NC Fossil Club Tar River Field Trip October 29th 2016.
Despite having about a third of those interested in the trip cancelling we still ended up with about six members present for the Tar River Field trip. The weather was absolutely perfect for fossil collecting and the river was no longer high due to the recent flooding.
After exchanging some pleasantries, the group made its way towards the river and after a bit of slipping and sliding we arrived at the cliff face. The recent storm had caused sections of the cliff containing fossil layers to break off and be deposited on the ground for easy access. We learned that raking through this loose material was the easiest way to find fossils.
Every person in the group found something interesting and at least a few buckets were hauled out full of bivalves. A few nice ecphoras were found as well as some fish vertebrae and teeth and even one beautiful limpet. It was a great day for fossiling with good people.
NCFC Old Dock Trip 5-7-16
We had a beautiful sunny warm day to collect ~2mya fossils from Old Dock, meeting first at the Master Mart on Rt. 130 and caravanning to the site. Libby Smalley expertly lead the trip when Linda McCall took the day for family matters, and Diane Willis wrapped it up at the end of the day. There were 17 of us collecting from 10:00am to 3:00pm, including four children. No mishaps occurred, the children all had a great time, and only one black snake was reported.
Many nice specimens were found, including coral, bryozoan, some large tulip shells, lightening whelks, other conchs and whelks, large clam shells (as well as many many smaller species), spindle shells, cones, olives, drills, venus, nutmegs, spiny jewel box shells, oysters, and lots of shells in general. Elizabeth found a whole sand dollar! Nate and Ken each found nice ~1” shark teeth, as did Terry with her somewhat smaller bull shark tooth. Jonathan prized his “chunks of everything” finds! Diane and Joe each found crab claws. Perhaps the most surprising find was Terry’s ~3/4” round regular echinoid in perfect shape! She identified it as Arbacia waccamaw. She also found eight fish skulls!
Rowan, Libby’s son, found two spiny jewel boxes, dozens of olive shells and several encrusted chunks of matrix. In searching for the micros, Libby found a few tiny murexes and other gastropods. She and Rowan both found three fish skulls. He sure had fun with all of us! Libby wishes she had snapped a picture of the beautiful alive crawfish Joe found. It was red/orange and large!
More photos to follow…
Greens Mill Run Fossil Collecting Trip-October 17, 2005.
The day started out quite cool and a couple of the planned participants ended up cancelling but those brave few that did show up at Greens Mill Run were ready to go. After a brief meeting where we briefly became acquainted with one another we headed to the creek. After feeling the water I decided it felt too cold and threw on a pair of waders.
We entered the stream in front of Green Springs Park which was not my original intent but turns out there was a Homecoming parade blocking my intended creek entry point. We fanned out and started to dig and screen. Finds were few and far between so I moved the group a few times hoping for better gravel. After about an hour the waders proved to be a mistake as I quickly became too warm. I should have known from past experience that the water in October is usually not too bad once you get used to it.
I fish fossil and a few worn teeth were all that was found after a couple hours so I made the decision to move the group upstream. Daryl Grater made the move with me but Ted and Cathy Harrell decided to persist in the current location and they did end up with 300+ teeth, belemnites, and some fish fossils. Daryl and I fared no better at our new spot though I did manage to find a nice Isurus hastalis tooth.
Since the creek wasn’t giving up much we all decided to call it quits about 2 o’clock. Despite the lack of finds the air was refreshing and it was a good day to get out and get some sun and meet some new fossil friends.
Walking through the washed out area, a large triangular shape jumped into my sight. Picking it up, I was holding the largest tooth I had ever found at this quarry, a 3 ½ inch megalodon. All serrations present, full root with a feeding damaged tip. Barely a foot away I spotted something else partially buried. Unearthing it, I realized it was the largest whale vertebrae I had ever seen from here. These were just two of the many great finds during our club trip to Belgrade on October 9th.
It was a beautiful day for collecting and in all, everyone left happy. New friendships formed and old ones rekindled. The trip was attended by 16 current club members and most everyone found something nice. David Sanderson left with a rare Maretia caolinensis; a spatangoid echinoid that has been found in huge numbers on Topsail Beach recently, but a rare find for the quarry. Other echinoids found were a few Echinocyamus wilsoni and Psammechinus carolinensis. Cindi Watt found a large spectacular Turritella fuerta , a very nice Carcharocles angustidens and a sawfish vert. Almost everyone found a Carcharocles angustidens tooth. Wayne Schutts found a beautiful mako tooth, probably Isurus hastalis. Mary Harbison found some nice Anoxypristis (sawfish) rostral teeth.There were many hemipristis and sand tigers found. One lucky member went home with a Galeocerdo casei, a rare Oligocene Tiger Shark found only in the Belgrade Formation. Croc teeth, shark verts and a variety of bivalves and gastropods filled out the collecting pouches.
