An amateur geologists does not need expensive equipment to search and find samples. The basic equipment they need is just a rock hammer for breaking rocks and a pair of safety glasses to protect against the chips that fly off while breaking the rocks. Unglazed porcelain (a ceramic fuse, for example) can be used to find out the colour of a mineral’s streak. A steel spike or a common steel nail can be used to determine the hardness of a mineral. Magnetism can be determined with a magnet or a compass. While trekking in the woods, it is advisable to always have a compass or a GPS device with you. They also make saving the sample locations and marking them in the terrain easier.

Plan your searching trips well in advance. In addition to a basic map, it is useful to find some geological maps of the planned search area as well. These can be found at GTK’s Hakku service, for example. The best places to search are areas where felling, drainage or road construction work has been done recently – or any other work that requires digging into the soil – since these areas tend to have plenty of exposed rocks and bedrock. While planning your routes, keep in mind proper forest etiquette and avoid areas near people’s houses and yards. Taking samples on a small scale is allowed under the Finnish mining legislation. It is polite to inform the landowner of the area you plan to search samples in and, if necessary, ask for their permission to collect the samples.

GTK annually rewards the hobbyists who send the best samples. Local ore finding competitions are also organised, with their own rules and prizes. You can participate in these competitions by delivering ore, construction stone, industrial mineral or gemstone samples.

Delivering a sample means you have a chance to win.


A magnet can be used to identify magnetic minerals, such as magnetite and pyrrhotite.

Viirun värin selvittäminen

The colour of a mineral’s streak can be determined by scratching the sample with a steel spike or making a streak on an unglazed porcelain surface (e.g. a ceramic fuse) with the sample. Photo Jari Nenonen, GTK.

Mineraalin kovuuden selvittäinen

The hardness of minerals varies. Hardness can be determined with an ordinary nail, for example.


Find out more about the tools used in amateur geology and learn to identify rocks and minerals with the Kivikone provided by Metso (in Finnish):

Useful links relating to geology: