Central Oregon is the land of the thunderegg rock hunting and a natural magnet to rockhounds. Chances are that if you are planning a trip there, you already know that. But you might want to add a location to your list: search for colorful jasper thundereggs at White Fir Springs. ABOVE: Yellow-red jasper thunderegg slice […]

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Rock Hunting: Do You Have Petrified Wood Fever?

Petrified wood proved to be an early collector’s gateway from fossils to minerals. In the lowlands of New Jersey there were many more opportunities to find fossils than minerals. Initially these were mostly small fossil molds of shells and crinoids. All in all a fun variety of ancient creatures for grade school specimen boxes, but […]

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Rock Hunting: Vanadinite Mineral Mystery

Collecting minerals is one way of connecting to a time long past. Minerals belong to geologic time. Deep time. Time measured not in years, but in millions of years. Every now and then, however, a specimen allows us to connect to our own more recent history, to a time when humans were around. Sometimes it […]

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The dredge spoil piles along the C&D (Chesapeake and Delaware) Canal in Delaware are the definition of a classic fossil collecting location. Generations of fossil collectors have picked through these piles and collected untold numbers of Cretaceous fossils. All of this may not be fully appreciated at your first glance of the overgrown, phragmites covered […]

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Rock Hunting: Why is Jasper Underrated?

Jasper is one of the most common and commonly under-appreciated gem materials available, which is odd for such a remarkable stone. This stone has a stunning selection of colors and varieties worldwide with plain, banded, brecciated, and orbicular forms in colors of red, yellow, brown, pink, and green. It even has evocative names such as scenic […]

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Rock Hunting Galena, a Heavy Metal

Personally, I think Galena would be a great name for a heavy metal band. Of course, that’s in a perfect world where more than geologists and rock hounds would get the joke. Galena is a sulfide mineral and the most common mineral ore of lead. There are certainly other types of lead minerals. An early […]

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Rock Hunting: Polish Your Finds in a Rock Tumbler

Anyone getting into lapidary work almost invariably starts with a rock tumbler. Often, it’s one of those plastic barrel tumblers found in toy stores and marked “Scientific!” for wannabe nerd kids like myself. Plug them in and they roar to life suddenly as the rough stones beat against the unpadded plastic barrel sides. Kits like […]

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Rock Hunting: Minerals are Out There

“There’s nothing left to collect.” Those are the first words I wrote for the book Gem Trails of Pennsylvania and New Jersey, with co-author Karenne Snow. A longer time has passed since I wrote those words than I like to admit, but the reason for writing them remains the same. It is a lament I […]

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