Tuesday, March 30, 2010

West Virginia Brachiopods

These pictures of brachiopod fossils are from the West Virginia-Virginia border off I-64 exit 183? (Monroe County, WV). They were sent to me by a reader named David who was wondering about their identification. He writes they are similar to fossils he find in the Ordovician formations of Craig County, Virginia. If any one knows of what they might be, please post a comment.

The 2nd and 3rd images remind me of muscle scars on the inside of a brachiopod shell.  The fourth imprint looks like a Hebertella.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Mills Geological of Creston, California

Mostly I like to buy used reference books about paleontology published after 1927 that relate to fossils I am studying.  So when I saw a list of used library books for sale on the Paleolist, a number of books on the list peaked my interest.  The seller was Jim Mills of Mills Geological of Creston, California.  One should be cautious about ordering items on the Internet but after some research showing other transactions had taken place with this company and the organization had been in existence since 1992, I felt comfortable.  The two books ordered were: a collection of bound Tennessee Geological Bulletins from the 1930s (my interest was Bulletin 41 - A Preliminary Report on the Foraminifera of Tennessee by Joseph A. Cushman) and the other book Texas Cretaceous Echinoids by Rosemary E. and Thomas J. Akers of Houston Gem and Minerals Society 1987.

Both books arrived very securely packed via the United States Postal Service (USPS) and in good shape.  The speed that the USPS moves letters and packages at the prices charged is impressive.  After this transaction, I found Mills Geological a good place to deal with.  They have a website that seems focused on polished petrified wood but also "The Bookshelf" section with more used books one can buy: www.MillsGeological.homestead.com

After briefly looking at the bulletin on Tennessee Foraminera, the study was based on two counties in the southwestern part of the state near the Mississippi border in 1929.  The researchers were looking for formaninifera of the Eocene and Cretaceous Periods.  They did not find very many fossils in the Eocene but were surprised by the number found in the Cretaceous and how similar they were to ones found in Texas and Europe.  The fossils were found in the Selma Chalk similar to the Texas Navarro formation (European equivalent: Maestricetian).

Mention of Texas fossils, leads to the other publication on Texas Cretaceous Echinoids.  It is a 143 page guide.  It starts out with an introduction to the fossils and Texas map showing the area where they are found.  A stratigraphic unit chart is provided which by the way shows the Upper Cretaceous Navarro Group in the Gulf Series.  The book has additional sections on echinoid distribution, fossil preservation, classification, morphology, illustrations, identification guide, descriptions and drawings of Texas enchinoids, localities, references, and indexes.

Both are nice additions to my library.

Ben E. Clement Mineral Museum

This unknown fossil (bone?) was found near the fluorite mines of Marion, Kentucky.  My cousin sent me this picture while visiting the Ben E. Clement Mineral Museum last weekend.  He told me it is a great museum to visit in an out of the way part of Kentucky.  They had a fossil displays as well at the museum including the one of corals and petrified wood in the following picture.

Of course, they have mineral specimens from around the world including this vivianite spray from Bolivia and blue fluorite from Bingham, New Mexico.

The main attraction is the fluorite and the Marion mines produced it!  Here are some specimens from around the area.

If you are interested in finding out more, below is information about upcoming mineral digs and their annual show.

Dig Fluorite and related minerals during the day and fluorescent minerals at night.

Scheduled Digs for 2010
  • April 17
  • May 15
  • June 5th & 6th (during museum's annual gem & mineral show)
  • July 10
  • August 7
  • September 11
  • October 9
Pre-registration is required, so register early as space is limited to the first 30 people per date. Registration forms can be found on their website. They also schedule private digs for groups of 10 or more people.

For More Information Contact:

The Ben E. Clement Mineral Museum
PO Box 391 Marion, KY 42064
Phone: (270) 965-4263
E-mail: beclement@kynet.biz
Website: clementmineralmuseum.org

5th Annual Ben E. Clement Gem, Mineral, Fossil, & Jewelry Show
June 5-6, 2010
Historic Fohs Hall
201 North Walker Street
Marion, KY
(Next door to the museum)

Events & Activities
  • Museum Tours Event Speakers
  • Vendor Tables Silent Auctions
  • Day and Night Digs
  • Children’s Activities
  • Hourly Door Prizes
Show Hours
Saturday 9 AM-5 PM
Sunday 11 AM - 5 PM

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Cretaceous Ammonite

This picture is of a fossilized Mortoniceras sp. ammonite. It was found Duck Creek Formation of Fort Worth, Texas and is from the Upper Cretaceous Period.