There was also a father and son visiting the quarry from Virginia that found a very nice mammal molar and an exquisite Nebrius sp. Tooth. Though not club members, we all reveled in their finds.
Many thanks to the employees at the Belgrade quarry, especially Milton who sets the trips up for us and Ricky who oversees the event. Over the years they have bent over backwards to accommodate us and make sure access is there for the club. So the next time you are on a trip there, take the time to personally tell them thank you.
Following the Aurora Fossil Festival, several club members headed up to the Calvert Marine Museum to participate in the The Fossil Project's Citizen Science Symposium.
After a partial day of colelcting at Onslow Quarry, the group went down to Topsail Beach to try their luck.
I was pleased with the new area Martin Marietta provided us to hunt this year. The hunting area was rather small compared to years past but we had both Cretaceous (Peedee) and Eocene areas to hunt and found some great specimens. The April 10th trip had the advantage of hunting a spot that had only been hunted a few times. In the Peedee hill, Trish & Louis Kohler, Todd & Heather Power, Don Clements, Eric Sadorf all found mosasaur teeth. Don Clements found one of the new domed Hardouinia mortonis echinoids that have recently been discovered at Castle Hayne. Don Clements, Don Rideout and Jill Mitchell found very large slit shells (Entemnotrochus nixeus). Jill also found a near perfect Unifascia carolinensis echinoid. Trish & Louis Kohler, Oscar Jones and Don Rideout all found C. ariculatus. Don found three Linthia hanovernesis echinoids while Trish & Amber Jones found nautiloids (Eutrephoceras carolinensis). Both Don and Joanne Panek-Dubrock found Coelopleurus carolinensis echinoids.
The second trip on April 24th also provided some great specimens. We were able to hunt the same spot as the first trip and then relocate to a new area. Some notable finds from this trip were:
Linda McCall – two Agassizia wilmingtonica echinoids
Diane Willis – complete crab carapace – Eocene (Wilsonimaia sp)
Victor Krynicki – Squalicorax pristodontus sharks tooth
Jim Tunney – Nautiloid
Julie Niederkorn – Archaeocete whale root portion – Basiliotritus wardii ???
John Timmerman – Unifascia carolinensis echinoid
Tyler Schutts – Anomaeodus phaseolus tooth battery – This Cretaceous fish tooth battery is the most complete I’ve ever seen (please see image)
Travis Seymour – C. ariculatus tooth & Squalicorax tooth
Joanne Panek-Dubrock – Squalicorax tooth
David Sanderson – Cretaceous zip shell Rastellum (Arctostrea) aguilerae – Fairly complete!
Special thanks go out to David Wood and Martin Marietta for the opportunity to hunt this quarry.
Day 3 found the 5 of us at the Fort Drum Crystal Mine (aka – Rucks Pit), a farm field turned into a large collecting are where spoil piles of material are dumped from the nearby mine. Armed with a hose and digging tool of your choice, you pick a spot and start digging and washing. You were hunting for calcite-filled late Pleistocene/Early Pliocene fossil clamshells, minerals and other fauna.
"The deposit is actually a near-shore marine deposit that represents a former shoreline”, said Harley Means, assistant state geologist, Florida Geological Survey, Florida Department of Environmental Protection. The crystals form inside of the clam shells by a long process. "The calcite is dissolved from the fossil sea shells by acidic groundwater and then transported downward where it then reprecipitates inside the shells of the clams (called quahogs) and occasionally other mollusks," explained Means. Means further explained that the calcite crystals actually form just below the water table in water that is supersaturated with calcite (calcium carbonate).
Well, away we dug. Mark was the first to find a spectacular specimen, but by day’s end we all had beautiful pieces. This was despite the rain, which came on torrentially for over an hour – forcing us into our cars or under a wood awning, but the rain nicely washed off many specimens that we gladly walked around and picked up after the storm. Chickens, turkeys and ducks wandered at will and were fun to watch. Eddie was eager to show off the various things we might find and we ended the day shopping his warehouse for fossils and eggs (courtesy of all those chickens). It was a fun 3 days and we had plenty of great fossils to show for it.
