What is Rockhounding

What is Rockhounding

by Ritika

Rockhounding refers to the activity of collection of minerals and rocks from nature. The persons carrying out the activity of rockhounding are termed rock hounders or prospectors.

Rockhounding refers to the activity of collection of minerals and rocks from nature. The persons carrying out the activity of rockhounding are termed rock hounders or prospectors.

Rockhounders, during the process of rockhounding carry out various activities. Some of the vital activities performed by rockhounders are:

  • Collecting Fossils
  • Collecting specimens of specific minerals
  • Taking steps to gather specimens and specialize in certain rock types, like volcanic rocks or meteorites.
  • Selecting and gathering natural stones
  • Collecting crystals

Who can be Rockhounders?

Rock and CrystalsThe above various activities are done by rockhounders as a hobby and are generally carried out by mineralogists who enjoy collecting interesting rocks and minerals. Rockhounders could include casual collectors who pick up rocks and minerals casually that catch their eye and also people who seriously collect rock and mineral samples present in their country and carry out research on the same.

Benefits of Rockhounding

Rockhounding can be carried out in all places where natural formations of fascinating and valuable minerals are present. There are numerous benefits and advantages of rockhounding. Some of the vital benefits to mention among these are:

  • Rockhounding helps to identify and study about perfectly formed crystal and minerals which could also result in discovery of new facts and studies from these
  • The process of rockhounding helps rockhounders accumulate a collection of different varieties of rocks and minerals that creates interest among their friends and related rockhounding groups.
  • The study of rocks and minerals in rockhounding helps rockhounders to get an in depth insight on the history of the Earth.

Steps to be followed in Rockhounding

Gain Knowledge about Rocks and Minerals:

Rockhounders must take essential steps to acquire the basic understanding about rocks and minerals before opting for rockhounding. This would help them finish the process more efficiently and effectively and with more clarity. To gain a basic idea and knowledge about rocks and minerals, rockhounders can join in rockhounders groups present in their area, can carry out internet searches about minerals and rocks of their interest and could also try joining a geology class. All these steps would help rockhounders classify rocks and minerals easily.

Safety Measures:

It is vital to take essential safety measures when going rockhounding. This is because rockhounding generally requires traveling and hiking to remote places. So while hiking to such areas one must take essential steps for safety. Some of them to mention in this direction are:

  • Rockhounders must take essential items like water for drinking, vital safety medicines.
  • It is always wiser to carry out the process of rockhounding in groups instead of going solo.
  • Rockhounders must take safety measures to protect their body. One of the fundamental measures to mention in this direction is the use of safety goggles. Rockhounding involves breaking small stones or rocks and so the use of safety goggles would help rockhounders protect their eyes. Rockhounders must also make it a practice to use masks to safeguard from dust and pollution that would otherwise harm their lungs.

Source of Knowledge:

The Chambers of Commerce present in the respective areas of rockhounding would give sufficient knowledge for rockhounders. Books and guides related to rockhounding can be referred to at bookstores and libraries which would help rockhounders gather enormous knowledge about their minerals and rocks of interest and also about the areas of rockhounding. Rockhounders must also join in gem clubs and groups related to rockhounding present in their areas which would help them to learn and share ideas. Rockhounders could meet many experienced and life long hunters in these gem clubs which would help them to learn the tricks of the trade. There are some rock and gem clubs that also organize field trips which would take rockhounders in groups to locations and teach them about various aspects of rockhounding. All, these steps would help them gain sufficient knowledge to carry on rockhounding efficiently.

Field Guide:

Rockhounders may start rockhounding by referring to a field guide which would help them identify rocks and minerals easily and efficiently. Carrying a related rockhounding book of less weight would help rockhounders to refer to when in need.

Tools for Rockhounding:

Going for rockhounding without tools also could be done. But if one carries some essential tools during rockhounding it would make their process easier. Some of the essential tools to be carried during rockhounding are rock saws and polishers, rock hammers (which help rockhounders dig out specimens easily) and hand lens that help rockhounders get a closer look for easy identification of rocks.

Selecting Sites for Rockhounding:

Rockhounders need to make a proper study for selecting the site for rockhounding. There are also free dig sites and paid sites for rockhounding. In these sites sometimes rockhounders can find attendants to answer their questions.

Rules and Regulations:

It is also vital that rockhounders know the rules and regulations before carrying out the process of rockhounding. Rockhounders must take steps to know the rules and regulations of the area they have planned before starting to head for rockhounding process. This step is vital because there are various government agencies that have placed rules about rock collecting in their respective areas which otherwise would result in destruction of nature. Rockhounders must know the rules before proceeding for rockhounding as this would help them know the kind of specimens and the volume they are allowed to collect from the respective areas of rockhounding.

It takes time and practice to gain experience in rockhounding and so rockhounders must practice rockhounding consistently. Rockhounding in short, is a casual process that involves collection of different specimens of minerals and rocks both for hobbyists and mineralogists for research and discovery of new facts.