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Just for fun, how would I go about lighting a fire with naturally shaped rocks by striking sparks? It might be useful if I were to camp in the far north, where there are no trees. What should I use for tinder? Do I have to find a certain kind of rock?

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This to me is so close to the other that I would consider them the same, as with no man made materials (no steel) the only method remaining is friction fire. If you feel this is substantially different, or unfair, catch me in chat and let's discuss. – Russell Steen May 3 '12 at 13:34
@Russell are there no naturally occurring ore veins of sufficient purity or other special circumstances that would make this possible? I don't know, but I wouldn't bet against it. – Mr.Wizard May 5 '12 at 2:07
@Mr.Wizard -- Quite possibly. My comment was more concerning the nearness of duplication, which jmusser has resolved with new wording. – Russell Steen May 5 '12 at 16:37
up vote 6 down vote accepted

Flint is your best bet and it sparks much better with steel than with a rock like iron pyrite. The better rocks you find, the less the tinder matters, but you will need something like a cotton ball or similar fine material that is very dry in most cases when you don't have actual steel and pure flint. Any old tinder will do - fungus, grass, wood splinters or mashed wood / sawdust.

Chalcedony (a chert form of quartz) and other flints are also very useful since you can make edged tools made of stone with enough skill and the proper raw materials. Jaspillite (or taconite as we call it in Minnesota) also will spark and has a high iron content.

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