Day 2 of the trip found us in Arcadia, FL, teaming up with Mark Renz to do some screening in the Peace River. Andy and Yvonne had only come along for the Quarry – so the 5 of us remaining were joined by a couple Mark had invited and together we all made our way down the bank and into the river. WOW! It was COLD! Mark showed us all the proper technique and we got down to some serious screening. Most of us worked in teams – one shoveling and the other holding the 2 screens. This seemed to work best. The water level was a little high, so it was better to have the taller of the two do the shoveling – lest the shorter person might find themselves underwater when leaning into a scoop!
We recovered lots of small shark teeth, including several good sized Hemipristis. We also found several puffer fish mouth plates, fish skulls, croc teeth, horse teeth sections, Indian beads (?), turtle plates, sturgeon scoots and broken pieces of bone. Despite the cool water, we stayed in for hours and hours – laughing and playing and digging – and practically had to drag our Mark and Becky out at the end of the day. We spread out our “finds” on a nearby picnic table and admired each other’s “catches”. All of us were feeling the muscle aches of so much shoveling and bending and looked forward to a hot bath and a soft bed that night.
It’s cold, it’s snowing and I’m cooped up inside and want to go fossil hunting. The solution? Go to Florida, of course!
And that is how a plan was hatched to go do some fossiling in Florida. By happenstance, Roger Portell of the University of Florida was taking a group into the SMR Quarry the 1st day of our planned trip. We were lucky enough to get to tag along.
Andy and Yvonne Kerek, Becky Guthrie, Earl Guertin, Ernest Klatt, Mark Kerns, Lynn Moore and I all arrived safe and sound in Sarasota, FL and were ready to go collecting on January 10, 2015. The quarry was immense and Roger a knowledgeable and helpful host. The Pliocene shell bed did not disappoint, with an amazing diversity of bivalves and gastropods, from huge horse conchs to tiny bivalves, with corals and bryozoans tossed in for good measure. All 22 participants found more than they could carry and many trips were made back and forth to the cars with loot. Then we got an even greater treat, as we were allowed to go to the bottom level of the quarry where the vertebrate material was found. Lots of whale bone and small shark teeth were recovered. The weather was great and the scenery was awesome – for a quarry.
After several hours of collecting we had to call it a day – but the fun wasn’t over yet. We took Roger and Co. to a late lunch at the nearby Stonewood Grill and Tavern, where we all had great food, fun and told fossil stories to our hearts content.
Seven crazy NC Fossil Club members showed up to hunt Hanson Quarry after it rained several inches the day before. The road in was a slippery, sloggy mess. We had to ditch all the cars at the entrance to the collecting area and only take up the trucks and 4 wheel drive vehicles and even then, our leader, quarry manager John Warlick, nearly got his truck stuck on the way up to the parking spot! We trudged to the collecting area and got to work. Todd Power found an awesome whale bulla; Terri Thomas a nice white shark tooth and an interesting crab claw; George Marrier cleaned up with a nearly intact large whale vert, several white shark teeth and really nice Chesapecten . I can’t remember who found the seal bone and nice crab claw, but they were really cool. The collecting turned out to be better than I thought it would be, but we all ended up looking like mud puppies by the time we left. Still – it was better than staying home and cleaning house!! Looking forward to going back.
