Remember This? Rock collecting

Dorri Partain
Contributor


Canyons, valleys, mountains or glaciers, the “world’s largest rock collection” is on display at America’s National Parks.


Whether you’re a professional geologist or an amateur rockhound, there are hundreds of varieties of rocks, ores, and minerals to view and identify. Collectors have multiple sources to learn about identification such as this textbook for children, “The First Book of Stones” published in 1950 by Franklin Watts, Inc. Author M.B. Cormack explains the formation of rocks while directing children to visit construction sites and stone masons to search for rocks and ask questions about where the stones came from.


Rocks that are already identified can be purchased, and then used to identify similar rocks. This collection of 15 samples includes chucks of copper, gold, and uranium ores. The lid lists the hardness and color variations, as well as industrial uses of each sample.


Inside Glacier National Park, the geologic formations are comprised of argillite, quartzite,


limestone and dolomite in sedimentary layers, formed over millions of years. Park Rangers and the National Park website, nps.gov, are other great resources for identifying rocks and the many formatations park visitors enjoy.


Technology has provided many websites and apps to help with rock identification. Tablet and smartphone users can simply snap a photo of the rock they want to identify and even create a digital collection of their finds.


While collectors may be tempted to slip a pretty rock into their pocket or backpack as a park souvenir, the National Park Service has implemented a program, Leave No Trace Behind, aimed at keeping the natural beauty of America’s parks in place for future generations. Collecting samples, stacking or moving rocks is prohibited and visitors caught doing so may be ticketed and fined.

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