GO 324A Rocks and Minerals
ES 567 Hand Specimen Petrology
Dr. Susan Ward Aber


Emporia State University
Emporia, Kansas USA
Earth Science Department

Field Trip Collections

This resource and activity webpage is designed to help you with your rock and mineral collection, as well as find geologic map and stratigraphy resources about your specimens.

Also... the 2013 Field Trip Report is at http://academic.emporia.edu/abersusa/go324/fieldtrip.pdf

Rock and Mineral Collecting Preparing the Collection and Report
Examples for Findng Rock Age Resources and Links


For this course, there is a required all-day course field trip, which will include sights in Woodson and Wilson counties. The primary purpose of this trip is to collect and observe rocks and minerals in natural field environments, as well as to demonstrate typical geologic environments of formation. You will likely collect 20 different specimens this day, which must be included in your collection. Trading specimens and locating specimens in and around Emporia or on other field trips are all acceptable ways to build your collection.

Your specimen collections will be assembled from the class field trip and your personal mineral and rock collections. The grade is based on correct specimen identification, overall organized collection sheet, and accurate, rich field trip report. Each of the 35 identified specimens must be have a label with complete information (e.g., two points each for 70% of the grade). An organized listing of the specimens must accompany the collection, as well as a class field trip report; the specimen collection will be judged on organization, neatness, style, & creativity (e.g., 30% of the grade). Examples of creativity may include field trip pictures and maps.

Mineral and rock label templates are available upon request, and you may modify these as needed. Minerals should be grouped and labeled by chemical classification (e.g., carbonate, oxide, phyllosilicate, etc.) or chemical formula, and the location of find should be included. Rocks should be classified (e.g., igneous, metamorphic, sedimentary), dated (e.g., formation or member name if known, series or system using geologic maps for identification), and located (e.g., city/county & state/province).

Collections should contain the best 35 specimens with a majority from the class field trip including minerals and rocks - igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary - that are correctly identified and labeled. It is highly recommended that each specimen has a field number to associate with the label and that the overall collection has a typed organizing sheet, which provides a masterlist all specimens. Specimens should be placed in a logical grouping and be displayed in some kind a case. A report should accompany the collection with general information on the geologic environments for the field trip sites or your other specific collecting areas. The report could also include an organized master list of all specimens submitted. There is no one right way to present the collection and variation in style and presentation is expected. For the report, citations and references to literature are encouraged.

Need some help in identifying specimens? Visit www.geospectra.net/fieldgeology/rocks.htm.

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Rock and Mineral Collecting

The specimen collection required for this course will involve gathering, labeling, and identifying specimens, followed by organizing and displaying the collection in a coherent manner. Assign each specimen an identification field number that can be correlated to the collection location and geologic formation name and age (for rocks). Writing this information on the collecting sack and recording it in a notebook is recommended. You are responsible for arriving at the best way to display the collection and some kind of box will help to organize and protect specimens.

Preparation is essential when going in the field. Always investigate weather conditions and be prepared by wearing appropriate clothing such as long pants and shirt, boots, hat, gloves, coat, sunglasses, etc. Also pack things such as water, sunscreen, insect repellant, poison ivy block, first-aid kit, and cell phone. It is best to gain permission in advance of stepping past a no tresspassing sign or simply avoid collecting on private land. If collecting beside the road, then park well off the road and watch traffic; it is illegal and not recommended to stop along roads such as the turnpike and interstate highways.

Tools useful for going in the field include backpack and collection bag, individual sample bags, pen, labels, camera, rock hammer, goggles, notebook, hand lens, streak plate, glass (baby food jar), magnet, and sealed bottle of dilute hydrochloric acid. If going in quarries and caves, a hard hat is recommended. If you are visiting more than one location, a cardboard box/flat is recommended for clearing out the collection bag at each stop and organizing/preserving specimens.

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Preparing the Collection and Report

After collecting the samples, a collection and report are needed. A webpage on collecting in Chase County was created for a field geology course and is online at www.geospectra.net/fieldgeology/kansasrocks.htm. Here you will find many links to various Kansas Geological Survey websites of interest. Read on for some step-by-step scenarios to help you find information on your samples collected outside and during the course field trip.

Specimen Identification Scenario 1: Finding the Age of Rock

I have collected a sandstone near to Tecumseh, Kansas. How do I find an identification and age of this rock? What other information can I find about this specimen easily online?

Tecumseh is in Shawnee County, but where? Follow the links below to answer the questions above!

Specimen Identification Scenario 2

I have collected igneous and metamorphic rocks at Silver City and Rose Dome, Woodson County, Kansas. I know the age but where can I find additional information and maps online?

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Resources and Additional Links

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Petrology Introduction
Sedimentary Rock
Metamorphic Rock
Course Field Trip
Course Syllabus
Class and Field Trip Specimen Collection

This page originates from the Earth Science department for the use and benefit of students enrolled at Emporia State University. The curriculum is © by the author, 2008-2013. Creation 26 November 2008; last update May 6, 2013. For more information contact the course instructor, S. W. Aber, e-mail: esu.abersusie@gmail.com.

To understand copyright, visit www.copyright.gov/. All rights reserved. Susan Ward Aber.