Paleozoic invertebrates of Millard County Utah, May 28th-31st, 2014. NCFC Vice President, “JB” Bain, led a trip that included Brian and Brigid Kram and three of their young children (Kolbe, Aidan, and Agnes); Pam and Charlie Causey; Shelda, Richard, and Laura Aultman; and Dana Goodnight. On the first day, we collected diverse brachiopods and other inverts in the rich thanatocoenosis of Pseudozaphrentoides horn corals in the Pennsylvanian portion of the Ely Limestone in the northern portion of the Foote Range (Janus 2007, number 3; JB calls this site “the mythic graveyard, where horn corals went to die!”). After lunch, we collected crinoids, pelecypods, gastropods, tabulate and horn corals, bryozoans, and fragments of cephalopods and trilobites (“tri-low-bits-and-pieces”, mostly pygidia or “tri-low-butts”) in the Mississippian Chainman Shale at Conger Spring, near Conger Mountain (Janus 2006, number 2, and Janus 2007, number 3). Spoor of wild ponies was abundant at both sites. That night, we camped at Crystal Peak Pass (CPP), immediately north of Crystal Peak, in the elfin forest (Pinyon-Juniper woodland). On day two, we explored the Ordovician Pogonip Group, notably the Kanosh Shale, at CPP, where we found a variety of invertebrate species, many preserved in plates of carbonate hardground (Janus 2010, number 4). Cowboys and shepherds have camped at CPP since the Nineteenth Century, as evidenced by lavender glass shards and soldered cans left in their trash. The following two nights, we camped in Wheeler Amphitheater, House Range, and collected in the Middle Cambrian Wheeler Shale on public lands and at the U-Dig pay quarry. Pioneer geologist, Charles Walcott, camped here at the beginning of the Twentieth Century while doing ground-breaking work on the Cambrian of North America. On the night of May 29th, as JB was driving into the town of Delta to get cell-phone reception, he encountered a group of eight wild mustangs at the stand-pipe fed by Antelope Spring—this herd included two colts (Equus caballus). Non-fossil loot included calcite plates and dendrites. Most trilobites we found were the small- to medium-sized Utah state fossil, Elrathia kingii, and the similar Bolaspidella. Small, eyeless trilobites, Itagnostus (née Peronopsis) interstricutus, were locally abundant, as were primitive, univalve brachiopods superficially resembling fish scales (Acrothele subsida). We found a few big-honker trilobites, Asaphiscus wheeleri, a favorite species of the local diggers, including a museum-quality specimen found by one of the Kram children.
Just a few hardy souls made the trek from North Carolina to Oklahoma in October for the 4 day hunt (Linda McCall, Lynn Moore, Diane Willis, Carl Willis and Earl Guertin making up the collecting party).
The weather was wonderful, and we started the trip off by hunting a Silurian road-cut, Henryhouse Formation, with exotic corals (Amsdenoides acutiannulatus & Striatapora huronensis), tiny crinoid cups (Pisocrinus parvus) and interesting bryozoan and brachiopods. Just as we were leaving the site, Carl picked up the biggest complete trilobite I had ever seen come from there – and I have been there a lot! Way to go, Carl!
We left that spot and went in search of a new local in the town of Ada we had found in a publication. Thought we had found said spot in an open field, and were picking up a number of fossils when someone showed up and let us know that the field wasn’t open to the public – so much for THAT site – we apologized and headed back to the hotel and dinner at the Rib Crib. It was “all you can eat” rib night and we really did do them justice.
The next day was spent at Yellow Bluff, (Silurian – Henryhouse Formation) a lovely drive in through the fields, where everyone found trilobites, little crinoid cups and more brachiopods than you could shake a stick at. The biggest problem was deciding how much you wanted to carry back out to your car – which was a LONG ways off, through fields, and up and down the banks of a creek. Lucky for us – the creek was dry!
The next morning we made a brief stop at a road-cut for Ordovician, Bromide Formation paracrinoids where everyone managed to score at least one Oklahomacystis tribrachiatus, as well as some interesting bryozoan and bracs. Then we were off again on a wild drive through cow pastures, over rocks, through gates, dodging herds of cows, and fording a running creek until we reached our destination – White Mound, a famous trilobite locality, Early Devonian – Haragan Formation, where we stocked up on trilobites, trilo-bits and brachiopods. And, where I left my backpack…
Diane and Carl had to leave us at this point so, so Earl and Lynn and I went by ourselves to Geological Enterprises, a wholesale fossil dealer shop, run by Donna Russell, where we drooled over her wonderful array of fossils from all over the world – and even managed to find a few in our budget to bring back home with us.
The trip was “officially” over at this point, but we had one more potential site to try and find – a Permian locality we had directions for that none of us had ever been to. We managed to find the site, and it was more fun than a barrel of monkeys! Nearly all the specimens were crushed and/or broken – but we did manage to find an occasional intact toe bone or vertebra from long extinct reptiles and amphibians, as well as gobs of broken fresh water shark teeth. And some of them were BLUE! It was awesome.
It was a wonderful end to a wonderful trip. I can’t wait to go back.
