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Does anyone do any rockhounding?

  • Biggill
    Participant
    East Bethel, MN
    Posts: 10219
    #2108309

    Last summer I started letting the kids roam the beaches of Lake Superior after fishing. Something I should’ve done much more of since they seem to happily occupy themselves for hours at a time. My daughter likes to take rocks home with her so we started looking into what some of them were and trying to find Lake Superior agates. This winter with as little fishing as I have done I watched a lot of rockhounding videos on YouTube. Now I’m hooked.

    We left the kids at home this time but the wife and I went to the north shore and used most of a day to hit up some hotspots before all the crazies get out there and pick the beaches clean. We found some really cool stuff and I’m still trying to figure out what all of it is.

    We managed to find some cool stuff this week. A few small agates and some really cool Thomsonite.

    I curious to hear if anyone else does this and what you like to hunt for. Also, if you do any polishing, tumbling or cutting.

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    Biggill
    Participant
    East Bethel, MN
    Posts: 10219
    #2108315

    Found this as well. I’m being told it is likely an agate of some sort. Possibly a moss agate.

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    Randy Wieland
    Participant
    Lebanon. WI
    Posts: 12948
    #2108322

    I occasionally look for arrow heads and spearheads. Over the last 45 or so years I have modest collection of some nice stuff.

    My daughter Olivia has a friend that graduated from UW Madison with her with a degree in Geology. Works great for Olivia and her other friends when they go camping/hiking. They find all kinds of cool stuff. I just don’t want anymore of it here at my house lol

    Biggill
    Participant
    East Bethel, MN
    Posts: 10219
    #2108328

    Would love to find some artifacts like arrowheads. A neighbor of mine has a bunch from her parent farm in North Dakota.

    Don Meier
    Participant
    Butternut Wisconsin
    Posts: 825
    #2108329

    I do see some druzy quartz in the hole , may be agatized . Wife found something similar that looked like a snail with crystallization from Little Girls Point Michigan .Lots of basalt, Omar stones, granite drift wood no agates yet. I have feldspar and jasper on my property , pick them when working my food plots . I have made some jewelry from what i collected . Have a friend who is a retired geologist for Shell Oil gifted me a collection from Africa . Pretty nice of him , shipping was eye popping LOL

    Coletrain27
    Participant
    Posts: 2883
    #2108347

    I have a pretty decent collection of agates. I use to do commercial hvac work and alot of work on commercial roofs lined with river rock. It was always prime picking. Me and my brother still look around areas with river rock, streams and rivers

    Hey
    Participant
    Posts: 126
    #2108351

    You should look into “sea” glass hunting on Lake Superior as well. My daughters and nieces enjoy it. The density of glass makes it wash on shore over time. You can get bucket fulls of it.

    Brad Dimond
    Participant
    Posts: 916
    #2108356

    Best friend’s parents would take the crew to the hunting shack when we were young, tell us to walk the gravel road and look for agates. It wasn’t until we were much older that we figured out that they were mostly getting rid of the kids for a “siesta”. When his dad passed there were many coffee cans of agates from those rock picking expeditions in his garage.

    B-man
    Participant
    Posts: 4180
    #2108360

    Here’s my lame rock joke, but it passes the time with new guys at work

    *** Picks up rock

    *** “Hey, check this out, a sex rock!”

    New guy *** “What’s a sex rock”

    *** “Just another fuc#ing rock…” mrgreen

    Al B Sure
    Participant
    Posts: 1
    #2108400

    Matt,

    I’ve likes minerals and things as decorative pieces for a while and like you, have been watching youtubers go rockhounding. Would love to do some of that stuff myself but honestly not going to wander around unfamiliar areas alone to maybe find something I like and the nearest rock club to me is 2.5 hours away so Youtube it is. Lol You should look into yooperlite rocks. If I remember the videos correctly, they are rocks at Lake Superior that have fluorescents in them. They glow kind of like hot embers when you shine a long wave UV flash light onto them. I’m pretty sure that is accurate information but you should make sure I have the correct Lake and if they are located around the entire lake or just in certain locations.

