Friday, September 30, 2011

Silurian Black Snails

For your visual inspection, here are two snail fossils that appear to now consist of pyrite.  Found in the Silurian period Louisville Limestone, they might be some sort of Loxonema.  Henry Nettelroth (1835-1887) in his 1889 Kentucky Fossil Shells book lists a Loxonema laeviusculum (Hall, 1879) which looks similar.

Images taken with a microscope set to 23x and an 8 mm FOV.  I was looking for graptolites but found these fossils instead.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Invertrypa Brachiopod

This brachiopod fossil from Middle Devonian Period (about 390 million years ago). Fossil was found near Louisville Kentucky, USA. Brachiopod is an Invertrypa sp. from Jeffersonville Limestone of Clark County, Indiana.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Florissant Plant Fossils

Recently, my cousin returned from Florissant, Colorado with this fossil plate from the late Eocene Epoch Florissant Formation as a gift.  As best I can tell the first fossil shown is a leaf of maybe a Fagopsis or Cedrelospermum.

The next picture appears to be a piece of white cedar (Chamaecyparis) tree. Thanks again to Kenny for the gift.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

UV Fluorescent Brachiopods

This fossil plate of a cluster of Sowerbyella (Jones, 1928) brachiopod shells appears to have a unique property of fluorescence under longwave ultraviolet light (394? nm).  My light produces a lot of visible purple light so the specimen appears quite purple with some orange-brown color on some shells.  In person, the orange-brown color is much more pronounced.

I believe the mineral present is aragonite with a manganese activator.  Referring to the book The Uranium and Fluorescent Minerals: A Handbook of Uranium Minerals and A Field Guide for Uranium Prospecting 3rd Ed. by H.C. Dake, page 21, it lists "ARAGONITE. A calcium carbonate that fluoresces and phosphoresces variably.... When manganese is the chief activator the luminescence is orange or red-orange, and usually faint."

These fossils are from the Kope Formation (Edenian Stage, Upper Ordovician Period) of Kentucky USA and that layer is known for its aragonite fossils (usually brown).  I need to now go through the collection and test them for fluorescence.

Another issue I need to solve is filtering visible purple light from my UV light. I might have to go Thomas Edison on it and just start trying different materials for filtering properties.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Baby Eucalyptocrinus Crinoid

This crinoid calyx was almost found intact. One side of it is chipped off.  A small ring is at the top where the arms folded together.  Found in the Waldron Shale of Clark County, Indiana which dated to the Silurian Period.  As can be seen with the included scale, this calyx is quite small.  It is an Eucalyptocrinus crassus (Hall, 1863).

Thursday, September 22, 2011

National Museum Day - Sept. 24, 2011

Saturday, September 24, 2011 is National Museum Day with participating museums allowing free admission.  In the Louisville, Kentucky area, seven museums are participating:

Carnegie Center for Art and History (named for a patron of paleontology)

Historic Locust Grove (home of Louisville's founder George Rogers Clark)

Kentucky Derby Museum (go, baby go!)

Louisville Slugger Museum (batter, batter, batter... SWING!)

Speed Art Museum (named for the same guy as a famous local fossil quarry)

Howard Steamboat Museum and Mansion (200th anniversary of the Ohio River New Orleans steamboat)

Frazier History Museum (lock and load)

So many great places to visit and only so many hours in one day, decisions, decisions.

Check out the Smithsonian web site for museums in your area that are participating and print out an admissions ticket: CLICK HERE

Monday, September 19, 2011

Project Mini-Calymene

My new project is to clean this small Calymene trilobite found in the Silurian Period Waldron Shale. Since it is so small ( < 2 cm), I am using a dissecting needle.  My cousin advised using the microscope and that has been a great idea.  The needle is too large for removing matrix in the thorax grooves so I need to find a smaller cleaning needle.

I was happy that the trilobite is intact.  The spots where the eyes were are worn away but otherwise the trilobite looks to be in good shape.