Note the prep work that has uncovered the suture pattern.

Thanks to Herb for the image.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Cretaceous Shark Teeth Fossils

Pictures shown in this posting are from Cretaceous Period (145-65 million years ago). The fossils were found in the Fort Worth, Texas area.

This first tooth belonged to the Cretoxyrhina mantelli (aka Ginsu Shark). Learn more on Wikipedia about it at this entry. According to that article its diet consisted of turtles, Mosasaurs, Plesiosaurs, and Xiphactinus.

These next fossil teeth are of the extinct hybodontiformes Ptychodus anonymus shark. Looking at the teeth it appears to be a shell crusher.

Another set of shell crushing fossil teeth of the Ptychodus whipplei shark.

This fossil shark tooth belonged to the Scapanorhynchus (aka Spade Snout) shark. According to this Wikipedia entry, it is similar to the modern goblin shark (Mitsukurina owstoni).

This last shark tooth belonged to a Protolama sokolov shark.

Thanks to Herb for the pictures.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Otolith Fossil + Foraminifera

This fossil image is of a Kobrow, Germany otolith from the Oligocene Epoch.

This next fossil is a foraminifera friend called Lenticulina simplex.

These fossil pictures are compliments of my cousin Kenny.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

32nd MAPS Expo Starts SOON!

In honor of the Mid-America Paleontology Society (MAPS) Expo taking place March 26-28, 2010 starting this Friday and it being an Ordovician Period themed show, here is a freshly found conodont.  This conodont (magnified 100x) was found in material from Lexington, Kentucky and thanks to Herb for that.  As he reminded me, if you have not spent at least 2 hours with your micro material cleaning/decanting then you just have dirty material.

Let's talk about MAPS Expo.  The expo is being held at the Western Hall, University Drive, Western Illinois University campus.  FREE ADMISSION!!! Billed as the "world's largest all-fossils show" with lots and lots of exhibitors and dealers.  This year featuring a 33 foot (10 meters) duckbill dinosaur skeleton.  Silent auctions throughout the show and a 100 specimen live one at 7:30 PM March 27.

Experts will be on hand to help identify visitor fossils.

Dr. Robert Frey of Ohio will give the talk The Age of Nautiloids in the American Midwest: The Platteville Fauna in Illinois and Wisconsin on Friday, March 26, 2010 at 7 PM.

Don "The Fossil Guy" Johnson will discuss Laura the Hypacrosaurus and Other Duck-billed Dinosaurs on Saturday, March 27, 2010 at 10 AM.

 MAPS member Bill Desmarais on Saturday, March 27, 2010 at 11 AM will present a program about dinosaur research expeditions in Alberta, Canada.

John A Catalani, and Ordovician cephalopod expert whose talk is titled "Life and Times in the Ordovician" presents at 1 PM on Saturday, March 27, 2010. He is a KYANA Geological Society member and I think I may have met him on a field trip.  Should be a nice talk.

University of Iowa professor Charles Newsom will help visitors with their fossil identification at 2 PM on Saturday, March 27, 2010.

Curator of University of Iowa Geoscience Repository will talk about storing, organizing, protecting, and documenting a fossil collection at 3 PM on Saturday, March 27, 2010.

See the available workshops here: http://www.midamericapaleo.org/content/expo32.php#workshops

Lodging info: http://www.midamericapaleo.org/content/expo32.php#Lodging

Restaurant/Meals info: http://www.midamericapaleo.org/content/expo32.php#meals

WOW, this looks like a great show.  So if you can attend this weekend, enjoy the fossils!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Waldron Shale Trilobites: Hadromeros and Bumastus

Finding trilobites is not an easy thing unless you live in Utah or Morocco near a trilobite quarry. The two trilobite fragments I present in today's post may not seem like much but they are the first pieces of species I have never found before. Both fossils were found in the Waldron Shale of Clark County, Indiana. This layer is also known as the Niagara Group and formed during the Silurian Period.