    Also you mentioned tumblers and things. Again thanks to youtube, apparently Harbor Freight stores are good locations to get good rock tumblers and materials at what the creators said were good prices. Those who can’t… watch youtube. lol

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    suzuki
    Participant
    Woodbury, Mn
    Posts: 16556
    #2108460

    I look at interesting rocks but rarely keep them. Petoskey’s were a big deal when I was a kid growing up in Michigan. State rock and all. Used to get excited to find them. I have an agate or two from the north shore.

    Bearcat89
    Participant
    North branch, mn
    Posts: 10355
    #2108463

    The kid and I find agates and other cool rocks on the Croix all the time. But we usually just throw them and see who can throw further. I don’t have enough spare time to be a ” rock hound ”

    Ralph Wiggum
    Participant
    Maple Grove, MN
    Posts: 11263
    #2108473

    My dad’s family was into it when they were growing up. Cheap entertainment for the kids, I suppose. I recall Grandpa having buckets of agates. A year or two ago, my dad pulled out his “agate inheritance” and let the grandkids take what they wanted, so our kids now have pretty good agate stashes.

    Red Eye
    Participant
    Posts: 716
    #2108478

    Are theses precious rocks worth anything or just look nice?

    Biggill
    Participant
    East Bethel, MN
    Posts: 10219
    #2108479

    I am familiar with the yooperlite. Supposedly it’s mostly found in the UP but it’s assumed that there’s some in MN too. You need a UV light to find them.

    I bought a rock tumbler for the kids for Christmas. We’ve done one load mostly with what came with the kit but threw in a few of our funds as well. After this trip we’re going to fire it up again. My oldest asked me when we came back if we can go back up and do some more rock hunting.

    I find it enjoyable. Especially when Lake Superior is sort of in-between seasons right now fishing-wise. There’s no great way to access the lake. Plus, rockhounding is dirt cheap compared to fishing.

    In the meantime, I might head over to the Rum or St. Croix with the kids to see if we can find any damn agates.

    Ralph Wiggum
    Participant
    Maple Grove, MN
    Posts: 11263
    #2108480

    So, how loud is a rock tumbler? My kids would like one.

    Biggill
    Participant
    East Bethel, MN
    Posts: 10219
    #2108482

    Are theses precious rocks worth anything or just look nice?

    Agates you can sell if you tumble polish them. It won’t make you any money profit. Thomsonite is supposedly more rare than diamonds and is regularly turned into jewelry. Its purely a hobby. People buy lapping equipment and make some really cool pieces to put around the house.

    It’s not a lot different than catching that elusive 30” walleye that you get a replica made for.

    Brad Dimond
    Participant
    Posts: 916
    #2108483

    Recommend stopping in Moose Lake at the Moose Lake Agate and Geological Center. Quick side trip on a return from Duluth/North Shore and a fantastic collection to view.

    tindall
    Participant
    Minneapolis MN
    Posts: 1090
    #2108496

    So, how loud is a rock tumbler? My kids would like one.

    We got a National Geographic branded one at Target – it seems to be a decent design and is very loud. You either need to like the sound of tumbling rocks for weeks on end, or have a space far far away to run it. Garages are good provided freezing is not an issue. If you want to do several loads you need to either save the different grits or plan on eventually buying more. It is interesting how quickly different types of rock degrade vs others.

    Biggill
    Participant
    East Bethel, MN
    Posts: 10219
    #2108548

    Recommend stopping in Moose Lake at the Moose Lake Agate and Geological Center. Quick side trip on a return from Duluth/North Shore and a fantastic collection to view.

    We were going to stop on our way home but they were closed for the season. We will sometime this summer.

    Biggill
    Participant
    East Bethel, MN
    Posts: 10219
    #2108550

    We got a National Geographic branded one at Target – it seems to be a decent design and is very loud. You either need to like the sound of tumbling rocks for weeks on end, or have a space far far away to run it. Garages are good provided freezing is not an issue. If you want to do several loads you need to either save the different grits or plan on eventually buying more. It is interesting how quickly different types of rock degrade vs others.

