Recently, I went on a short yet productive rockhounding on the Sierrita Mountains in Tucson, Arizona. Arizona is one of the hotspots of mineral collecting in the United States, and the Sierrita Mountains has been an important source of copper and molybdenum in the state since 1959.
In this post, I share with you my excursion, the tools I used, the preparations I did, the rockhounding spots I went to, and the cool minerals I unearthed.
What's In My Arsenal
My rockhounding tools and safety equipment
A safe and productive mineral collecting isn't complete without the important tools and PPEs. Here's the list of items I packed with me to the mine:
- Hard hat
- Safety goggles
- Boots with ankle support
- Rock hammer
- Backpack for carrying tools and valuables
- Cloth bag for carrying the specimens
Looking rockhounding ready!
Note that when you're just starting out with rockhounding you may bring only the items that are most important to you. For further reference, here's a guide on must-have rockhounding tools and equipment for rockhounding newcomers.
Finding the Best Rockhounding Spot
A huge mining pit spotted on Sierrita Mountains
I visited the Sunrise and Sunshine Mines in the Papago Mining District on Sierrita Mountains, Arizona although there are plenty of rockhounding sites dotted around Arizona.
To get an idea what these sites are, check out these 12 rockhounding locations near Tucson or peruse this list of popular mineral collecting sites in Arizona.
Below are some snaps I took around the site.
Witnessing the captivating sunrise at the mine (hence the name of the site)
The entrance to the Sunrise and Sunshine mine
An outcrop waiting to be dug and explored
Behold, Sierrita Mine's Hidden Treasures
After hours of digging and chipping off huge rocks, I found some specimens of pyrite, chalcopyrite, chrysocolla, quartz, calcite, chert, epidote, and more.
Inspired to chart your own rockhounding adventure? Plan out your trip with this ultimate beginners' guide to rockhounding. don't forget to share with us your experience!