Volume 5 Issue 11
June 1999



Viking Council

Visit a rock collectors club meeting. View the rocks on display. How did the people get interested in this hobby?
Other sources of assistance for this activity badge could be the college science department, museum, large industry concerned with mining or oil production, high school science teacher, or local rock shop.

Mineral Hardness Kit
Piedmont Council

The mineral hardness scale was developed more than 100 years ago by Friedrick Mohs, a German mineralogist. He arranged 10minerals in a hardness scale with talc the softest as number 1 and diamond, the hardest as number 10. The complete hardness scale can be found in the Webelos Scout handbook.

You can make your own kit from materials you already have around the house or that you can buy at low cost. It will help you establish the hardness of a mineral sample within rough limits. You will need:

1. Talc. You can purchase this in the form of tailor's chalk.
2. Your fingernail. It has a hardness of 2 to 2 1/2.
3. A new copper coin. The edge has a hardness similar to calcite.
4. A 12-penny nail. To test materials with hardness of 4 to 4 1/2.
5. A knife. The steel of a good knife blade is rated at about 5 1/2.
6. Piece of window glass. It has a hardness of about 6.
7. A high-speed drill bit. Tip has hardness of about 6 1/2.
8. Metal file. Good quality capable of fine smoothing or cutting - 7 1/2.
9. High-speed masonry drill point. Hardness of about 8 1/2.
10. Carborundum sharpening stone will scratch minerals of hardness about 9.
It is a good idea to label each piece of your hardness kit. When you find a mineral that will barely scratch your knife blade (5 1/2) but will not mark glass (6) you may assume that the material's hardness lies between 5 and 6.
You will find it best to test the mineral specimen on a flat surface. After you have made a test scratch, try to run the mark away with your fingers. A true scratch will remain. It's best to use a magnifying glass to examine any doubtful mark. Sometimes the testing tool will leave scrapings or such marks. Your hardness kit will be of little use when testing pieces of granite, which may be composed, of a mix of quart (7), Feldspar (6) and mica (2). The bits of individual minerals may be large enough to recognize but impossible to test with your kit. This is where your study of rock samples and guidebooks will serve you will. Not only will you be able to recognize the major types of rocks, but you will also learn something about the minerals you find connected to such rocks. Don't take more of a mineral than you need for a display sample. Thumb-sized lumps are fine. They display well, they are easy to carry, and your consideration will mean that another rockhound will have the fun of making the same discovery that you did.

Building Materials
Viking Council

Invite a housing contractor too come to your den meeting. Ask them to bring materials such as slate, brick, limestone, marble, cement, etc. Where do they purchase these supplies? Where do they come from originally?

Rock Creatures
Viking Council

Gather smooth flat stones. Wash them in detergent and dry completely. Plan the creature you will make and paint the rocks before assembling. Use acrylic paints.
Use contact cement to glue the rocks together. Saturate a small piece of cotton with glue and place it between the edges of the rocks; or use hot glue. Decorate with yarn, etc.

Rock Slide
Western Los Angeles County Council

Collect a fascinating rock or two, or more, and hot glue them to a PVC pipe loop for this tie slide.

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