Sunday, May 31, 2009

Brachiopod Paraspirifer bownockeri and Spinocyrtia

In addition to the New Albany Shale plants, brachiopods from Sylvania, Ohio (Lucas County) were brought in. These brachiopods have a really convex top shell that remind me of a shark fin. This one is called the Paraspirifer bownockeri found in the Silca Formation. It is from the Devonian period.
I think the red is pyritized part of the shell. Update: These last two pictures are of a brachiopod called Spinocyrtia.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Devonian Plants in the New Albany Shale

Here are some fossils given to me by a recent visitor to the Louisville area. He is known as the user Shamalama on website. If you have not had a chance you check out The Fossil Forum as an Internet source for fossil information.

I was not aware there were many fossils in the New Albany Shale layer and think of it as a time in the Middle Devonian period when the Louisville area was a dead water zone. It is thought that trees/plants drifted into this area from what is now Pennsylvania and New York.

I have found a number of papers on plants in the New Albany Shale layer when researching a question about the labeling of a plant fossil on the KYANA Geological Society website a while back.

The Structure and Classification of Four Plants From the New Albany Shale by J.H. Hoskins and A.T. Cross from American Midland Naturalist - November 1951. It says that four genera found in the black shales of the east central United States are: Callixylon, Asteroxylon, Protolepidodendron, and Reimannia.

Studies of New Albany Shale Plants. I. Stenokoleos Simplex Comb. by Charles B. Beck from American Journal of Botany - February 1960.

Studies of New Albany Shale. II. Callixylon Arnoldii by Charles B. Beck from Brittonia - October 15, 1962.

Studies of New Albany Shale. III. Chapelia Campbellii by Charles B. Beck from American Journal of Botany - September 1967.

Note splotches on some of the fossils is just water that has not yet evaporated after the rocks were cleaned. The pictures are of just two rocks each with fossil remains.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Silurian Coiled Cephalopod - Lituites marshi?

A cousin found this coiled Silurian cephalopod in the Louisville Limestone last week. I think it is about 10 cm in diameter. Wow, I only find orthoceras (straight) cephalopods and even then they are rare finds in the Silurian rock. This one was found in Louisville, Kentucky USA. This one might be a Lituites marshi (Hall) shown on Plate XXX Figure 1 in the 1889 Kentucky Fossil Shells - A Monograph of Fossil Shells of the Silurian and Devonian Rocks of Kentucky by Henry Nettelroth (1835-1887) at this University of Kentucky website (

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Unknown Trilobite Cephalons and Pygidiums

I have a cousin who works with a jackhammer in his job sometimes. As a result he comes across a number of interesting items in the rock layers of Louisville. Luckily, his brother took some pictures of his finds and gave me the images. These trilobite cephalons and pygidiums were found in either the Louisville limestone or Jeffersonville limestone layer in Louisville, Kentucky.

Usually, I associate the brown/tan/reddish chert like rock with the Devonian period and the grey-white like rock with the Silurian period.

This first image the pygidium shows signs of being a forked posterior. A Devonian trilobite that had a forked posterior was the Coronura. The cephalon looks pointed so maybe this is a Silurian Trimerus.

Here is a closer view of the cephalon shown in the last picture. Again it might be a Trimerus.

This rock looks to be Devonian and this pygidium looks worn. The apparent point at the end of the pygidium could be a Trimerus or Dalmanites?

Pointed cephalon makes me think Trimerus.

These next three pictures are of the same fossil. It appears the cephalon is 5-7 cm wide. I wonder if this could be Trypaulites in the Jeffersonville limestone?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A Dendrites Forest

My cousin gave me some pictures of these dendrites. It reminds me of looking down on little trees. He did not tell me if he or his brother found them but it is a nice find.

These manganese oxide deposits for the most part have a well defined form.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Productella spinulicosta - Devonian Spiny Brachiopod

UPDATE: I originally labeled this as a spiny snail but after more research it is a spiny brachiopod.  The descriptions have been now fixed.

Here is a Devonian brachiopod a friend found on his visit to Louisville. It has 5 spines visible and is around 2 cm in diameter. It is sharing rock with several brachiopods and a horn coral.

It appears to be a Productella spinulicosta (Hall, 1867) in the Jeffersonville Limestone.  Might also be known as Spinulicosta spinulicosta (how original).

According to this Kentucky Geological Survey page, the Jeffersonville Limestone is similar to the Onondaga Limestone of New York and the Grand Tower of Illinois (Savage, 1931).

Monday, May 25, 2009

Fossil Hunting on Memorial Day Weekend

I had a fun and educational experience on Sunday visiting with a fellow fossil enthusiast at a local Devonian roadcut. Here is a nice find of a spiny brachiopod. It looks to be a Productella spinulicosta (Hall) in the Jeffersonville Limestone. The partial brachiopod to its left in the picture is some sort of spirifer.

