Saturday, July 31, 2010

Indiana Silurian Period Fossils

This first fossil is a Platyostoma niagarense gastropod fossil from the Waldron Shale of Clark County, Indiana.  The creature existed in the Middle Silurian Period.  It is quite small at about 1 cm wide.

Next fossil I think is some sort of cystoid from the Waldron Shale. It has a four petal flower shape at its base? There are also five petal patterns on its surface.  Needs cleaning with air abrasion to reveal better surface detail.  Fossil is small at just over 1 cm long.

Last Waldron Shale fossil is odd shaped.  Sort of reminds me of an echinoid spine but I don't think those were around in the Middle Silurian Period.  Might be some sort algae but the pores do not look big enough.  The Indiana State Museum collection database has a Waldron Shale algae fossil specimen cataloged as a Receptaculites sp.

The fossil could be some sort of bryozoan in weird shape.  Fossil is over 1 cm long.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Lewis and Clark Park

View of the Ohio River from Lewis and Clark Park in Clarksville, Indiana.  The park is next to the Falls of the Ohio State Park with its large fossil beds.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Stigmaria Fossil

Stigmaria ficoides? plant fossil found in Hazard, Kentucky. Fossil root of some sort of lycopsid tree. The plant grew in the Middle? Pennsylvanian Period in the Breathitt Group.

This fossil is interesting in that it can be split apart and inner root details can be seen.

Surface pattern up close view.  Thanks to Herb for letting me photograph his fossil.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Wilkingia terminale Pelecypod

Wilkingia terminale pelecypod fossil found in Hazard, Kentucky.  This marine fossil was found in the Breathitt Group of the Pennsylvanian Period.

Thanks to Herb for letting me photograph the fossil.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Worthenia tabulata Gastropod

Worthenia tabulata
gastropod fossil from the Pennsylvanian Period. It was found in the Magoffin Member of the Four Corners Formation of the Breathitt Group.  The ornate pattern on the spiral of this snail fossil is neat.

Thanks to Herb for letting me photograph this fossil.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Linoproductus echinatus Brachiopod

This brachiopod was found in Hazard, Kentucky in the Magoffin Member of the Four Corners Formation of the Breathitt Group.  It appears to be a Linoproductus echinatus from the Pennsylvanian Period.

Learn more at the Kentucky Paleontological Society web site.

Thanks to Herb for letting me take these pictures.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Hazard Kentucky Plant Fossils

Plant fossils recently found in Hazard (Perry County) Kentucky in the Breathitt Group.  These fossils appear to be a mix of plants one is a Calamites from the Pennsylvanian (Carboniferous) Period. 

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Unknown Plant Fossil

Plant fossil recently found in Hazard (Perry County) Kentucky in the Breathitt Group.  The fossil is from the Pennsylvanian (Carboniferous) Period.  It has some small nodes visible between the segments.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Fossils at the Louisville Zoo

The Louisville Zoo has a Dinosaur exhibit on display till October 31, 2010.  Part of the display includes an exhibit sign with a number of fossils.  Unfortunately, the sign does not give exact names or locations of the fossils being shown.  None the less, I think the crinoid calyx is from the Mississippian Period and probably from Crawsfordsville, Indiana.

The first fossils shown in the box on the sign in the lower left corner are stromatolites.  They are identified as small micro-organisms that lived in colonies about 2.7 billion years ago.

The next fossil is of insects trapped in resin that became amber over time.

The last fossil in this post shown is the crinoid calyx that was mentioned at the beginning of the post.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Fossils at the Louisville Zoo - Part 2

The Louisville Zoo has a Dinosaur exhibit on display till October 31, 2010.  Part of the display includes an exhibit sign with a number of fossils.  Unfortunately, the sign does not give exact names or locations of the fossils being shown. 
Leaf fossils from an unidentified location.

The sign identifies this last fossil as a plate of fish fossils from Wyoming thus it is probably from Green River Formation.  What type of fish they are, not sure.