After the first prep session that used a needle, toothbrush, water, and a microscope.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Fossil Festival Fun

Saturday was a full day at the Fossil Festival at the Falls of the Ohio State Park in Clarksville, Indiana. The morning started out breezy and chilly with a sunny sky.  Good hiking and fossil collecting weather.  The first photo shows a group returning from across the Ohio River spill way which is a path to the outer Devonian and Silurian coral beds.

Visitors started visiting the collecting piles of Silurian and Devonian fossils along with the Illinois mineral pile. I mostly identified brachiopods for visitors but saw a number of Eucalyptocrinus calyx cups being found.  I got worn out digging through the pile to try and find fossils for visitors.  Using a shovel was somewhat successful in breaking up some of the compacted shale but a pick would have worked better.

A young woman found the corner of a clear-to-purple fluorite cube with a phantom cube corner inside.  That was a nice piece to see.  Later some trilobite pieces were found including an imprint of an Arctinerus.  Jack, the fossil dog, showed up to see how every one was doing with their collection efforts.

Later, I was shown a blastoid that might be a Troosticrinus (Shumard, 1866) which is really rare.  It was fun meeting some of the dedicated fossil collectors at the piles.

The Interpretive Center has been receiving upgrades so I checked them out.  The lobby displays have been removed to allow social gatherings to be held there instead.  The mastodon did remain but moved to the side.

Large glass sculptures hang from the ceiling.

I finished out the day at the KYANA Geological Society table selling fossils/minerals/rocks as a fundraiser and telling visitors about the upcoming club show.  We were next to students from Indiana University and University of Cincinnati.  It had really warmed up by the afternoon, I wished I brought some shorts and a T-shirt to change into.

My walk back to the car I came across a flint knapper with some of his work.  I believe his name was Steve and he had some very nice pieces.

Friday, September 16, 2011

U.S. Postal Dinosaur/Reptile Stamps

Unearthed (so to say) from my stamp collection are two blocks of unused flying reptile and dinosaur stamps.  These 25 cent stamps were issued by the United States Post Office in 1989.  I covered each stamp in its cancelled form earlier in the year.  It was educational for me, as I learned the difference between a dinosaur and flying reptile. An added bonus was learning about issues with the Brontosaurus stamp. 

The following links lead to those entries:

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Late Cambrian Brachiopod Talk on 09-30-2011

Cambrian Brachiopod Obolella crassa

Dr. Rebecca Freeman, lecturer at the Earth & Environmental Sciences Department of the University of Kentucky, will present "Brachiopod Extinction and Predation During the Late Cambrian" on September 30, 2011.  This talk will be given at the meeting of the Kentucky Paleontological Society (KPS) of Lexington, Kentucky. Learn more about Dr. Freeman at the U of K web site.

From the KPS "Paleozine" newsletter (Sept. 2011, Vol. 19, No. 9):

"Dr. Freeman’s research uses systematic taxonomy and
biostratigraphy to address the broader issue of understanding
how brachiopods responded to a series of extinction
events that repeatedly affected Laurentian trilobites
during the Late Cambrian–earliest Ordovician. She is also
interested in how linguliform brachiopod diversity was
affected by these extinction events, and whether these
events played a role in the transition from the Cambrian
Fauna, with a dominance of linguliform brachiopods, to
the Paleozoic Fauna, with a dominance of rhynchonelliform
The meeting will start at 7:30 PM in the Mines and Minerals Resources Building, Room 101, Rose Street, University of Kentucky campus in Lexington.  Free parking at the structure on Hilltop Avenue. Visit the KPS web site for more information:

Cambrian Brachiopod Obolella gemma
The brachiopod illustrations were obtained from Second contribution to the studies on the Cambrian faunas of North America by Charles Doolittle Walcott (1886),  Plate X figures 1 and 2.  Images were enhanced and resized before posting.  Book is available at Google Books for free and it is the scan of the copy at the Library of the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard College which once belonged to Dr. Alex Agassiz given to him by Charles Walcott on December 13, 1886.  See image of personal inscription:

