Beyond Books

It was recently recommended on an FB page that I read some field guides on rock and mineral ID. This was in response to some specific observations I made with material I had collected and with reference specimens I had bought. The suggester offered no further advice or any response to my observations which he didn’t read through. At least five people gave him a thumbs up. That’s extremely discouraging when all I was trying to do was help.

Well, I have a few books. Quite a lot, actually. But you have to go beyond books to learn more. You can’t teach a geology course without lab work or field trips. Books are fine but rocks and minerals and prospecting are also hands on.

To make specific, this poster stated that, among other things, that some sedimentary rocks do not fizz under acid. But he didn’t tell me which ones. Nothing of his personal experience with this, just an admonition to read some books. None of the books I have read list the sedimentary rocks that do not respond. I was trying to learn, not sure what he was trying to do. I was sharing my experiences and observations, he was sharing nothing but negativity.

This is a look at part of my reference collection of over two hundred rock types and various minerals. They are mostly hand or teaching specimen size. All labeled in detail. At any time I can pull something out to test or experiment it using my hardness picks, my acid, my metal detectors, my UV lamps, my black and white streak plates, my super magnet, my microscope, or my geiger counters. No, I don’t have something for specific gravity. I’m working on that. If I can’t identify something complex, which is too often the case, I send it on for lab results. I’m not a know-it-all, I am trying to be a know-it-all.

As a footnote, I’ve quit that group. This is the second major rock related group I have quit in the last year. If you think I can help you, give me an e-mail. I may not have the right answer but I will try to help. Without insulting you.



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The Drill

The Drill. Checking my recent road trip finds with my Geiger counter, handheld metal detector, and my two UV lamps. Just to see if anything else is going on besides the reasons I originally picked them up.

One piece under shortwave fluoresces a nice green. May have found some common opal. This was on my last stop, when I pulled off the highway on a whim to walk the desert floor. At first I thought it was an agate because one side displays a translucent quality along with a wavy banding. When I got home, though, with my tools, I remembered I had seen something like it.

That piece matches the color, luster and the fluorescence of Arizona opal I recently got in trade from rock and mineral dealer Rolf Luetcke. Although simply white, the rock comes alive under shortwave UV. Not the intensity or brightness of Rolf’s piece, that material is top-notch, but the exact same color under the lamp.

Update: Not opal. A steel nail doesn’t scratch it, but a nail scratches the opal Rolf supplied. The piece must be chalcedony or agate, or whatever you want to call cryptocrystalline quartz. Hmm. What are the odds that I would find something that looks exactly like something else and fluoresces just like it as well. At least I know a place to search for fluorescent agates. The agates I have don’t fluoresce, certainly nothing green.