Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A Good Reason to Join KYANA Geological Society

We did a little house cleaning and the USB Kodak transfer cable was found in a drawer. I have been looking for this cable for about a year because the some pictures from a geology field trip was stored in the Kodak digital camera's internal memory. So these pictures were taken in April 2008 as KYANA Geological Society had their quarry field trip into a local quarry located in Clark County, Indiana. The area of the quarry we went to that day was full of Devonian fossils (horn corals, colonial corals, byrozoans, Phacops trilobites, button corals, gastropods, and other fossils). We also found geodes and pyrite in the New Albany Shale layer.

Our society gets to collect there because we have group insurance and are conscious about safety. Hopefully, our quarry trips will begin soon now that the weather is warming up.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Silurian Chain Coral Called Halysites

Here is a Silurian index fossil called Halysites or chain coral. It is part of the hands on exhibit in the Discovery Gallery at the Louisville Science Center where I volunteer. The specimen does not have a label as to where it is from but it looks like ones I find in the area so it could be from Jefferson or Clark counties in this area.

I found a description of this coral in a a book stored at books.google.com entitled "An Introduction to the Study of Fossils (Plants and Animals) by Hervey Woodburn Shimer published in 1914. From pages 137-138, "Coral compound, composed of long, laterally compressed corallites, and covered by peritheca. Septa absent or represented by spines; tabulae numerous. Between each pair of corallites is a small tube. Budding occurs only from one side and the young corallites remain in contact with the parent by a constricted edge, thus forming chains, in which each corallite is a link (whence the common name, "chain-coral," from the Greek halysis, chain)."

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Club Moss Root Fossil at Louisville Science Center

Here is a specimen from the Discovery Gallery hands on fossil exhibit at the Louisville Science Center. It is labeled as a 'Club Moss Root' but no location or time period included. I do not know much about fossilized plants but most of the fossils I have seen are from the Mississippian or Pennsylvanian periods (Carboniferous).

Research at this site about club mosses they were known as lycophytes of the genus Lycopodium (lycos Greek for wolf and pous Greek for foot).

I did not have a ruler but the specimen seemed to be about 15 cm long and 6 cm in diameter.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Trilobite at Louisville Science Center - Elrathia kingii?

Here are a series of pictures taken of an imprint(?) of trilobite in the hands on activities in the Discovery Gallery of the Louisville Science Center. This trilobite does not look like anything I have found in the Louisville, Kentucky or southern Indiana area. Also I first thought the blackish rock was some sort of coal but after examining it seems pretty hard. The last picture shows the cut marks of probably a diamond circular saw blade.

Since it was an unknown trilobite to me I consulted the BEST trilobite fossil site on the internet Sam Gon III's http://www.trilobites.info/. It appears to me after looking at his drawings and images on the site, this speciment might be an Elrathia kingii. Specifically, the site lists it as Order: Ptychopariida, Suborder: Ptychopariina, Superfamily: Ptychoparioides, Family: Ptychopariidae. The site has a picture gallery with references to pictures on another site http://www.trilobite.com/ which sells Elrathia kingii trilobites that lived during the Middle Cambian in Utah. Also I believe it or another site noted that this trilobite is the most common one sold today that is intact.

Click on pictures to view larger version.

Part of the pygidium is missing. I count 12 thorax segments.

Bottom of plate that contains the trilobite. Rock is almost black to very dark gray in color.

Side of rock plate containing trilobite with maybe diamond blade cut marks. This specimen could have been part of a large group and was sold as an individual piece. If I had to guess, the trilobite size is about 3 cm long and 2 cm wide.

Blue Brachiopods Shell Fragments from Lake Cumberland, Kentucky

Here are some fragments of brachiopod shells from the Mississippian period. They are from the Lake Cumberland, Kentucky region. Mixed in with crionoid fragments they are part of the Fort Payne formation.

The shells are not quite as worn as ones from earlier posts.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Ordovician Snail: Paupospira bowdeni

Reading from the book A Sea without Fish, I discovered this snail is now known by a new name and also its location is pretty famous and unique. This gastropod (snail) was called Loxoplocus bowdeni but is now known as Paupospira bowdeni (page 125). It was found in Trimble County, Kentucky, USA in the Marble Hill Bed (Rowland Member of the Drakes Formation which is equivalent to the top of the Waynesville Formation). This information was documented by W.C. Swadley in 1979 in a paper entitled "The Marble Hill Bed: An Offshore Bar-Tidal Channel Complex in the Upper Ordovician Drakes Formation of Kentucky" in United States Geological Survey Professional Paper 1126-D. I cannot find the paper on JSTOR, it is listed as a reference to several papers I found.