Essroc Quarry - Speed, Indiana

Recently, I visited the Essroc Quarry in Speed, Indiana with a class of geology students from a local college.  The representative gave a us a presentation of the operations of the quarry which primarily produces cement for the North American market.  It is one of the largest cement manufacturing facilities in North America (the largest in the world may be in Germany).  North America is the third largest world producer of cement behind China and India.

The operations covers about 3000 acres (1214 hectares) with 1000 being the active quarry.  They estimate they have enough material at the current rate of consumption to produce cement for the next 150 years.  The quarry is large enough to be used by pilots as a visual navigation marker.

Cement is composed primarily of four ingredients: calcium, silicon, aluminum, and iron.  The plant uses the Silver Creek Member of the North Vernon Limestone to produce the limestone (calcium).  They obtain the silicon from the clay in the soil above the limestone. The rock material is obtained with Caterpillar front loaders and dump trucks and taken to the processing area.

The rock is then placed in the crusher to shape the rock into small pieces.  It is then mixed with silicon (clay), iron and aluminum.  I do not remember if he told us the source of the last two elements.  The rock is then broken down into a powder in one of the largest grinding apparatuses in the United States.  The material is then sent to a long rotating furnace heated to over 2500 degrees F (1370ยบ C) to transition the limestone and silica clay to a hot mass called clinker  The steel drum furnace has to be lined with fire bricks because the metal drum can melt.  Coal is the fuel that heats the furnace (not sure if it comes from Indiana or Kentucky). The clinker is then put in a grinder to make the powder you find in Portland cement bags.

Learn about how to make cement in this video that Essroc created (Internet Explorer might be required to view).

A warehouse the size of about 1 acre stores the finished product.  It has the capability of loading 5 rail cars and many truck trailers simultaneously.  The finished products produced at the plant include BRIXMENT® Masonry Cement and Portland Cement.  In a side note: Portland gets its name from stone from the Isle of Portland off the coast of England.  It was named by its inventor (1824) Joseph Aspdin.  Learn more at the Portland Cement Association website.  They have a flash animation that documents the whole process.

Essroc Corporation is a good local citizen to Clark County providing approximately 150 jobs in their operations.  In the past, the former owner built infrastructure in the town of Speed including stores, a church, and park.  The 10 acre company owned and maintained park hosts the annual Art In Speed Park festival. This year (2010) the festival is August 28-29 from 10AM till 5 PM.

Extensive pollution controls are used control dust.  You can see in the image above of the golf course next to the plant is very green and not dust covered.  The area in the quarry and plant is also watered down with a water truck daily.   The company contributes to the tax base to help maintain roads and infrastructure used by company equipment.

Essroc is owned by Italcementi Group of Italy which has international holdings around the world.  The North American group as of 2009 consisted of 7 full cycle cement plants, 3 quarries, 1 grinding center, and 39 ready mix concrete plants with 1789 employees.  Their sales were 400 million Euros ($556 million) in 2009.

Speed, Indiana is named after former Louisville business man James Breckenridge Speed (1844-1912) who was president of Louisville Cement Company. According to The Encyclopedia of Louisville, after serving in the Civil War he worked for Louisville Hydraulic Cement and Water Power Company which was based in Shippingport at the the Tarascon Mill. In 1869, the name was changed and he became president. He was also involved in finance, coal, wool mills, railways, and telephone companies. After he died, the Speed Art Museum and University of Louisville Speed Scientific School were named after him.

The Speed Limestone is known for several fossils: Hadrophyllum orbignyi, Bordenia knappi (Hall, 1882), and Eridotrypa bryozoan.  Interestingly, the Bordenia knappi was named by a local fossil dealer named George K. Greene in 1903 for a wealthy businessman/geologist William W. Borden whom Borden, Indiana is named after.  In my studies a lot of the fossils found in the Louisville area were named by people outside of the Louisville area this one is one of the exceptions.