The beauty of metal detecting and treasure hunting is that you will never know what treasures you could stumble into. It is always a surprise once you uncover your finds. Some might be valuable and others are just pieces of trash. Regardless, that is part of the fun that comes with this hobby. But there is one particular type of find that many are curious to find – yooperlites. Find out what it is and why it’s something that hobbyists are hoping to find in their hunting sessions.
What Are Yooperlites?
A yooperlite is not just any type of rock; it is the coolest rock you will ever see in your life. During the day, you might stumble into this during one of your metal detecting sessions and think nothing of it. But when night falls, that is when you will truly appreciate and admire this piece of “gem”.
It was in 2017 when Erik Rintamaki first encountered yooperlites during one of his hunts along the shores of Lake Superior in Michigan. He discovered these Syenite rocks that contained a highly fluorescent Sodalite. This chemical composition caused the rock to have a campfire-coal orange like glow and it is very bright. In fact, you need to use UV light in order to see this glow.
This characteristic makes it very unique and highly sought after by metal detecting enthusiasts!
Where to Look
This is the most important question you need to address if you want to be able to successfully find these glowing rocks. The first documented sighting of these rocks is in Lake Superior near Michigan in the US. Therefore, you will have better luck if you live near the area and search close to the site.
You can also look for areas near the beach in the Upper Peninsula, as well as the Keweenaw Peninsula. There are also many other hobbyists who claim to have found them in gravel pits in Minnesota and in some areas in Chicago.
In your quest to find these rocks, make sure to always observe proper ethical behavior. Never take anything from National Parks or heritage sites. It is also unethical to search through private property unless you get permission and approval prior to hunting.
Tips for Finding Them
Want to increase the odds of finding yooperlites? Follow these tips so you can make your search a successful one:
- Pick the right time to do your search. Twilight to the night is the best time to find Yooperlites. Use your UV flashlight to shine towards the rocks. Once the UV light hits the rocks, it will produce a campfire coal glow so you can recognize it instantly from other rocks.
- Scan the area slowly. This is important when you are scanning an area with plenty of rocks. It is easy for your eyes to miss these rocks if you are not paying close attention. As soon as you spot a bright orange flash, it indicates that you have found the rocks you are looking for.
- Retrace your steps. Some rocks do not glow unless you hit them with UV light at the right angle. Make sure you scan the same area from a new angle so you can potentially find rocks that you missed the first time.
- The best time to find these rocks are during spring and fall. The rocks get flipped following the melting of the ice from the winter. That is why it is a great time to go looking for these rocks.
Tools to Help You Find Yooperlites
Unlike coins, jewelry, and other lost objects, you would not normally find yooperlites just walking around on the beach or by the lake. This type of rock would normally look like any other stones lining the beach – there is nothing that would indicate it is unique from other rocks out there.
For this reason, you need to arm yourself with the right set of tools and equipment during your treasure hunting. The following is a list of the equipment you need to help you find these glowing rocks.
1. UV Flashlight
The most important piece of equipment you need to find yooperlites is a UV flashlight. You simply cannot go hunting for them without this tool. There are plenty of them in the market and they vary in terms of price and features.
One of the best models in the market is the Convoy C8. This is the go-to option for many treasure hunters who are specifically in search of these rocks. This is the same UV flashlight that was used by Erik Rintamaki when he found these rocks. This flashlight comes with a patented glass filter that enables the maximum amount of UV to pass through. The exposure to UV light enables the reactive substance on the rock to really shine and make them easily visible.
When buying a UV light, choose ones that are rated 365nm to increase your chances of finding these rocks. When the UV waves from the flashlight react with the Sodalite that is in the rock, this triggers a reaction that creates that bright glow.
2. UV Sunglasses
You also need sunglasses when looking for these glowing rocks. This is for your own safety because the UV wavelengths can be harmful to your eyes. You should never look directly into the UV light so wearing these glasses will enable you to handle the glow without causing damage or fatigue to your eyes.
3. Small Bag
You can take any regular backpack you have or a storage bag. You need a bag to store your finds and make it easy to carry on your way back home. A bag that is made of mesh material is the ideal choice for hunting these rocks. It is a breathable material so it dries out the rocks quickly, plus it helps to easily get rid of any loose soil that is collected along with the rocks you dig out.
In addition to the aforementioned tools when finding yooperlites, you can bring other practical hunting tools such as a LED headlamp, walkie-talkie, bug spray, waterproof shoes, and bottled water.
Treasure hunting and metal detecting are all about the fun and excitement of discovery. If you would like to stumble into yooperlites during your session, make sure you use the right set of equipment and are looking at the right place.