One of my goals for summer camp was sharpening my skills at identifying and understanding rocks and minerals.
I started by reading ‘Rocks and Minerals’, one of a series of handbooks published by the Smithsonian Institution. Author Chris Pellant explains the basics and offers a guide for identifying rocks and minerals with excellent photographs and explanations that, after a bit of practice, I learned to use to identify the samples I found.
What I found especially compelling was the idea of millions of years of heat, pressure, and tectonics that shaped the familiar land of our Scout camp. Having at least some understanding of these forces has enriched my appreciation of the natural world.
Rocks and Minerals is a well written, lavishly illustrated resource to get a start in the fascinating study of what’s underfoot.
Smithsonian Handbooks: Rocks & Minerals is available from Amazon
I also brought along a 10x, 20x Jeweler’s Loupe that proved very useful. Frankly I didn’t expect all that much from a $5.00 purchase but I was amazed at the quality of the loupe. It was invaluable in bringing the details of the rocks I found into clear view (even by lantern light at a picnic table). I hadn’t appreciated how important it was to examine rocks under magnification to get an idea of how they were created.
10x, 20x Jeweler’s Loupe available from Amazon.