Scottsdale, AZ – Say what you will about the desert’s dry, brown landscape, but no one can deny that where the Arizona desert falls short in lush foliage, we excel in rocks and minerals. This is rock hound country. I have been studying rocks since I was a wee little one, digging in the driveway gravel. The desert is a treasure trove for people like me. I can’t say that I have found anything valuable, but I have picked up thousands of rocks in my life, turning them over in my hand, wondering and wondering some more.
Arizona is one region where the earth bares her bones – we can easily see the design that gives the land structure, a medium for plants to run down roots and raw material with which we build and create. It is home to the famous Grand Canyon and numerous mining towns. Here, we easily see caverns, meteor craters and ancient landslides, massive boulders stacked up like a child’s blocks and bright flashes of mineral glitter in common piles of dirt. Clear and colored crystals formed by heat and pressure never cease to amaze us. Some are so stunning that even a master jeweler could not compete with their wild beauty.
Geodes are spherical rocks that contain a hollow cavity. What makes them such treasures to rock hounds is that crystal formations are often found inside, but only after the rather homely looking “rock” is cracked or sawed open. They are formed in various ways, but at some point, minerals dissolved by heat or water in sedimentary layers became trapped as an outer layer of rock cooled around them. Over time, crystals formed as the minerals re-organized themselves.
My favorite rockhounding buddy is my great niece Emily. It is fun to be with someone who gets as excited about rocks as I do. Today is her birthday and I want to wish her a thousand amazing rock hounding adventures in the years ahead. Happy Birthday Emily! May you never lose your spectacular sense of wonder in the natural world around you! I look forward to our next outdoor adventure together.
Cultivate Wonder… Discover Design
References and Resources
Images – SPegany©2000-2020, and images from Pixabay – Ruby and Peter Skitterians (amethyst), Sharon McCutcheon (amethyst being held), Brett Hondow (group of minerals), Deester (white geode)