where mineralogists and gemologists can rockhound for the largest variety of rocks and minerals. The rock and mineral wealth of California has made California the most interesting and one of the oft visited places for rockhounders.

Desert of California Visited by Various Rockhounders

RockhounderThe place is visited by all types of rockhounders like rockhounders hunting for rare and precious minerals which are used for commercial purposes as well as rockhounders who rockhound as a hobby and for hunting beautiful rocks and minerals. In earlier days that are before 1930 the desert of California was visited for rockhounding for commercial interests. However, after 1930 the interest for rockhounding increased among people that resulted in the formation of rockhounding groups and rockhounders began to make group visits to the desert of California even for recreational purposes.

The Reason for Rules and Regulations while Rockhounding in Desert of California

In earlier days there were no government laws laid on the rockhounding areas of the desert of California. However, as the rockhounders’ visits to the desert of California for rockhounding increased, it resulted in substantial amounts of rocks and minerals being removed by certain people alone. This action of rockhounders compelled the government of California by 1960 to lay rules and regulations for rockhounding activities in the desert of California.

Source of Information for Rockhounding in Desert of California

There are various places where rockhounders can carry out their rockhounding activities in the desert of California as per their preferences of rocks and minerals. For knowing more about the places for rockhounding in the desert of California there are various sources and methods. Some of the vital ones among these are:

  • Groups for Rocks, Gems, and Minerals: Rockhounders can join any of the gem, rock, and mineral groups present throughout southern California. Rockhounders can make initial studies about the rock, gem, and mineral groups before joining and join the groups that match their interest in gems, rocks or minerals. Via this rockhounders can get rockhounding advice from experienced rockhounders and these communities also arrange group visits to various places in the desert of California.
  • Libraries and Bookstores: Rockhounders can gather abundant amount of knowledge by visiting bookstores, libraries and “gem and mineral shows”. This would help them to gather various new sources of information and knowledge which they can use during their rockhounding in the desert of California.

Rules and Regulation for Rockhounding in the Desert of California:

Some of the vital rules and regulations laid by the government in the interest of the public and natural preservation which rockhounders need to follow while rockhounding in the desert of California are:

  • As stated the Code of Federal Regulations laid by the government of California, only reasonable quantities of rocks, minerals, semiprecious gemstones can be taken by a rockhounder as the source has to be available for all rockhounders without any disturbance.
  • In the above, the reasonable quantity as stated by field Office of California refers to not more than that can be easily held in a daypack by any rockhounder.
  • California government has also laid rules which do not allow rockhounding on developed recreation sites and areas.
  • Collection of petrified wood during rockhounding is allowed only if it is for non-commercial purposes and that also is allowed only from public lands with a limit of 25 pounds allowed for each rockhounder.
  • Rockhounders must get paleontological permit if they want to collect vertebrate fossils at the desert of California which otherwise would be considered as illegal and may result in a fine and imprisonment.
  • The collection of ovate bifaces, cores, flakes, and all other material worked by prehistoric cultures present in public lands is not allowed as stated by the Antiquities Act of 1906.
  • A separate publication named “Discovery, Location, Recordation, and Assessment Work for Mining Claims in California” gives useful guidance for mining claims while rockhounding in the desert of California.
  • Rockhounders can collect rocks for decorative rocks in reasonable quantity which means quantity that can be taken away in the trunk of any car is allowed for each rockhounder.

So it is vital that rockhounders, before making their rockhounding trip to the desert of California must make essential study and gather information on whether the rockhounding site is open for collection.

Vital Places for Rockhounding in the desert of California:

There are various places for rockhounding in the desert of California for rockhounders as per their preferences for collecting minerals and precious gemstones. Some of the popular and most visited rockhounding sites in the desert of California are:

    • Amboy Crater National Natural Landmark (BLM Public Land):

This place is best suited for rock collecting rockhounders. This is 250 feet high and 1,500 feet in diameter which is located in the Barstow-Bristol trough. This rockhounding site in California is a public land managed by the Bureau of Land Management.

  • Clipper Mountain Wilderness (BLM Public Land):

This is a small cluster of volcanic mountains which covers a wide area from northeast to southwest.

  • Turtle Mountains Wilderness (BLM Public Land):

This is the most visited place for quartz rockhounding which is technically termed as a best place for chalcedony and also for rockhounders who rockhound as a hobby.

  • Wiley’s Well Rockhounding District:

Wiley’s Well Rockhounding District is located in the northeastern part of the Colorado Desert in southern California. This rockhounding site is the most popularly visited site by many rockhounders for rock-collecting. Here, some of the important rockhounding sites to mention are Hauser Geode Beds and Opal Hill Mine. Wiley’s Well District in the Colorado Desert at southern California is rich in jasper, agate, and geodes.

The desert of California is the most visited place by rockhounders as it is abundant with minerals, rocks and rare and precious stones. Rockhounders must take care to travel in a group and also carry vital essential things in hand like drinking water while rockhounding. Some rockhounding sites require hiking and so proper care must be taken while rockhounding to these sites. All these steps will ensure that the rockhounding trip to desert of California is a remarkable and profitable one.

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