Review of 5 Best Rock Identification Book

The hobby of rock collecting attracts people for a variety of different reasons. One of the primary justifications for this is that it requires you to go outside. A good enough motivation to take up this thrilling sport is that it allows one to spend time in the great outdoors with one’s loved ones.

Becoming a rockhound might lead you to numerous locations that you wouldn’t visit regularly. You may find yourself searching riverbeds for perfectly round stones and cool rocks that are good for skipping. On the other hand, you may have been strolling amid fossil beds and petrified trees.

It doesn’t matter what sort of rock hunter you are or aspire to be; locating and reading a good book on the topic is wonderful to increase your knowledge. There are always new things to learn and new territory to explore, regardless of whether you are just starting or are an experienced rock hunter.

I’ve created an updated list of the top rockhounding books for 2022 and included it below. You must use up-to-date publications because most of them contain maps and other materials prone to becoming outdated.

Our top 5 picks for the Best Rock Identification Books:


Detailed Review of Best Rock Identification Books:

1. National Geographic Pocket Guide to Rocks and Minerals:

National Geographic Pocket Guide to Rocks and Minerals

You won’t find a better travel companion than this National Geographic pocket guide when you’re out on your rock-hounding adventures. The exhibit of rocks and minerals only covers North America; this keeps the amount of information manageable, so visitors don’t feel overwhelmed.

The introductory book published by National Geographic has photographs and text that provide information on a wide range of rocks, in addition to jewels, fossils, minerals, and land formations. The arrangement is well thought out and straightforward, making it simple for you to navigate quickly to get to the rock you’re searching for more quickly.

In addition to images of the rocks and minerals, the handbook provides information on the most likely locations to contain these rocks. In addition to this, it discusses the terrain features of North America that are useful for rock hunting.

The guide provides distinct identifying points that expedite the search process for the reader. It will certainly make your rock-hunting journey a lot less difficult.

Book Author: Sarah Garlick


2. Rocks & Minerals of Wisconsin:

Rocks & Minerals of Wisconsin

This field guide will simplify your job if you intend to go rockhounding in the states located in the center of the United States. Included are images and written descriptions of 96 different rocks that may be found in the states of Iowa, Wisconsin, and Illinois. Some of these rocks are rather unusual.

Because the book’s organization is rather simple and uncomplicated, obtaining information from it shouldn’t provide too much of a challenge for the reader. In addition, the images in the book provide all of the information that is required to identify the rock in front of you correctly. You won’t need to speculate or search for answers on Google since you’ll be able to tell at a glance what type of rock you’re looking at.

Because of its small proportions, the book is readily transportable in your tool bag. Instead of making an effort to commit the pebbles inside it to memory, you may bring them on your excursion instead. 

Having a guidebook close at hand when digging is almost always beneficial. Wouldn’t you want to pass on a valuable rock just because you don’t know what to expect from its price?

Book Author: Dan Lynch


3. Rocks & Minerals (DK Smithsonian Handbook):

Rocks & Minerals (DK Smithsonian Handbook)

This book will be an excellent option for you if you are interested in acquiring knowledge of rock and mineral identification for its purpose rather than conducting a search in a particular state. The Rocks and Minerals guidebook offers photographs, descriptions, and information about various rocks and minerals likely to be discovered when rockhounding.

Because the book has an uncomplicated structure and enormous images, it is simple to get a good look at the particular rock you seek. If you are also interested in meteorites, their information may be found on the final few pages of this article.

This guide’s clear, big language aligned with the accompanying photographs is another feature that makes it appealing. The content is broken up into manageable chunks so that you don’t become bored while reading it. You won’t have to read a lot of lines to acquire the information you’re looking for; you’ll be able to get it relatively fast.

Book Author: Chris Pellant


4. Rockhounding Arizona:

Rockhounding Arizona

This book takes the time to highlight some of the less well-known rock gathering locations that are accessible on public lands, in addition to identifying the commercial dig sites that are more widely recognized.

Gary Blair, the author, has spent almost all of his almost 75 years exploring the backcountry of Arizona. Rock hunting took up a significant portion of the time. Gary Blair is well recognized as among the most qualified and experienced rockhounding specialists in the state.

The Rockhounding books are helpful resources for both experienced rock hunters and novices. They mention the commercial locations that allow rockhounding and the undiscovered places that are accessible and may be visited.

In addition to that, the books offer guidance for rockhounding and determining the nature of certain rocks and jewels. The series will be perfect for you if you start with the pastime of digging.