    This is the one we bought and put it in an unfinished bedroom way down in the basement. If you listened real close you could hear it in our kitchen, but they are definitely a little loud.

    Takes about a month to tumble a batch of rocks.

    buschman
    Participant
    Pool 2
    Posts: 1458
    #2108563

    I have been picking agates for years!! Still do and take the kids out when I can talk them into going.I cannot believe all the people that look for agates the last couple years. Its crazy!! We used to get rock pits and job sites to ourselves but now its a race!

    I have quite a few but still have not found that 2 pounder yet.

    I have a buddy that has made a bit of money selling bulk and big agates. There is a market for it!

    Bearcat89
    Participant
    North branch, mn
    Posts: 10355
    #2108571

    I have been picking agates for years!! Still do and take the kids out when I can talk them into going.I cannot believe all the people that look for agates the last couple years. Its crazy!! We used to get rock pits and job sites to ourselves but now its a race!

    I have quite a few but still have not found that 2 pounder yet.

    I have a buddy that has made a bit of money selling bulk and big agates. There is a market for it!

    Maybe I should quit throwing them back in the river

    Ron
    Participant
    Victoria, mn
    Posts: 692
    #2108709

    6lb Model AR-2 Rotary Rock Tumbler

    This is the one I have. I put it on a rubber mat on a basement table in my workshop and it's not real noisy. The shop ceiling is sheetrocked and with the door closed, you can hear a little noise in the kitchen above it. But normally my wife has the TV blaring, talking on the phone and cussing at the stove, so I don't notice the tumbler noise. :) I have it on a timer so it only runs at night.

    Brian Klawitter
    Keymaster
    Minnesota/Wisconsin Mississippi River
    Posts: 58712
    #2108717

    Hutchinson, my home town had lots of arrowheads around but I never spent anytime looking. Just started looking for agates about 10 years ago. I found a nice arrowhead and spear head while nosing around.

    I sold my two drum tumbler to a friend. I had some nice looking rocks but the granddaughter took them all the time and the daughters house was starting to look like a rock pile..so that put an end to that.

    Kept mine in the garage. I’ve never heard of a quiet tumbler!

    The nicest agates I own were given to me as a gift when I first started looking. I took a husband and wife out fishing and after talking about agate hunting, the next day he presented me with about 10 nice ones out of gratitude. They mean more to me then any that I’ve found.

    stevenoak
    Participant
    Posts: 1354
    #2108763

    My brother was a Geologist for a company with dozens of rock Quarrys all over for 30 years. Over saw exploration, drilling, blasting, testing and grading rocks. He has some really neat stuff.
    I hunted the Mississippi river bottoms in Iowa. Guys canoe the drainage ditches and find stuff after a good flood scours the ditch walls.

    Biggill
    Participant
    East Bethel, MN
    Posts: 10219
    #2111612

    Found this guy up on superior about a week ago. Looks like an agate to me with he banding near the basalt. I’m excited to see how it turns out after tumbling. Threw it in tonight for stage one. We’ll see what it looks like after stage 1 this weekend.

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    Biggill
    Participant
    East Bethel, MN
    Posts: 10219
    #2111618

    @Tindall and others that bought the National Geographic tumbler. I came a cross these videos that showed the issues with them, mostly the instructions and the polishing media, and how to do it right for good results.

    In case you don’t want to watch the entire videos, the gist of it is that they want you to use the wrong media for stages 3 and 4 which ends up with poor results. You should be using aluminum oxide media instead of silicon carbide. That in combination with a media filler like plastic pellets. I bought his media which is due to arrive on Thursday. https://www.rockshed.com/rock-shop/rock-tumblers-supplies/rock-tumbling-grit-and-accessories/rotary-grit-pack-with-plastic-pellets/

    Ultimately if I decide I want to do more of this I’ll likely be buying a different tumbler next time, knowing what I know now. Probably a double barrel tumbler.

    Biggill
    Participant
    East Bethel, MN
    Posts: 10219
    #2111619
    Biggill
    Participant
    East Bethel, MN
    Posts: 10219
    #2111620
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