A Day At A Montgomery Area Creek Looking For Cretaceous Fossils
The APS headed to the Montgomery area for a late September field trip. The day was warm and dry with bright sun and deep blue skies, and the creek was cool and refreshing. All in all a beautiful early fall day spared from the heat of summer and given the rain in the region this year, thankfully low water. Just one week prior this was a raging torrent of water as indicated by the water level chart below. Of course this means lots of material was washed around and hopefully many fossils available to be found! I for one was very excited about the prospects.
This was the first time for me and other APS members to this site, but a place I had wanted to visit for some time. The site is found in the Tombigbee member of the Eutaw formation. The age of the deposits are late Cretaceous (late Coniacian to early Santonian stage) or about 86 mya. This seems like an appropriate field trip destination given this year's National Fossil Day theme, celebrated on 13 October, is the Late Cretaceous. Hopefully everyone can take part in some of the National Fossil Day events taking place around the state and the country that week. We had a large turn-out for this trip and it seemed everyone had a great time.
There were plenty of fossils to be found as well. One of the stand out fossils from this site is a beautiful echinoid - specifically a sea urchin named "Hardouinia bassleri". I believe most everyone found specimens to take home with them. Below are a few pics of these wonderful fossils that were found. In the last picture one can be seen in situ stuck in the matrix.
As seen above there were also sharks teeth found from a number of different types of shark. With some careful looking, some baby teeth could be found as seen in the picture below (exacto knife gives rough scale!).
In addition to sharks teeth there were a couple other vertebrate "surprises" found. First, a terrific piece of fossilized turtle shell, and second, a small hollow bone. In the third picture, this appears to be a large fish tooth (e.g. enchodus "fang" tooth).
Finally, given the APS' general familiarity with Pennsylvanian age trace fossils, I could not pass up taking the final picture. As I walked past and saw this sandy/muddy patch, I was struck by how familiar this looked to some of the Walker county plates covered with Treptichnus and gas escape bubbles. Please enjoy this modern analog!