The first piece made me wonder when it was found, is it part of a trilobite pygidium or some other creature? Not seeing any remnant of three lobes made me doubt it was a trilobite until my friend Herb identified it as a trilobite glabella. After consulting the Fossils of Ohio book's Silurian trilobite section, I found a match as a Cheirurus niagarensis (Hall).  After more research, it was determined it can be found in the Rochester shale of New York and in Indiana,Wisconsin, & Illinois. Note this fossil has not been prepared.

The image from the book I use for reference purposes below is of a Cheirurus welleri because the picture showed more of the cephalon.  The article states the two species can be confused by the C. welleri has longer glabellar furrows.  It also says this species is found in the Niagaran of Wauwotosa, Wisconsin, Clinton of New York, Waldron of Indiana, Silurian of Tennessee, and Guelph of Ontario.

UPDATE (May 2020): According at post on Fossil Forum by a user named piranha, this trilobite was renamed to Hadromeros niagarensis in Holloway, D.J. 1980 Middle Silurian Trilobites from Arkansas and Oklahoma, U.S.A. Palaeontographica Abt.A, 170:1-85.

Image from Plate 4, Figure 7 - photo by George Nelson
New and Old Silurian Trilobites from Southeastern Wisconsin, with
Notes on the Genera of the Illaenidae
by Percy E. Raymond
Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard College
Volume LX No. 1 - January 1916

This next fossil I was unsure of as well because of the cephalon was so rounded (convex) and smooth.  The fossil has an eye exposed.
Bumastus niagarensis (Whitefield) (Illaenus niagarensis Whitefield) described on page 17 of the article sited under the included images:
The specific characteristics are: -cephalon rather convex, with long dorsal furrows, no lip or concave border on the cephalon. Eyes of medium size, situated nearly their own length from the posterior margin, thorax short, pygidium long, rather pointed behind, with narrow concave border.
I am calling it Bumastus niagarensis (Whitefield) since it was found in the Waldron Shale but its eye area tends to match Bumastus dayi Raymond in my opinion.  Note from article on page 18 about differences:
 It will be once noted that this species is much like B. niagarensis, but has large eyes far back, and the pygidium is shorter and with less depressed margin.
Fossil is unprepared.  Thanks to Herb for help with identification.

Image from Plate 1, Figure 3 - by E.N. Fischer, Del.
New and Old Silurian Trilobites from Southeastern Wisconsin, with
Notes on the Genera of the Illaenidae
by Percy E. Raymond
Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard College
Volume LX No. 1 - January 1916

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

German Fossils of Kobrow

Kobrow, Germany fossils as observed under a magnifier. This first fossil is a segment of an unknown fish vertebrate. All fossils shown are from the Oligocene (33.9 to 23.0 million years ago).

This next fossil is no stranger to this blog being the Palmula obliqua foraminifera.

Last fossil is an unidentified shell fossil.

All images courtesy of my cousin Kenny,  Nice hunting with the microscope!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Isotelus Trilobite Hypostoma

The Isotelus trilobite's feeding scoop (hypostoma) fossil found in the Lexington limestone of Franklin County, Kentucky. This trilobite existed in the Ordovician Period.

These fossils were part of a larger rock plates but using a diamond saw blade attached to a water cooler it downsized the pieces.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Stories in Stone: Travels Through Urban Geology

Author David B. Williams carves and shapes words into a thought provoking book on stone and its role in history, science and art. The book, Stories in Stone: Travels Through Urban Geology was published in 2009. It contains a wide variety of stories that revolve around the theme of building materials and our human history.

Paradoxides Trilobite 
Photo by © Sam Gon III
My perspective reading it was more from a paleontological view and I was not disappointed by Mr. Williams discussions of fossils and their ties to building materials.  The first chapter on brownstone relates to a story of finding dinosaur tracks which in 1800s America were interpreted as ancient bird prints.  When writing of the Boston granite, a discussion of the Paradoxides harlani trilobite appears and tying together the North American continent with Africa.

