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As of March 3rd, 2013, I have temporarily closed my web site. It's been a long snowy winter, and supplies of most things are low or out. So until I can collect and polish more rocks I'm taking a short break.
Blushingly, Joseph

Where To Go Rockhounding

How To Find Rocks
Where Do You Find Rocks?

The simplest answer, and the most true is that rocks are found where they are found...

With that said, there are certain areas that should be checked whenever you come across them... The first is streambeds and beaches. Even if the whole rest of the countryside is covered in clay, mud, or vegetation, there will usually be a gravel bar in the river, or on the beach. Gravel bars are great, because the softer stones get worn away by the wave action, and the harder stones are left behind. The rocks in a gravel bar tend to be smoothed off already by the waves so if you are tumbling them they round up lots easier.

Streams provide a good means of prospecting for rocks, because if you find a nice type of rock in a stream bed, you can follow the stream uphill looking for the source of the rock. If a small stream has several tributaries, you can travel up each tributary and see where the stone of interest comes from. I located a petrified wood forest by this means.

Gravel bars are not necessarily located on the shores of today's waterways. There were many Pleistocene lakes and rivers that created gravel bars which have since dried up or changed course, especially in the great basin, the missoula basin, around the great lakes, and near rivers. If you have a gravel pit nearby, you might check around the neighborhood, even if you can't collect in the gravel pit itself, there might be collecting opportunities nearby.

The next best place to look for rocks is on the top of a hill, because rain tends to wash away the soil and expose more rocks, and the rocks that are left there tend to be harder and heavier than those that readily wash away, and more suitable for polishing in a rock tumbler.

Glacial moraines are a great place to look for tumbling rocks, because only the most durable stones survived the grinding action of the glacier: quartzite, agate, jasper, petrified wood. The stones in a moraine are very round. During the last ice age, glaciers covered much of the great plains, and most of the Rockies at elevations higher than 7000 feet, so there are plenty of opportunities for poking around in moraines. An easy way to spot moraines is if there are lots of very round boulders from about soccer ball size to orange box size laying around.

One of my favorite places to find rocks is in road cuts, because they are easy to get to, and easy to haul back to the truck. I have found lots of really nice rocks in road cuts: horned corral, agate, petrified wood, citrine, quartz, flint, opal, etc.

My favorite tool to use while rockhounding is a large screwdriver. It fits in my back pocket, and allows me to pry rocks out of the soil, or to do a little bit of digging if necessary.

Oh, and if possible, park your vehicle at the bottom of the collecting area. It's a lot easier to carry a bucket of rocks down the hill than up the hill.

Specific Sites

I have put together a database of some of my favorite rockhounding sites at FindARock.com. I welcome any additions you might like to make to the database.
RockTumblingSupplies.Com
97 South Main street #254
Brigham City Utah 84302

Phone: 435-237-9112           Fax: -
E-mail: joseph@RockTumblingSupplies.com

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