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Rock hounding is a hobby of collecting rocks and minerals. If you want to become a rock hounder then you will need the right tools and you need to know how to identify the rocks and minerals.


Here are some tool's you will need for rock hounding; a good rock hammer, a good crack hammer of about 3 to 5 inches, a rock chisel, a pair of safety glasses to protect your eyes from rocks, a bag to put your specimens in, a bottle of water so that you don't get dehydrated, a squeeze bottle with water in it to wet your specimens and identify it better, a small brush or an old toothbrush to get some of the dirt off of your specimens to identify it better, a whisk broom, a set of screens for separating the dirt from the specimens and a compass or map so that you don't get lost. Also it may be a good idea to take some extra parts like fan belts, radiator hoses and duck tape.


Now about the rocks, the rocks form in three different categories.


Igneous: rocks are formed when hot magma comes from volcanoes and is rapidly cooled by hitting underground air pockets or by flowing from the mouth of the volcano, as lava, obsidian and granite are both common examples of igneous rocks.


Sedimentary: rocks are formed by layers of earth being mixed and compressed together for long periods of time, limestone and sandstone are both common examples of sedimentary rocks.


Metamorphic: rocks are formed by a combination of rock types compressed together by high pressure, which gives them more of a hard grainy texture than the other two types. Schist and slate are both common examples of metamorphic.


Remember when rock hounding on private land, you must ask the owner of the land for permission. If you are going to go way out in the wilderness and rock hound then you will want to take a good radio or cell phone (in many places in the wilderness a cell phone won't work) and most importantly make sure you have a truck or car in top condition.


Another option for rock hounding is Privately owned rock hounding or mining sites available many states. Private mines are places that rocks may be dug from beds of proven quality. If you don't care about digging up rocks then go to the many commercial rock shops where you can buy rock from any stage from freshly dug to finished jewelry.


Examples of states known for their rocks and minerals are New Mexico is good for thunder eggs, AKA geodes. Thunder eggs look like muddy rocks and can contain valuable crystals such as amethyst, rose quartz and hematite, to tell the deference from a geode and a regular rock is to look for a spherical external shape often a cauliflower like texture in the inside, you might need a rock hammer or a chisel to crack the geode open. Nevada is good for Turquoise. When hunting for turquoise look for blue-green gems. Also Nevada is good for fire Opals and so is Oregon. California is good for Gold and Jade. The best way to find jade is to look for it under water, it has almost a luminescent color. And the best time to go dive and look for Jade is during the calm period after a winter storm. But you don't have to be a diver to hunt for jades you can find lots of small Jades at low tide between the boulders and in piles of gravel along the shore. Arkansas is a good place for Diamonds and North Carolina is a good place for Emeralds. You can try going to Emerald hollow mine located in Hiddenite North Carolina, this is the only emerald mine in the US but it is open to the public for prospecting. Amateur rock hounders can take educational field trips to learn more about emeralds there and emerald hollow is open all year except for Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve.

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