His discussion of fossils continues in a chapter on coquina clam (Donax variabilis) of Florida and its role in helping maintain a Spanish presence in North America.  Another chapter discusses the petrified wood in Colorado and its unique use in building a gas station.  The chapter entitled America's Building Stone - Indiana Limestone highlighted a stone whose fossils I most familiar.  The Salem/Bedford/Indiana Limestone contains the remains of many, many fossils.  The author gives a great description of Mississippian Period sea environment.  Here is an excerpt from page 117:
The microscope would have revealed a world population of protozoans inhabiting one-twentieth-of-an-inch-wide-shells, each made of a half dozen chambers coiled like a poorly made cinnamon roll.
Known as foraminiferas, they lived for a few months, died in the lagoon, and settled amid the billions of shells of their cohorts. Forams are an abundant fossil in some parts of the Salem, but because of their wee size they are rarely visible in the stone. When you see a Salem wall you are looking at a cemetery of epic proportions.
Endothyra baileyi Foraminifera
Salem Limestone
Washington County, Indiana 
Of course the author is referring to the Endothyra (aka Globoendothyra) baileyi foraminifera which can be found at Spergen Hill, Washington County, Indiana.  The chapter also reveals that Spergen limestone is found in eastern Colorado but that same layer is known as Salem in Kansas and Illinois.  So I guess that might be why that hill was given that name.

Progressive Carvings of a Block of Indiana Limestone
Indiana State Museum
Indianapolis, Indiana

David Williams mixes poetry into his text and its relation to stone whether citing a Oliver Windell Holmes poem or a chapter describing the poet Robinson Jeffers ties to Carmel granite.  Mr. Jeffers built a house and tower in Carmel, California from the granite he harvested there.  The process produced works of poetry and some impressive hand-built structures.

Tribute to Indiana Limestone Quarries
Indiana State Museum
Indianapolis, Indiana

Quarries play a big role in the book and there are many descriptions of them.  The fascinating story of the building of the Bunker Hill Monument from Quincy, Massachusetts granite is unveiled.  The author ties in the use of the "plug and feather method" of stone cutting and early railroad building to move slabs to launch the Boston granite quarries.

The chapter about Michelangelo's marble and all the problems Standard Oil had after using it for their Chicago office building was a lesson in using the right materials.  It was informative about where in Italy Carrara marble is quarried and how much of it is used today.

At the end of the book there is a glossary of geological terms, research notes/sources sectioned by chapter, and an index.  Inside the back of the jacket lists the book Web site www.storiesinstone.info plus color photos and back stories on the author blog at stories-in-stone.blogspot.com.

Once finished reading, one will have a new perspective on the stone structures seen in everyday life. It inspired me to seek out buildings around Louisville, Kentucky whether it be the modern Humana building with its polished pink granite or Bedford Limestone trim on TARC's Union Station or the Gene Synder U.S. Courthouse.

Highly recommended and available at amazon.com or the check worldcat.org for copy in a library near you.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Hardin County Blastoid

This recently found blastoid fossil was uncovered in Hardin County, Kentucky. It came from the St. Genevieve formation of the Mississippian Period.

Not sure of its exact identification.

Thanks to Pam for the images and nice find!

Friday, March 19, 2010

French Eocene Snail Fossils

Snail fossils from Parnes (Oise), France from the Eocene Epoch and Lutetian Stage (40-48 million years ago). This first fossil is called Potamides tricarinatus.

This next fossil is called Rhinoclavis striatus from Chaumont (Oise) France.

This fossil is called Turritella terbellata found in Chaumont (Oise) France.

This last fossil is Clavilithes parisiensis found in Damery (Marne), France.

All fossils were photographed on display at the Museum of Natural History in Paris, France.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Rhyncholampas Sea Urchin Fossil

This sea urchin fossil (enchinoid) is called Rhyncholampas gouldii. It is found in the Tamiami Formation of Suwannee County, Florida. The creature existed 2.5-5 million years ago (Pliocene Epoch/Neogene Period/Cenozoic Age).  The fossil was in a white, chalky matrix.

  • Phylum: Echinodermata
  • Class: Echinoidea
  • Order: Cassiduloida
  • Family: Cassidulidae
  • Genus: Rhyncholampus
  • Species: gouldii

Thanks to Mary Ann for the fossils and my cousin Kenny for cleaning them up using sand/air abrasive cleaning. Unfortunately, I did not take any before pictures but they looked like Mexican wedding cookies (a little mound covered powdered sugar).