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

"A Decade of Dinosaurs" Talk

Dr. Glenn Storrs, Assistant Vice-President of Collections and Research at the Cincinnati Museum Center, will be speaking about the ten years of research at the Mother's Day excavation site in Montana.  He will also cover recent discoveries at the location. Learn more about Dr. Storrs at

The talk is entitled "A Decade of Dinosaurs" and will occur Friday, September 23, 2011 at 8 PM EST on the University of Cincinnati campus in room 201 of Braunstein Hall (Old Physics Building).  This presentation is part of the larger Dry Dredgers meeting which is an association of amateur geologists and fossil collectors.

I am a member and it is a very friendly group.  I find the meetings educational and being held in a classroom the seating and displays are great for presentations.

Learn more at their web site:

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

2011 Falls Fossil Festival

The Falls of the Ohio State Park will be holding their 17th Falls Fossil Festival highlighting the Middle Devonian coral beds exposed by the Ohio River across from Louisville, Kentucky.  I will be there helping identify fossils and minerals in the collecting piles.  Later, I will help out at the KYANA Geological Society table with the fossil and mineral cartons.

If the spillway gates are closed which exposes the fossil beds, guided tours occur.  Different groups will be on hand to talk about geology and paleontology. The speaking schedule is as follows:

September 17, 2011 (all times EST)
1:30 PM Climate Through Time at the Falls by David Polly
Indiana University, Department of Geological Sciences, Bloomington

2:30 PM Drifting Continents by Dan Phelps
Kentucky Paleontogical Society, Lexington, Kentucky

3:30 PM Stories of the New Madrid Earthquakes 200 Years Age by Dr. Steve Greb
Kentucky Geological Survey, Lexington

4:30 PM Keynote Presentation: The Birth of the Ohio River by Dr. Drew Andrews
Kentucky Geological Survey, Lexington

September 18, 2011 (all times EST)

2:30 PM Fossil Collecting Tips by Rick Schrantz
Kentucky Paleontological Society, Lexington, Kentucky

3:30 PM Mineral Collecting Tips by Steve Garza
Corydon, Indiana

Learn more at the Falls of the Ohio State Park web site: CLICK HERE

Monday, September 12, 2011

More Polished Trilobites

More polished Devonian trilobites shown earlier: CLICK HERE to see them after cleaning. 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

In Memory of 9-11-2001

This picture is of a roof tile from the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.  It was removed after the terrorist attack on the building on September 11, 2011 at approximately 9:37 AM EST.  This attack killed 125 people in the building and the 53 passengers, 6 crew and 5 hijackers on American Airlines Flight 77.

May the victims of all the attacks that day, rest in peace.

Damage at Pentagon - Image taken September 14, 2011
Photo by TSGT Cedric H. Rudisill, USAF

The tile is on display at the Ben E. Clement Mineral Museum in Marion, Kentucky.  It was donated by a resident of Stafford County, Virginia.

The facade of the Pentagon consists of Indiana Limestone originally installed in 1941-1943. The repairs to the Pentagon required new Indiana Limestone in 2001-2002 which was supplied by Bybee Stone Company of Ellettsville, Indiana and Independent Limestone Company of Bloomington, Indiana.

Aerial View of Pentagon circa 1980-1998?
DoD photo by Master Sgt. Ken Hammond, U.S. Air Force

Learn more of these attacks at the report on CLICK HERE

As for my memories of that day, it was extremely foggy that morning in southern Indiana across the Ohio River from Louisville, Kentucky.  It made vehicle travel difficult. I was home from work and remember hearing about a plane crashing into a building on morning radio news.  It seemed like some of accident at first until the next plane crashed. 

Talking to my neighbor on his front porch we discussed the morning's events.  While outside, the sky became quiet as planes were absent from their usual flight paths going to the Louisville and Clark County airports.  It was an eerie feeling.  Later, at night the UPS planes were not out as usually line up above the Ohio River to wait their turns to land at the air freight hub.  Its impact on air travel in the United States is still felt today.