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Monday, May 29, 2017

Fossil Adventure

Over the years I have collected rocks, crystals, and fossils (among other things too numerous to mention).  Beside fossils from western New York State, I also have collected specimens in northern New York State, central and southern Tennessee, and northern Alabama.

I had never attended a supervised fossil "dig" before. This long weekend provided the time, the place and the opportunity.  The weather was perfect, but spending 5 hours bending over in the hot sun might not have been the best idea.  I hope I never get too old for this...


This was the Sunday group:

See the experts in the center of the excavated pit, 
looking for the good stuff...

And this was my digging spot:


I found several species of horn coral, breaking some out of the shale matrix by hand.  I only bashed my finger once.  (Once was more than enough.)  A few  pieces were "weathered out" which meant just noticing them and picking them up:  grey fossils on grey rock.

Missing the first day of this event, I suspected that the newly-dug site had been well-picked over by a bigger crowd the day before.  If I had had the time and energy to go through one of the large piles of broken shale more thoroughly, I might have found more fossils to add to my collection.  As it was, I merely scratched the surface.

For a change of pace I wandered over other parts of the field where I picked up some intact fossilized shells, phosphate nodules, crinoid stems, one small coppery coiled cephalopod (which I accidentally dropped and couldn't find again, even while on my knees looking...) and some pyritized fossil bits which sparkled like gold in the sunshine.

My kind of fun!

I had collected slightly different fossils in an adjoining field some years ago and was just about to revisit the area when I noticed a healthy crop of poison ivy all along the access path through the woods.  Nix that idea! 

Note to self: wash pants and socks in hot soapy water after I get home.

One of the event assistants gave me a fossil hunting tip as I left: check out the creek for larger specimens.  Creek?  Now you tell me!  So of course I have to go back there, hopefully soon. 

2 comments:

Ryusho said...

Curious where this is. I've almost or somewhat almost settled in from my move from Charlotte to Syracuse. I've enough done to not feel guilty taking time off to explore my new home. There is much to explore and visiting a site such as this would certainly be interesting. I"ve never dug nor found fossils except when I lied in Hawaii but then they were mostly encrusted in lava. So, if you have a moment to respond about location it would be hugely appreciated, unless it's a guarded secret and I'd understand that certainly.

KR said...

Do an Internet search for Penn Dixie Paleontological and Outdoor Education Center for pertinent information. The fossil collecting site is situated between Hamburg and Blasdell south of Buffalo, NY.