by George Coursey, West Central Illinois Rock & Mineral Club
From: Rock Chatter, 4/2010
(Honorable Mention – AFMS Original Adult Articles)
his is a very important category of rocks. It is one for all new and experienced rockhounds lo be familiar with. It was recently brought to my attention that several fellow rockhounds are not aware of these rocks. I will attempt to explain as I was told by Ray Bendrick, who was a charter member of the Pulton County Rockhounders Club and lifelong collector who always shared his knowledge with young and old alike.
Many of these rocks are at least 400 million years old and have various modes of formation. They can be found
wherever a rockhound is collecting. They are usually interesting specimens in the field, but are not usually of the highest quality. They come in all sizes and colors.
The definition of “leaverite,” according lo Ray Bcndrick and the dictionary is: “a term used by geologist and amateur rock hunters to describe a rock that is of interest in its surroundings, but once he gets home the collector decides he should have "leave-it-right-where-you-found-it". Remember when collecting, it is the quality of the specimen not the quantity.
I feel like an expert in dealing with leaverites, with rocks in piles both inside and outside our house. Some are in displays, some in boxes or crates, some are in piles outside the house and in the shop. Here is one of my best examples of leaverites that happened several years ago when Deb and I were camping out west (long before the current land use bill). We were trying out our hiking skills on a 14,000 fool high trail. All along the trail were interesting specimens of rocks not found in Illinois and, of course, I wanted the largest specimens I could carry in my backpack. As we were hiking up the mountain, I kept collecting and going slower and slower, but I was finding “great” specimens to add to my collection. The backpack was nearly full, and I had about come to a slow crawl since the air was gelling thinner, and we arc flatlanders.
We had come nearer the peak, and the climb was getting really steep in loose rocks, the same ones I had been
collecting. We were determined to get to the lo, but I had a decision lo make. I could no longer keep going and carry my “great” specimens. Half -way up the steep trail, I shed my backpack on a marked area of the trail and left my specimens and backpack lo complete the hike. Yes, the view was breath taking and well worth the climb.
What happened to the specimens? Well, when we came back down the trail, backpack and specimens were still
where I had left them. 1 culled a few specimens there and found I needed to decide which ones to keep and which ones were leaverites as we went down. Oh, by the time we got to the car, both backpacks and our arms were full of specimens.
My lesson was just beginning on leaverites. Don't collect going up the mountain (or hill).