The location described in the A Sea without Fish book, says the rock lenses with snails species: Paupospira bowdeni, Paupospira tropidophora (Meek), and Paupospira moorei (Ulrich) (page 127). I know what the first one looks like but the other two are somewhat of a mystery. They have a picture of Paupospira moorei on page 122 but it is covered by the tabulate coral Protaraea richmondensis.

The Marble Hill Bed seems to have been named by D.D. Owen in 1859 in a report entitled, "Report of a geological reconnaissance of the state of Indiana made in the year 1837 part 1" page 63. A document (Lithofacies of the Cincinnati Series) found here describes this location as a Gastropod Coquina. It also says that bryozoan and Hebertella brachiopod fragments could be found. I did find a nice brachiopod on the trip but I found a number of cephalopod fragments with the snails. This specimen was about 4 cm long but the papers say they get to be 5 cm in length at this location.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Ordovician Pelecypod - Ambonychia

I am continuing to read the book A Sea without Fish by David L. Meyer and Richard Arnold Davis about Ordovician fossils published in January 2009. Here are some pictures of a pelecypod (clam) from Trimble County, Kentucky. It is interesting because in their book they deal mostly with Ohio locations but they mention the site this fossil came from on pages 125-129. Their focus is on the gastropod beds in the Marble Hill Bed Rowland Member of the Drakes Formation (Katian - Richmondian) but I found this a layer below that.

What is nice about this fossil is the aragonite shell is pretty much intact. It appears this is somewhat of a rare occurrence. Usually, just a mold is left as they say in the book (pages 129-130) the shell must have had a high content of organic material. Using the Fossils of Ohio book and A Sea without Fish, this clam must be Ambonychia sp. Meyer and Davis refer to this pelecypod as an Epibyssate form which is one that "is attached to objects that are beneath the actual sediment-water interface of the sea floor."(page 284). I guess this would be opposed to ones that burrowed into the sediment.

This specimen is about 1 cm wide and 1.8 cm long. I found another that was 2.9 cm wide and 3.9 cm long but it was just a mold with on partial shell line impressions left at the back end of the clam .

You can see some other fossils found in Trimble County, Kentucky at the KYANA webpage on Ordovician fossils.

Note the pictures can be clicked on it make them show up larger.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Foerstephyllum Colonial Coral

Here is a colonial coral from the Upper Ordovician time period. It was found in eastern Jefferson County, Kentucky. It is probably 14 cm in diameter. It is probably some sort of Foerstephyllum (Bassler, 1941) from the extinct Tabulata coral group. There is a relatively new book entitled A Sea Without Fish - Life in the Ordovician Sea of the Cincinnati Region by David L. Meyer and Richard Arnold Davis with a chapter by Steven M. Holland. This type of coral is shown pages 76-78. They have a picture of an octagonal tool house built sometime in the early 1900s that is composed of colonial corals from the Richmondian coral beds in Madison, Indiana. The structure can be found in John Paul Park in Madison, Indiana. They also cite the work of Ruth Browne on these types of coral. Ruth was a Louisville geologist who did some research back in the 1960s and 1970s in this area.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Trilobite Phacops rana

Most common trilobite I find in the area is the Phacops rana from the Devonian period. They are found in the Jeffersonville Limestone in Clark County, Indiana.

This first picture is of molts of the pygidium (tails) and cephalon (head).

The next picture shows the bottom of the trilobite with a prominate feature showing the cephalic border.

Here is an enrolled thorax of trilobite and this one is probably not a molt.

