Rockhounding

Like many of us, my workdays are spent collecting seed for Seeds of Success.  I enjoy working with my fellow intern, Andrew, and we’re learning a lot about the local flora.  However, on the weekends it’s another story altogether: our focus shifts from the Plant Kingdom to the Mineral Kingdom.  Utah is a rockhounding paradise!  There are about a dozen sedimentary layers exposed at different elevations as well as scattered igneous dikes/sills.  We’ve got mudstone, sandstone, conglomerates, breccia, you name it from aeolian, marine, and freshwater deposits (both lacustrine and fluvial).

A lot of what we pick up is chert on the surface, weathered out of the sedimentary deposits, but we’ve also found a few veins of chert in situ.  Beyond crystals and minerals, there are also plenty of opportunities for invertebrate fossils, if that’s your thing.

We’ve been getting a lot of use out of a geology pick as well as a set of cold chisels and a sledgehammer.  Last weekend we spent a day doing hard labor, breaking rocks hoping to find amethyst/bixbyite in vugs in rhyolite boulders.  Found a few tiny specimens worth keeping, but most of the fun is in the attempt rather than the result!

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