We have had some fun this month looking for Feldspar. We are participating with the Outdoor Hour Challenges as a major part of our science this winter/spring. You can find the challenge here : Handbook of Nature Study: OHC: Feldspar
When we heard the name – Feldspar – we didn’t immediately come up with a color or shape or location. We had to look through several of our field guides to figure out if we had it in Oregon, on the Central Coast, and what to look for. It was interesting to find out that it makes up for 60% of the earth’s crust. We liked seeing how many items are made from crushed feldspar like paint, dishes, flooring, glass – etc. In Oregon, the most abundant place seemed to be Baker County, which is in Eastern Oregon.
We collected Sea Glass since it is used to make glass. We discovered that Sunstone is Feldspar and we had some from a previous trip to a gem store. Sunstone is the Oregon State Gem. I like that Feldspar can be pink, so I put my pink rock in the collection.
The shapes are interesting. Enlongated, crystals, blocks, rectangle. One field guide said thumbnail size is typical. So we drew out our thumbs. Then, thinking of a couple of the rocks we have, I realized they meant the Nail. Like the thickness of the nail. We have a black rock with elongated crystals the thickness of a thumbnail. Giggle. Not the width size of the surface of your thumb.
I’m not sure why there is a snowman in a snow globe – but it did get his creative juices flowing. Then he pretty much copied my page – but he did it, with a smile, and continued on the search for Feldspar!
We saw a large ad in a newspaper that said Things Rich and Strange had Sunstone Jewelery. Holy Cow it is expensive! I didn’t take photos in the shop, but trust me – sparkle. We picked up a cube block of Feldspar for $3.00 – played with it for 2 days, and then it disappeared. . . . Ever heard of Depoe Bay? It’s a town built on a rock lava wall on Highway 101. It’s the sort of sacrifice we make for science. Yes, we’ll drive to Depoe Bay for Sunstone.
I am glad that my 14 yr old and I are doing the Advanced Nature Studies together. He’s been doing it for so many years that he has a sort of ‘too cool for nature study’ attitude, but once we start – he really enjoys it. It is still amazing, after all these years, how we know so much surface knowledge, but so little in depth details.