Book Author: Gerry Blair


5. National Audubon Society Field Guide to Rocks and Minerals:

National Audubon Society Field Guide to Rocks and Minerals

This is another excellent resource for rockhounds interested in collecting rocks and minerals. This is the finest book for recognizing rocks and minerals since it has approximately 800 full-color images, which are highly useful for identifying rock and mineral specimens. Additionally, the book is written clearly and concisely. 

This book on rockhounding is a wonderful companion for both novices and more experienced rockhounds alike. The fact that the book can be readily carried out into the field and used as a portable guide to assist in the identification of rocks, jewels, and minerals, in my opinion, makes it the greatest rock and mineral field guide.

This rock and mineral domain handbook explains all of the rocks and gems in their many multiple varieties, colors, and particle forms are among the best things about it. It is one of the reasons it makes it onto the list of the best rockhounding books. 

This also makes it useful for recognizing rocks and minerals. In addition, the descriptions include specific information about the natural settings in which the rocks were formed, as well as summaries of field marks, other rocks, and minerals that are similar to the ones being discussed, the environment, and the locations at which the rocks can be found.

A plain and easy-to-understand reference to identifying minerals based on color and structure. It is estimated that well over half of the book comprises exceptionally outstanding color plates, which are especially beneficial to a newcomer unfamiliar with the specific vocabulary of geology… admonished in the strongest terms.”

The fact that this book’s cover is made of vinyl enables it, in contrast to the covers of many other field guides, to withstand the elements of the natural environment.

“Good, extensive information and a part of each book are dedicated to high-quality color images to accompany the illustrations,” the authors write.

Book Author: National Audubon Society


How Can One Break Into the World of Rockhounding?

If you are starting in rockhounding, a simple book guide won’t be enough to teach you everything there is to know about the hobby. You may do a few more things to broaden your perspective and expand your horizons.

Make Sure You Do Enough Research:

If you are interested in getting into rockhounding, it is best to start your search near where you live. The one-of-a-kind geological characteristics should be the first item that you search for. You won’t be put in a position where you have to deal with any unfamiliarity with areas if you first familiarize yourself with those examples.

In addition, you will gradually become accustomed to looking for specimens. That is, assuming the geological makeup of your state permits rockhounding. If this is not the case, search for the nearest mining location.

Make connections with other People:

You can only get so far by rockhounding by yourself; sometimes, you must share your interests with others to master the skills better.

Checking to see whether there is a local collector’s group is the first step you should take. This will ensure that you understand the proper collection techniques and the appropriate instruments. 

Additionally, you will have the opportunity to engage in conversation while out rock hunting. Associating with other people who like the same interest as you can always yield some insightful new information.

Obtain the Appropriate Equipment:

Obtaining the appropriate equipment is essential for getting off to a good start in any pastime, but this is especially true for an activity as complicated as prospecting for rocks and minerals.

Do not let appearances deceive you; you do not necessarily need to get the most costly instruments available to guarantee that they are effective. 

You won’t need much-specialized gear if you’re starting, but you will need safety glasses, shovels (preferably ones with short handles), a rock crusher, scraper, bucket, hammer, gloves, and a sturdy pair of boots.

Keep in mind that some of the locations will not require any equipment; you will be able to discover the rocks and minerals directly on the ground without digging. Therefore, before you go out and get anything that isn’t required, you should be sure you know what you’ll be needing.

Record every Rock:

The process of documentation is an important component of any endeavor. This will serve as a reference for you to consult whenever the occasion arises for rockhounding. You may get started by maintaining a record of the unique names of the specimens and the year they were mined.

If you want to take it a step further, you may record the type of rock and its mineral and some information about the mining process, such as the depths and levels. When you go back to select websites later, you will realize that the knowledge you gathered will be rather beneficial.

Don’t throw away the identifying labels:

Be sure to maintain the labels on any specimens you get from other people if you borrow them. The tale of each rock is what establishes whether or not it is a rare specimen. This is an essential value addition that must be made to your collection. This step can be useful later if you plan to sell the rocks and minerals.

Check to See That Your Sources Are Trustworthy:

There is no greater investment than purchasing a reference book or journal that can unequivocally identify the kind of mineral that you have discovered. There are many fantastic options for references, and the books that we highlighted as the best guides above will help with this.

One person can’t memorize all of the rocks and minerals on their own; you will surely want some assistance, particularly if you are starting. A guidebook is never a waste of time and is always useful.


Bottom Line:

Learning about rocks and minerals may be accomplished very effectively via rock identification books. When you are out in the wilderness, you may take them with you and utilize them as field guides. – Books on the identification of rocks often include photographs of various rocks and text that explain how each type of rock may be recognized.

The best books on rock identification often include graphics that demonstrate the interior features of the rocks they describe.

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