Looking at the Maryland Geological Survey Middle and Upper Devonian, Baltimore, The John Hopkins Press, 1913 the Phacops rana was named by Green in 1832? and maybe described by Hall in 1861. The description is "General form elongate suboval; greatest width (measured at the posterior margin of the cephalon) to axial length as 1 to 2; the cephalon, thorax, and pygidium are to one another in length as 1.5 to 2 to 1. Cephalon subsemicircular, the regularity of the outline interrupted by the slight protrusion of the glabella and the genal extremities, frontal margin obscure, concealed by the overhanging glabella; facial sutures rarely discernible; glabella large, gibbous, outline subpentagonal, greatest width anteriorly, posterior furrow extending clear across the glabella; cheeks abruptly sloping to the margin, narrowing anteriorly and reflected ventrally to form the doublure; eyes prominent, scarce reaching the height of the glabella in uncompressed specimens, visual area lunate, separated from the cheek by a strong, smooth sulcus, average number of lenses in normal adults is between forty and fifty for each eye.
Thorax subquadrate, lateral margins slowly tapering, surface strongly trilobate; axis flattened at the margins, evenly convex in the middle, widest at the third or fourth segment, tapering very slowly to the ninth, and thence much more rapidly to the pygidium; pleurae flat for about one-third their width from the axis and thence abruptly deflected to the margin, each segment bears a furrow which becomes obsolete at the fulcrum. Pygidium relatively small, regularly and evenly rounded margin the posterior part of which forms the arc of a circle; axis composed of nine annulations, rapidly and evenly tapering from the last segment of the thorax, reaching an acute termination just within the posterior margin; pleurae seven in number, broad, depressed-convex, and sloping evenly to the posterior margin. Surface of the test ornamented with tubercles, which are largest and most closely set upon the glabella."
It goes on to say that mostly heads or tails are found in Maryland which would be the molts. The holotype is stored with the State Paleontologist of New York.

Blue Brachiopod Fossils from Lake Cumberland, Kentucky

This shell is quite worn of a brachiopod found at Lake Cumberland, Kentucky.

The fossils are usually blue but this one is more light blue.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Eroded Devonian Horn Coral

Here is an eroded Devonian horn coral found in the Jeffersonville Limestone located in Jefferson County, Indiana.

It is propped up by a piece of coal.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Favosites sp. Colonial Coral

Here is a fairly large coral plate maybe 12 cm across from the Jeffersonville Limestone found in Jefferson County, Kentucky. I believe this to be some sort of Favosites coral from the Devonian period. Some of it might be wet since I took these pictures soon after cleaning the fossil off. The pictures in order show the coral from a top, side and bottom view.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Devonian Heliophyllum Horn Coral

Here is a fragment from two different views of a horn coral. I think it is a Heliophyllum because of the little beads remaining on its septal lines. Found a couple of days ago in the Jeffersonville Limestone layer in Jefferson County, Kentucky. That means this little sea creature is from the Devonian period.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Mid-America Paleontology Society Fossil Expo - April 3-5, 2009

If you like fossils then you should check out the Mid-America Paleontology Society (MAPS) Fossil Expo held on the campus of Western Illinois University at Macomb, Illinois.

The keynote speaker will be Dr. William Ausich of Ohio State Univerity speaking about "These are not the Crinoids Your Granddaddy Knew".


See their link for all the information about how to get there and contact information:


  • Friday, April 3 - Show Floor Hours 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., Keynote presentation at 7pm (see above).
  • Saturday, April 4 - Show Floor Hours 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., MAPS regular business meeting 6pm, Live Auction at 7pm.
  • Sunday, April 5 - Show Floor Hours 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 noon.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Cymbiocrinus Crinoid Calyx

Here is a very small (5 mm in diameter) crinoid calyx from Crawford County, Indiana. Using University of Kentucky Dr. Chesnut's webpage I believe it is called Cymbiocrinus (Kirk, 1944) and is from the Mississippian period. It has a nice brownish-tan tint which gives it move visual depth. This is the bottom of the calyx where it attached to the stem and on the other side only small fragments of its arms remain. It is still embedded in a rock fragment with a lot stem pieces.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Blue Brachiopods of Lake Cumberland, Kentucky

The last visit KYANA Geological Society made to the Lake Cumberland, members came across blue brachiopods. This creature must be from the Mississippian or Lower Carboniferous time period. The fossils appear to be in the Fort Payne formation.