Large coral head embedded in the rock wall.

Large horn coral embedded into the wall.

Maybe a distant relative to the trilobite?

Calcite crystals where once a brachiopod existed?

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Turbinopsis shumardi or Pleuronotus decewi

Using the Fossils of Ohio (Bulletin 70: Ohio Division of Geological Survey; 1996) on page 154 in the chapter on Phyllum Mollusca, Class Gastropoda. I normally label the fossil shown in the pictures as Turbinopsis shumardi from the Jeffersonville Limestone.

I believe the Jeffersonville Limestone of Kentucky and Indiana corresponds to the Columbus Limestone in Ohio. The book describes "Pleuronotus decewi is a large, pseudoplanispirally coiled form that has sharp angulations forming the upper and lower margins of the whorls. It is also commonly preserved as an internal mold, which does not show the selenizone. The genus is restricted to the Devonian."

So maybe this snail could be the one described in the book? Ruler units are in centimeters.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Devonian Coral: Hexagonaria

These two images depict a Hexagonaria sp. coral found in Jefferson County, Kentucky. It is from the Jeffersonville Limestone. Units on ruler are in centimeters.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Indiana University Southeast Geoscience Department

Here are some pictures of samples from the Indiana University Southeast (IUS) Geoscience Department. I was there the other evening inquiring about how to donate some fossils. There is a Halysites chain coral that might look good in their display case with Silurian period fossils.

Dr. Glenn Mason gave me a quick tour of their labs and displays. He was a friendly and enthusiastic professor with degrees from Purdue University, IUS, and University of Wyoming.

He allowed me to take some pictures of some sample in their cutting/polishing lab. Here are some polished corallites of possibly an Ordovician colonial coral.

This is a picture of the outside of that coral. I liked that it still had intact septa showing, this can aid in its identification.
Here is a polished Devonian coral.

Here is a polished cross section of another Devonian coral. I have adjusted the contrast to make the fossils stand out better.

Another polished cut slab of Devonian rock with a lot of corals in it.

There are a number of display cases outside in the hallway with minerals, gemstones, fossils, rocks and bones. Dr. Mason is looking for donations of more display cases so a larger portion of IUS collection can be displayed. He seemed especially interested in showing off more of the local corals and fossils that existed in the southern Indiana and Louisville, Kentucky area.

Just a note that residents of Louisville, Kentucky and Jefferson County, Kentucky and attend IUS put only pay Indiana in-state rates due to an agreement with Louisville schools (University of Louisville).

If there is enough interest, he offered to give KYANA Geological Society members a tour on some weekend.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Fossils Found in Crawford County, Indiana - March 2008

Here are some pictures I found from a trip in March 2008 to a road cut in Crawford County, Indiana. It is a fun place to hunt for fossils from the Mississippian or Lower Carboniferous period. You will need to do some climbing though.

Unknown trilobite pygidium found in the Indian Springs Shale of the Big Clifty Formation in Crawford County, Indiana.
UPDATE (2020/02/15): Maybe a Kaskia chesteriensis or Paladin chesteriensis.

Unknown horn corals from the Mississippian period.
UPDATE (2020/02/15): Maybe a Zaphrentites spinulosa or Amplexi zaphrentis?

Unknown crinoid stem with a number of branch stubs.

Unknown crinoid calyx pieces. UPDATE (2020): Maybe Phanocrinus or Bicidiocrinus?

Archimedes sp. from the Upper Mississippian period found in the Indian Springs shale.

Cymbiocrinus (Kirk, 1944) crinoid calyx in plate with crinoid stem pieces.

Blastoids that are probably Pentremites sp. (Say) found in the Indian Springs shale in Crawford County, Indiana.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Ordovician Clam: Caritodens demissa

The following pictures show an Ordovician period clam called Caritodens demissa (Conrad, 1842). This clam was found in eastern Jefferson County, Kentucky (just outside of Louisville, Kentucky). It was found in the Grant Lake Formation. Part of clam is still embedded in the rock matrix. The fossil is about 4 cm wide and 3.5 cm long. The Fossils of Ohio book says on page 139 this clam is common. It describes it as "a large species distinguished by auricles (large winglike extensions of the hinge), strongly developed comarginal ridges, and the lack of any radial ornamentation." A picture can be found in the book at Figure 12-1.1. Here is a link to another fossil found on the KYANA Geological Society website. This might be one at this link at the Kentucky Paleontological Society website. This link on the Dry Dredgers website shows a number of Caritoden pelecypods they have found. Learn more about this pelecypod fossil at one of my other postings.