Stump the Geologist

When we discovered that our neighbor studied geology in college,
my kids set out on a mission to find a rock he can’t identify.
We haven’t stumped him yet.

This granite (above) is made of quartz, feldspar, and hornblend.
I think it would make a lovely tombstone for a goldfish.
“Here lies Nicole, who jumped out of the bowl.”

We have LOADS of quartz.  Much of it is a pretty, white color.
If you want to clean off a rock, don’t wash it in water.
Soak it in a slightly acidic drink, like Coca Cola.
Then rinse and brush it off with a toothbrush.

We have lots of Mica in our neck of the woods.  It’s very shiny.
Every time the kids find it, I think they’ve discovered gold,
and I run up to the computer to order my Mercedes Benz.
The kids wait until I pick my leather upholstery
before they tell me the bad news.

Currently, they’re grounded for a week.
Or until they find a chunk of gold.

If you want to find lots of rocks and minerals, try looking near a stream.
The water brings rocks from near and far.

Our friend said this rock might have chunks of garnet throughout.
We need to thwack it with a hammer and peer inside.

Whenever you want to split a rock, put on safety goggles, put a cloth over the rock (to stop shards from flying), and hit the rock with a hammer. You’ll be surprised at how easily it splits. It’s much easier to identify the composition of a rock if you can look at a fresh split, because it is perfectly clean.


Need help identifying rocks?  Check out the image libraries at and at


Paige April 19, 2010 at 5:33 am

How interesting! I loved geology in college, but I only took one class. When I was younger I used to love digging up and collecting rocks. I still do it a little bit. We have a lot of chalk around here and I love to pick it up and draw on things with it. 🙂
.-= Paige´s last blog open letter to eyjafjallajokull =-.

Grampy April 19, 2010 at 5:48 am

Grammy loves rocks. Whenever I am out I bring home a gift of a rock and it is always, always the right gift. Unlike the purchased gifts I buy- always, always the wrong gift. I mean who would not want metal shelves for Christmas. So I have learned to stick with rock gifts. Lately I stack them by the front porch. Creating art right at our doorstep. Rocks come in every shape and color it seems and she especially likes those with fossils in them. Great Blog….Thanks

Elizabeth April 19, 2010 at 7:06 am

I have a 5 yr old boy who is just now getting interested in rocks. Neat to know the Coca-Cola rinse instead of water is the thing to do. I’m with you however on the find me some gold!
.-= Elizabeth´s last blog ..Be Out There! =-.

Stacy (the Random Cool Chick) April 19, 2010 at 9:05 am

I am SO going to try the Coca Cola bath and toothbrush mode – Princess Nagger’s been picking up quartz rocks from our Back 40 all thrilled with her ‘discoveries’. Bet she’d get a kick out of cleaning them in Coke! 🙂 Looks like you have similar rocks to what we have, too! 🙂
.-= Stacy (the Random Cool Chick)´s last blog ..Princess Nagger Didn’t Always Like Dinosaurs =-.

Sonita April 19, 2010 at 9:08 am

Great tip with the coke! I have 2 boys so we like rocks in our house LOL
.-= Sonita´s last blog ..Preparing To Homeschool =-.

Carol April 19, 2010 at 9:13 am

It is so fun to see what new things you and your kids come up with in life. Life is more than what we see everyday on our way to work, thanks for making me think. Giggle

MadeByMarni April 19, 2010 at 9:49 am

OMG! What a cool post! My husband is a rockhound and his favorite hobby is lapidary! I’ve grown to love “rocks”, too!
.-= MadeByMarni´s last blog ..Grandson Quip of the Week =-. April 19, 2010 at 10:14 am

How cool… can we borrow your neighbor… he is so nice to still enjoy it 🙂 Now my kids will be stuck with me and the encyclopedia
.-=´s last blog ..Play Dough II- Primary Colors =-.

Oklahoma Granny April 19, 2010 at 10:14 am

So interesting. Our grandson #3 is very interested in rocks right now. I’m sending him the info on how to clean rocks.
.-= Oklahoma Granny´s last blog ..Fifteen Years =-. April 19, 2010 at 10:15 am

How cool… can we borrow your neighbor… he is so nice to still enjoy it 🙂 Now my kids will be stuck with me and the encyclopedia

MadeByMarni April 19, 2010 at 11:59 am

When you’re out in the field looking for rocks, you can bring a squirt bottle full of water and spray the rocks……this will give you an idea of what it would look like polished. Or, if you’re a “true rockhound”, you lick or spit on them! LOL! You would then become a “rock-licker”! I guess that’s only funny to rockhounds……………..
.-= MadeByMarni´s last blog ..Grandson Quip of the Week =-.

Skye April 19, 2010 at 7:39 pm

How very interesting! Thank you for sharing! 🙂

The Retired One April 19, 2010 at 9:40 pm

Loved the tip about the coke cleaning off rocks…however my yard has rocks the size of a small volkswagon….hmmmm…wonder if I could just spray coke out of our town fire engines at them??? ha
.-= The Retired One´s last blog ..Freedom Flight…. =-.

Kristi {at} Live and Love...Out Loud April 20, 2010 at 4:50 pm

That is so cool! Thanks for the tips. I think we’ll go and look for rocks this weekend. Maybe we’ll even find gold!

Keisti, Live and Love…Out Loud

keatsthesunshinegirl April 21, 2010 at 4:20 am

Gosh! the Merc is very tempting indeed!Let me join you in the hunt!

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