Amateur geology or mineral collecting is the recreational hobby and research of gathering minerals and fossils from the ground and surrounding areas. In Australia, New Zealand, Cornwall and even the United States, the recreational activities of amateur geologists have been known as fossicking.
Mineral collecting has been practiced for centuries by ancient peoples who were interested in its medicinal properties and other uses. From the early days, mineral collecting became a more scientific way of knowing about nature and how it worked. Today, some amateur geologist do not actually know anything about the mineral collecting hobby except that they love nature, minerals and fossils.
Mineral collecting, especially mineral collecting of fossilized fossils, is done by an amateur or professional geologist. The minerals are usually collected in the field, usually on the ground. This is because fossil collecting is a more difficult task than other types of mineral collecting because fossil specimens are usually found in the ground. The process of collecting fossilized specimens is much more complicated than the process of gathering other minerals because of the difficulty in extracting the specimen from the ground.
Fossils can be found almost anywhere on earth and these can range from insects to birds to even dinosaurs. The difficulty is in identifying which specimen is a fossil and which is an insect or a bird or even a dinosaur bone. Some mineral specimens may look similar to the mineral that they’re supposed to be but they are actually different minerals. These minerals are also known as fissures and cavities. Fissures and cavities are formed when rock layers get eroded and their solid minerals separate from their sedimentary layers.
Once a fossil is found, it requires expertise to identify it to a professional geologist can determine if it is a specimen worth collecting. Usually, a professional geologist will not purchase the fossil unless it is fully identified and inspected by him first before buying it. There are other minerals that do not need the expert inspection of a professional. These types of minerals are known as common minerals and are found everywhere on earth. Some examples of these minerals are quartz, amphibole and gypsum.
There are many resources available online and off to help amateur and professional mineral collection of fossilized materials. Some of these sources include books, magazines, videos, forums and even other websites. However, it is important to remember that many of these resources are informational and only offer advice and tips, not actual techniques on mineral collecting. It is recommended that an amateur mineral collector not try to make his own specimens out of fossilized material because the specimen that they are finding may be different than what they had imagined it to be.
Fossil collecting may be very exciting but it also is quite difficult. If you have an interest in mineral collecting, it would be best to look for a professional source of information. Most experts in this field are usually willing to share their knowledge with other mineral collectors. You can read magazines, subscribe to magazines that are dedicated to this subject matter and visit websites that have valuable information about fossil collecting. Mineral collecting is a lot of fun and learning the basics of this fun hobby may even be more fun than you expected it to be.
If you’re a beginner in this field, you should always take your time in choosing which fossil you want to collect. Be sure to follow some basic guidelines that will be provided by the experts and that will prevent you from making a poor decision.