Rocks, Gems and a Hobby for Life

By Jerry Davis

Edited 2015

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Why do people become interested in rocks?

I have always wondered what causes people to get interested in rock and minerals.  Usually there is an interesting story of how they began to collect a pocket of rocks and take them home with them where mother would find them in their pockets and keep them on a shelf for a while.

Indian “grind” stones and iron cones

 In my case, it was my dad that was bringing home Indian grind stones from our sandy-clay loam peanut fields where he was plowing them out of the ground occasionally.  He also would find iron colored cones that had worked their way to the surface and were very mysterious to us.   Dad’s little rock collection ended up under a gasoline tank with very little fanfare.  

Rocks that didn’t belong

As I walked the fields as a young person, I began to notice rocks that didn’t seem to belong there.  The rocks were nothing like the bedrock underneath the fields that were weathering out and working their way to the surface.  Some rocks had small fractures filled in with different colors in patterns that indicated the rock must have been broken under stress and fractures filled in again as if glued back into place.  I had no answers for what I was finding and no clues for the multiple fractures that I could see.  I was very young at the time and had no idea how to solve these mysteries.

Semi polished creek rocks

I was also finding “creek rocks” that were semi-polished lying in among bedrock of limestone.  Rocks that didn’t fit;  rocks that were really out of place and made one wonder how they came to be polished and where had they come from.   

How do you get the knowledge to solve puzzles about rocks?

Well, these puzzles were resolved many years later as I began to take college courses, read books about rocks, minerals and the earth’s history.  I joined the Central Texas Gem and Mineral Society, attended “rock shows”, field trips and communicated with other rock collectors.  50+ years of collecting, study and a master’s degree in earth science helped to answer a lot of questions about the earth and its rocks.  I also taught earth science, chemistry and other science for 32 years which kept the hobby alive.

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