I use mineral and rock collection cards with all my samples – even ones that are still sitting in plastic bags and boxes waiting for sorting and display. In the past, I used a range of scraps of paper for these – and over time evolved into use backs of out-of-date business bards and small filing cards.
The problem with these is that I am not ‘prompted’ to provide the information that I might need later on – like location, etc. And so I have created for myself these rock and mineral cards, that I print off a sheet and cut up…then have in my backpack when I am out in the field.
Mineral Collection Cards
On these, I record the mineral I have identified (and often this is blank when I collect the sample and I add the mineral name when I have performed tests and confident of the minerals name), the location that I collected the sample, the results of tests – hardness, streak, cleavage/fracture I can see, and finally the date I collected the sample. Not often, but sometimes I may purchase a sample, or have a sample donated to me, and so I record that date and from whom I obtained the mineral.
Rock Collection Cards
On these, I record the name of the rock, the location I collected it, the type of rock (igneous, metamorphic, sedimentary), its fabric (mineral banding, etc), its age (I use ROCKD app on my phone to be given an approximate age of the formation I am collecting from, and finally the date I collected the sample.
For both of these, I write a number in the top right corner based on the date – like 2020-01, 2020-02, etc, and I refer to these in a field notebook that I drag around with me. It is a Rite-In-The Rain one – which is wonderful as it can get wet and not be destroyed. (See what I use here – it even comes with geological notes to help me.). In that notebook I can record even more information like who was with me, the weather of the day, how I got to the site – especially if I hiked, latitude and longitude, etc.
You can download these collection sheets for free – click this button and follow the prompts)