It also appears some beekite patterns are on parts of the shell imprint

Dr. Don Chesnut has a number of fossil images from this time period in Kentucky's history. See his site here: http://www.donchesnut.com/travels/geology/geologypictures.html#fossils

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Alethopteris - Pennsylvanian Plant

This fossil is not from the Louisville area but I think my cousin bought it at the Falls of the Ohio fossil festival (http://www.fallsoftheohio.org/fossil_festival.shtml) which is in the Louisville area.

According to its label, it is a Alethopteris from the Pennsylvanian Period. It was found in the Strangter formation in Ottawa, Kansas.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Silurian Cephalopod - Dawsonoceras amycus

This is one of my favorite fossils in my small collection. It is a Dawsonoceras amycus? Silurian Period cephalopod shell fragment. It was found in the Waldron Shale of Clark County, Indiana. It has an added bonus with what appears to be a black crinoid holdfast attached to its shell.  It might be Eucalyptocrinites crinoid.

The inside of the shell is now quartz. On the outside, sinusoidal lines still exist showing the growth lines of the creature. The shell is marked by distinct ridges (5 visible in this picture) that also set this specimen apart from other types of cephalopods I have found.

Using my Fossils of Ohio (Bulletin 70 Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Geological Survey, Rodney M. Feldmann, Editor, 1996) reference book page 172 in chapter 14 entitled Phylum Mollusca, Class Cephalopoda, it says that cephalopod fossils have not been studied seriously in the United States in more than 50 years and only good identifications can be made on Middle Ordovician European fossils.

It goes on to describe the Dawsonoceras as "a longiconic nautiloid that is orthoconic or slightly curved. It is characterized by conspicuous transverse ridges called annulations."

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Silurian Period Cystiphyllum Horn Coral

Here is a Cystiphyllum niagarense? horn coral from the Middle Silurian Period found in central Jefferson County, Kentucky. Corals like this are found in the Louisville LimestoneCyst is from the Greek kystis meaning sac, pouch or bladder. The horn coral appears to have been covered with small bubbles or sacs. You can see the small places showing the little areas on top of the horn coral.

Identification from Erwin Stumm's Silurian and Devonian Corals of the Falls of the Ohio pp. 51-52 (description) and plate 6 pp. 96-97.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Aulacophyllum Horn Coral

Here is a Devonian coral called Aulacophyllum. It was found in central Jefferson County, Kentucky. It looks pretty worn and is about 6 cm long.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Cystiphyllum Horn Coral

Cystiphyllum horn coral from the Silurian Period. It was found in central Jefferson County, Kentucky in the Louisville Limestone. One key to identifying this specimen are little circles that looks like bubbles were once there.

 Identification from Erwin Stumm's Silurian and Devonian Corals of the Falls of the Ohio pp. 51-52 (description) and plate 6 pp. 96-97.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Mississippian Horn Coral

Here is a Mississippian horn coral found in Crawford County, Indiana. It is small maybe 3 cm in height.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Coral - Thamnoptychia alternans

Here is a tabulated coral called Thamnoptychia alternans from the Devonian Period. It was found in Clark County, Indiana.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Crinoid Stem Eucladocrinus

Here is a piece of the crinoid stem called Eucladocrinus. It existed in the Mississippian Period. This one was found in Floyd County, Indiana.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Bryozoan Archimedes

Here is an Archimedes bryozoan from the Mississippian Period. It was found in Crawford County, Indiana. It has a great form that reminds one of the spiral of today's wood screw.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Button Coral Hadrophyllum orbignyi

Here is a button coral called Hadrophyllum orbignyi (Edwards & Haime, 1851) from the Devonian Period. It was found in Clark County, Indiana. It is about the size of an American dime. It appears this fossil was named after Alcide d'Orbigny, the French naturalist from the early to mid 1800s. While young he studied marine creatures under the microscope called foraminiferans. In 1840, he described fossils in France in a book called La Paleontologie Francaise. Oddly, Wikipedia does not list this fossil as one of the species named in his honor (checked 03/8/2009). 

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Crinoid Calyx Eretmocrinus

Here is the calyx (top part of) a crinoid that existed in the Mississippian or Carboniferous Period. This one was found at Lake Cumberland, Kentucky. It was called Eretmocrinus.

Blastoid Pentaremites welleri

Here is a blastoid called Pentaremites welleri that existed in the Mississippian or Carboniferous Period. This one was found in Indian Springs Shale located in Crawford County, Indiana.