A "Rock Hound's" Webquest
Exploring Rocks and Having Fun
This image was taken by Matthew Durant
on the Skookum Volcano Trail.
(Wrangell St. Elias National Park)
Can you follow the clues that will help you to identify
Join me on a case study of Alaska's volcanic
Gather clues while collecting your own rocks
Learn to read the geological clues
Identify your rocks
You probably have found yourself
wondering about rocks just as I have. Why does this rock look so
rough, and this one so shiny, or even how do these pieces get so mixed
up together? These are common questions almost everyone has when they
see rocks. During my recent trip to many of Alaska's Parks, (Wrangell
St. Elias National Park, Denali
National Park, and Chena River State
Park). I was wondering about the variety of rocks I saw there
and the fantastic formations they made. I was becoming a "Rock
Hound". Here are four of the rocks I wanted to know more
As a "Rock Hound", I follow geology clues
to identify the rocks that I find. You, too, can identify the rocks that
you find by following the geological clues, investigating, and testing your
rocks. Here are some of the clues that I look for:
||Where did I find this rock?
formations are in the area where I found this rock?
||Did my rock sample
come in layers?
||Does my rock
sample look like a bunch of rocks that have been smushed together?
||How would a geologist test this rock?
Geology Clues to Identify Rocks
If you want to identify a rock that you find,
then you need to follow the clues, inspect
and test the
physical properties of rocks.
to Identify Rocks Most common minerals can be identified by
inspecting and testing their physical properties
of Rocks & Minerals Great information on
identifying rocks and minerals.
Ask-A-Geologist questions are answered by United States Geological Society (USGS)
employees, retirees, and
contractors who have volunteered to participate in this project.
Your Own Rock Collection
Your Own Rock Collection Great tips for the beginning
Your First Rock and Mineral Collection Great information on
starting your first rock collection.
Pups Good resources for the beginning geologist.
Hound Collection Safety Be safe while collecting rocks.
Rockhounding Stay safe while you're collecting your rocks.
Ask-A-Geologist questions are answered by USGS employees, retirees, and
contractors who have volunteered to participate in the project.
Chesterman, Charles National
Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Rocks and Minerals.
National Audubon Society of Guidebooks Nature Viewing Regions Plant
and Mineral Guides. 1979.
National Wildlife Federation Geology:
The Active Earth (Ranger Rick's Naturescope) McGraw-Hill. 1997.
Fredrick H. Pough. A Field
Guide to Rocks and Minerals (The Peterson Field Guide Series).
Houghton Mifflin Company. 1997.
Martin Prinz. Simon
and Schuster's Guide to Rocks and Minerals. Fireside.
Ricciuti, Edward R. Rocks and
Minerals (National Audubon Society First Field Guides)
Scholastic Trade. 1998.
Zim, Herbert S. and Paul R. Shaffer
Minerals: A Guide to Familiar Minerals, Gems, Ores and Rocks
Golden Press. 2003.
Investigating Local Geology:
Join me as we embark on a "Rock Hound's" mission, following the
geology clues to investigate what types of rocks and rock formations are common
in your area.
Review the "Start
Your Own Rock Collection" resources. Brainstorm rock
collecting, safety tips and tricks after you and your friends have
reviewed three of the websites.
Gather rocks from your local area. Make sure that you take notes (worksheet) on where you found your rocks, any rock formations in the area,
and whether the rocks were formed in layers.
Identify Your Rock:
With the other people in your small group, review the Geology
Clues to Identify Rocks. Make sure that you know how to read the clues
and conduct the tests to identify the rocks that you found. With the
other members of your group, collect geology clues. Then, fill out the worksheet to keep track of your
clues. Your group will work together
to make sure that they accurately follow the clues to identify the
rocks. While following the clues and conducting tests, each
member will play an important role to help the whole group move
Materials Specialist Makes
sure that you have all the materials you will need to conduct your tests
and observations. The materials specialist is in charge of making
sure all equipment is used properly. Finally, the materials specialist
is in charge of making sure all supplies are returned in as good of shape as when they got it.
Artist in Residence
Is in charge
of taking digital photographs of each member's rock. Make sure you
photo to the owner of the rock in a format that they can use.
Makes sure that tasks
are accomplished on time; keeps the group aware of the amount of time
left to work and ensures that everyone is staying on task and pulling their own
Is in charge of making sure each member of the group conducts all of the
observations and tests to gather clues on what rocks they have found.
though you will work with other members of your group to follow the
clues and to conduct tests, you must ensure the quality and accuracy of
your own findings throughout this activity.
Develop a Local
Geology Field Guide: Now that you have followed the geology clues to identify your
rock, it is important that you share what you found with
others. Download the field guide form (MS
Word) and record your findings. After you print your form off,
get together with your friends and create your Local Geology Field Guide
to tell others about the rocks that are found in your area.
E-mail your field guide to the "Rock Hounds" at iwebquest.com (email@example.com).
We'll post your field guide on the Internet.
More Fun Rock Activities:
How Rocks Are Formed
a Volcano Activity
Games & Fun Stuff
Arts and Crafts
Crafts for Fun
Rock Recipes (Igneous,
Click here to see a rubric
to help you assess and revise your own work.
Can you follow the clues that will help you to identify
Spread the Word!
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