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A general guide for using the Forum with some rules and tips
Collecting minerals in USA
  
  Index -> Rockhounding trips
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Carlos Muñoz




Joined: 21 Dec 2007
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PostPosted: Dec 21, 2007 07:19    Post subject: Collecting minerals in USA  

Hi,
First of all I apologize for my English. I am new in this forum. For work I am going to travel to the United States next year. I am going to Tucson, and I am very happy to visit the Mineral Show.

I am mineral collector and I would like to look for minerals in the area. In Europe we have many problems to collect minerals in some places. I would like to know if the American legislation is restrictive in these topics.

Here in Spain if you collect fossils you could have a big problem if the police find you with some specimens in the bag or collecting in the mountains. About mineral collectors the legislation is a little bit different but soon we will have the same problems.

Thanks a lot
Carlos
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John S. White
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PostPosted: Dec 21, 2007 09:03    Post subject: Re: Collecting minerals in USA  

Dear Carlos:

I assume that I will be the first of many to respond to your request. What you will find in my country is that there are no national laws governing the collecting of minerals or fossils, it is more of a matter for each state to decide, or perhaps even a more local jurisdiction. In the case of federal land, there generally are severe limitations and/or prohibitions. In the case of quarries and mines, it is really up to the owners of those properties, but most make it difficult or nearly impossible to collect unless advanced permission is obtained, which usually is very difficult, if not impossible. In spite of this there are many, many places where one can collect but it will take some effort for you to find out what these are.

Perhaps you will hear from others with more specific information.

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John S. White
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Pete Modreski
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PostPosted: Dec 27, 2007 13:41    Post subject: Re: Collecting minerals in USA  

Hello Carlos,

I will also write to offer a reply. At the same time, I've been intending to write to this Forum to introduce myself a little more. I was asked by John White to help moderate this English forum on Jordi Fabre's mineral website, and I'm very pleased to try to help do so. As you can read in the short bio about me that's posted on the Minerals Forum home page, I am a geochemist/mineralogist with the U.S. Geological Survey (been with them for 28 years, in Denver, CO), a long time mineral collector, a member of Friends of Mineralogy, and am one of the three Executive Editors of Rock & Minerals magazine.

Carlos, as John says, there are no general prohibitions to mineral collecting in the U.S. If you are on public land (Federally owned, administered by the U.S. Forest Service or U.S. Bureau of Land Management) one is freely allowed to collect and keep any rocks and minerals. Fossils are a bit different; it is illegal to collect any VERTEBRATE fossils on public land--this allows dinosaur bones and the like to be protected, and reserved for musuems and other public institutions. Invertebrate fossils may be collected freely. This all does not apply to U.S. National Parks and National Monuments, where NO material at all (minerals, fossils, or any other natural objects) may be removed or collected.

If one is on privately owned land, what you collect, and a person's having the permission to be there in the first place, is totally at the discretion of the land owner. Normally, private land will be fenced or posted "no trespassing--private property" in some way, and if it is, one should not be there without the owner's permission.

In the western U.S., when one goes to the site of an old mine, it is often difficult or impossible to tell whether the property is public, or privately owned, or the site of a currently valid mining claim on public land. Generally, if it is privately owned or is a current mining claim, there will be a sign or notice posted and visible somewhere to that effect, and then one should not collect specimens there. If no sign is evident, then one can probably assume either that the property is public and "open for collecting", or if it is private, that the owner seldom or never visits the property and does not care if anyone is there to collect minerals.

A quite good book about places to collect minerals in Arizona is:
Minerals, Fossils, and Fluorescents of Arizona: A Field Guide for Collectors ; soft cover, by Neil R. Bearce, 2006, 401 p., $29.00

Another book available is Gem Trails of Arizona by James R. Mitchell. This book is shorter (223 p.), less expensive ($10), but also less current and less authoritative as to its information content.

When you are at the Tucson Show, at the main show at the Convention Center, I know that, in addition to various dealers who have books, the Arizona Geological Survey sells the first book (by Bearce) at its booth, located upstairs in the "Galleria" entry area to the show. If you are there, please try to stop and say hello to me too; I will be at the USGS booth, also in the Galleria and usually located exactly opposite across the aisle from the Arizona Geol. Survey booth. (The same applies to anyone else reading this Forum, who will be there at Tucson.)

Best wishes and good luck to you, Carlos, and good wishes to everyone on the Forum for a enjoyable Christmas season and a very good New Year,

Pete Modreski, Denver, CO
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Carlos Muñoz




Joined: 21 Dec 2007
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PostPosted: Jan 04, 2008 17:08    Post subject: Re: Collecting minerals in USA  

Dear friends,

Thank you for your very extensive help. I will try to get some books and try to get some minerals. If not Tucson Show will be good for that.

I wish you and every one in the forum a Happy New Year 2008.
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