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Neighborhood Rocks                                     Search this Site

Finding Rocks

Here are some places where we look for rocks:

bulletYards and gardens
bulletStreets and parking lots
bulletRailroad tracks
bulletBeaches
bulletFarther a field
  

Yards and gardens

We find lots of great rocks just down the street.  Our 
neighbors use bags of "landscape stone" to decorate 
their gardens and fill in bare spaces in their yards.  
If we ask permission, they let us take some home.

Photo: Ethan and Aaron are hunting for rocks. Photo: Ethan is holding white marble and reddish scoria. Photo: The red rocks in this photo exploded from a volcano.
Ethan and Aaron are hunting for rocks in a shady area between two buildings. Ethan found white marble and reddish scoria (which is also called "lava rock"). There's more reddish scoria in this garden.  Scoria explodes from volcanoes, so it's full of bubble holes.
Photo: This is the "rock garden" in front of our house! Photo: We mixed together more than a dozen different types of "landscape stone."
This is our garden.  It's a mix of many types of landscape stones.  Go here if you want to learn more about our garden.  
Go here
to find out how to identify the rocks.
  

Streets and parking lots

When they build or fix streets, they need tons of 
inexpensive gravel.  Here in the Chicago area, they 
use crushed rock from quarries.

Photo: This truck is dumping a load of dolostone gravel on our street.   Photo: Aaron found some dolostone!   Photo: This gravel is made of crushed dolostone.
When they came to fix our street, giant trucks dumped huge piles of dolostone near our house.  The dolostone came from huge quarries near our home.  
  
Photo: The brown rock at the edges of this parking lot is a type of chert. The brown gravel at the edges of this parking lot is made mostly of chert.
Photo: This brown chert probably was dug out of a river valley in Missouri.
   
Photo: The edges of this parking lot include black scoria and white marble. The edges of this parking lot are decorated with bushes, white marble, and black scoria (as called "lava rock").
Photo: Black scoria and white marble
   

Railroad tracks

Railroad tracks are laid on long piles of gravel, 
called "ballast."  Daddy lets Ethan and Aaron 
collect ballast rocks from the edges of the tracks, 
while he keeps an eye out for trains.  Each set
of tracks has a different mix of rock types.

Photo: The gravel under these tracks was dug from quarries hundreds of mile away. The ballast at these tracks includes pink quartzite, light gray limestone, black chert, and whitish, fossil-filled dolostone.
Photo: This railroad ballast is a mix of many types of crushed stone.
  

Beaches

Beaches are a great place to collect smooth, 
rounded pebbles. 

Photo: Waves washed small pebbles onto this beach. This Lake Michigan beach has pebbles of black basalt and gray dolostone -- and a flat piece of limestone filled with tiny crinoid fossils.
Photo: These pebbles were rounded and smoothed by the waves.

Farther a Field

Now that the boys are older, we sometimes 
go on field trips organized by local rock clubs
and museums.  We are members of the 
Earth Science Club of Northern Illinois (ESCONI), 
and we help out with ESCONI Juniors.  Please
go here to learn more:
  < http://www.saltthesandbox.org/ESCONI/ >

  
  


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Copyright 2001-2002 Eric D. Gyllenhaal                                         Search this Site
Webmaster@SaltTheSandbox.org

Neighborhood Rocks is part of the Salt the Sandbox Web. 
For more information visit the Salt the Sandbox home page.

This page was created on March 12, 2001, and it was last updated on March 7, 2005.