Is there an iNaturalist for rocks?

My kids have suddenly developed a fasciation with rocks. One whacked a rock with a hammer, opened it up, and found a fossil inside. A. I’d love to be able to identify it. And B., I’d love to be able to identify the rocks the boys are finding and exploring. Any tips would be most welcome.

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I haven’t used it, and I’ve heard the social aspect is not as robust as iNat, but I think is the closest thing out there.


Unless I’m mistaken the fossil can be a valid iNat observation. There just may not be a lot of identifiers checking on extinct taxa.



Rockd is great but you are correct the social aspect is kinda lacking. But if you just want to log observations or find something specific, it is useful.


There is an app which makes data collection easy but I dont think it is kid friendly. The name is Field Geologist. There are some functionalities which help with identification. For North America there are a lot of public websites where you can get the bedrock and surface deposits maps. It is problably the same for the rest of the world but I never had to get them so I am not 100% positive about it. The USGS has a lot of good resources.


You can upload it to iNaturalist, but please vote “no” for “recent evidence of organism” in the observation’s data quality assessment after uploading to make it a casual grade observation.


you might also be interested in mindat


I can second that recommendation. It is my go-to for rock and mineral info. They don’t have the same sort of observation system, but you can upload pictures and location data. Mindat has also recently started incorporating fossils as well, so there is some overlap.


There are a few projects out there, though I’m unaware of an option that will get the amount of attention as a regular iNat observation (I’ve attached links to some similar discussions that have several platforms mentioned). There are also some paleontology groups on Facebook that may be able to help with ID.


hmm, not all fossils are necessarily extinct species. There are fossils of living species. Still, I’m sure you are right that getting an ID might be quite challenging for fossil evidence. :face_with_monocle:


Lacking “recent evidence of organism” doesn’t mean extinct. If, for example, you find a dead beech tree with old scars from a bear’s claws on the bark from when the tree was alive it should probably be marked as lacking “recent evidence of organism”.

I don’t know if iNat has made any determination on what time-frame “recent” falls into for the purposes of observations though.

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~100 years:



Howdy, raphael1c!

Why not take a photo of your fossil and post it here, in the “Nature Talk” section of the forum?

(Any clues you can offer about where it was discovered will probably help, too.)

I’ll wager you 1 :heart: that some iNaturalist forum user will be able to help you with an answer.

Have fun exploring!

1 Like looks promising for fossil enthusiasts.

And I 2nd rockd for general geology app.

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This forum is specifically not for identification help, even for things which iNat doesn’t cover, so please don’t upload fossil photos here.

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I have been wondering if there is something for rocks, minerals, and fossils. I am a long time fossil hunter and I have been one since I was six years of age. I sometimes go on fossil hunts and often times I just accidentally come across them not really looking for them. I wish they could add an extension or something to it. That would be cool to document the things that were once here. Maybe not the dinosaurs unless you were using it at a dig site or something but the things from the ancient sea ways and all of that would be pretty cool. I have collected plants, and other kinds of fossils and there is so much that people may not know existed in some of the areas. Texas like a lot of places is rich in marine fossil. They seriously need to add something for prehistoric lifeforms so that way you can get a whole 360-degree view of life back then and to now. I am glad you brought this up. They really should make something for rocks and minerals. I just got out of my first Geology class a few weeks ago and made a B but I have been interested in continuing my rock and mineral ID stuff. This is a great subject. They really need something like this on the radar. I know they mainly have some stuff that is just basic ID but like something in terms of iNaturalist I have not seen. I check back a lot for new geology apps and stuff since I am really big into prehistoric life as well as the modern insects and other life. That would be pretty cool though to get something like that started. You might want to check with a local Paleontological society or a rock and mineral group and see what they can come up with. That is just my two cents worth.