Deborah Young led a NC Fossil Club trip into Onslow Quarry on Saturday November 8, 2014. A last minute attempt was made to see if the club could hunt in this quarry, and the club was granted access. A minimum of five people was required and fortunately there were just enough people to fill the slots. The weather was somewhat warm and very sunny. A new area was open for collecting. It was relatively small but productive for echinoids. There were recently placed berms to hunt and other flat areas around the quarry. There were plenty of sand dollars showing their glory. There were a few crab claws appearing in the same type of material and some small but broken up teeth in various areas. There were also echinolampas fossils. During the last hour of day we were able to hunt within the main part of another area of the quarry. There a variety of shark teeth (mostly fragments) available to collect. The best finds in this area of the quarry were a beautiful cow shark tooth or Hexanchus agassizi and a sawshark rostrum tooth or Pristis lathami. Photographs of the day are shown below. One unexpected find was a recent black bear paw print. A close by deer skeleton on which the vultures were feeding was an indicator of a recent snack for the bear. I’m glad the bear kept his or her distance during this hunt. I think we would have had a battle for the Hexanchus, if it came down to it, since I found the tooth near the paw print. See links for additional information on both the Hexanchus and Pristis. The club is extremely grateful to Onslow Quarry management for allowing us in the mine to collect.
Thirteen plucky NC Fossil Club members turned out for a perfect fall day of collecting the Yorktown Formation at Hanson Quarry in Rocky Mount. We have only been coming to this locality since April, but it is fast becoming a favorite. Though there is less to be picked up each time we go (the collecting area is small), wonderful things still keep popping up.
At least a couple nice white shark teeth are found each trip, as well as loads of fish vertebra and whale bone fragments. Toss in a couple crab claw sections, some really big Chesapectens, oysters, Emmonds Fish teeth (which are not teeth at all), Fish Skull parts, the occasional bird bone, sturgeon scute, whale bulla, whale vert, and/orseal bone and this site never ceases to amaze. It is small enough that the rest of the collectors are usually within earshot of each other, so the camaraderie is excellent too.
The site probably needs some time to weather after this trip, we picked it pretty clean.
Looking forward to hunting there again in 2015.
During the fall, David Sanderson led two collecting trips to Martin Marietta’s Castle Hayne quarry. The first was October 3rd and the second one was on took place on November 7th. Between the two trips, forty-one members participated. We lucked out on both trips with great weather. Unfortunately we had to halt hunting on each trip so the quarry could do a “shot”. We were fortunate that they could still accommodate our trips even when blasting at the quarry. As usual some great and rare specimens were found. As in the past, we hunted the back left corner of the quarry which offered a nice mix of Eocene and Cretaceous peedee.
After years of effort, Diane Willis finally found her prized and beautiful C. auriculatus. This specimen was absolutely perfect with both cusplets, a perfect tip and all serrations in place. (See image) Congratulations Diane! I found a very large “rick” that was missing the right root and both cusplets (nothing like Diane’s) At least four other C. ariculatus were found.
Some notable crab material was also found. Don Clements found several carapaces from the Cretaceous crab (Aveltemessus g.) (See image) Libby Smalley found a beautiful Eocarpilius blowi carapace – the best specimen I have seen (See field and cleaned up image) Libby also found two beautiful specimens of what appears to be a new variation to the Hardouinia mortonis (Echinoid) This specimen looks like a very domed version of H. mortonis. (See image)
Trish Kohler found a really nice cretaceous croc tooth and I found my best mosasaurus tooth. Al Klatt and Bob Willis found large Squalicorax pristodontus while Karen Marrier found a beautiful nautiloid (Eutrephoceras carolinensis) Linda McCall found a nice Coleopleurus carolinenesis (echinoid) in matrix. The usual echinoids, brachiopods, small sharks teeth and sand dollars were found by all.
Participants for the first trip were rewarded by Ramona Krailler. She handed out free Mazon Creek concretions. I still haven’t gotten around to splitting mine to see if I have a prize.
Special thanks go out to David Wood and Martin Marietta for the opportunity to hunt this quarry.
NC Fossil Club annual picnic, November 1st, 2014. The Aurora Fossil Museum kindly hosted our annual picnic, attended by 19 NCFC members plus two AFM staff. AFM’s Museum Educator, George Oliver, Jr., M.D., and NCFC’s Vice President, “JB” Bain, Ph.D., made brief presentations about recent developments in the non-profit AFM and NCFC organizations, after which the gang dined on subs and pizzas, drew lots for door prizes, and fossicked around in Miocene Pungo River Formation mine waste (“reject”). NCFC volunteers loaded a thousand pounds of Pungo reject into JB’s Subaru for later distribution to the public in North Carolina’s Piedmont and beyond.