Still working on those questions. Comments welcome. What I have so far:
1. Provide a 50- to 75-word description of the book (an elevator pitch, if you will).
A Beginner’s Guide to Rockhounding and Prospecting in the Southwest sets newcomers to finding rocks, gems, and minerals in this arid country, America’s geologic wonderland. Many dependable collecting sites are mentioned, but more importantly, the book readies the rockhound for finding their own spots, for making their own geologic journeys. Information and advice on minerals, maps, GPS, tires, trucks, camping, travel and much more take the newcomer from wondering where to going there.
2. Provide a 300- to 400-word description that could be used for Amazon, back cover copy, sales materials, etc.
Welcome to the great Southwest, home to a meteor crater or two, a canyon that is truly grand, a painted desert, and a petrified forest. An arid land, an austere ascetic, a country of magical sunsets with rocks and minerals at every turn. This guide gets the beginning rockhound or prospector out the door and out exploring. A land of enhancement? Yes. It awaits.
The book starts by describing the Southwest’s unique climate and geology. Traveling the territory comes next, with tips on selecting a good prospecting vehicle, some survival techniques, and camping considerations. Maps, their importance and kinds, are treated in a non-technical manner, along with discussing GPS and its use with maps. A reliance on cell phone navigation is strongly discouraged, with clear reasons given why.
The book looks next at collecting certain rocks, minerals and fossils. Geology or mineralogy knowledge isn’t necessary to enjoy the book, although their study is encouraged in many ways, particularly by visiting the many mining and natural history museums that populate the Southwest. Gold prospecting goes first in the rock and gem chapter, providing dozens of hints for seeking this precious metal. Staking and filing claims are not covered in this book, however, basic information on researching claims is given, the better to determine what ground is open to searching.
The book’s third part describes lapidary work made possible from collected materials and recommended reading on all things geologic. Current BLM and United States Forest Service rules on rockhounding are discussed. The annual events at Tucson and Quartzsite, Arizona, collectively the largest rock and gems shows in the world, are reviewed. As local advice is key in any search, the book includes the most comprehensive listing of Southwest rock shops in print. A Beginner’s Guide to Rockhounding and Prospecting in the Southwest gets the newcomer from wondering to wandering.