Revisit of a Fabulous Mine in Jefferson County
For the second straight weekend the APS had a field trip; this was supposed to be the third straight Saturday in May but the first trip of the three-fer for May was cancelled due to too much rain. For the second straight week, we were also blessed with significantly cooler weather than average. Low humidity and a cool morning welcomed a group of 20-25 APS members to this incredible site. This was APS' second visit to this mine and second time in 2021. The amount of fossils here is amazing, especially plant and tree fossils, however with some looking there are some other things to be found! Please enjoy the many pictures provided by multiple members of the APS.
The cars in the center of the above picture do a good job of demonstrating how much material was available to explore. Below are some additional pictures of the collecting site.
Among these boulders were treasures and mysteries to be found! In many of the large boulders incredible fossils can be seen, or in the case of the bottom left picture below, the only thing that can be seen is where the tree use to be! Where did it go? I for one spent quite awhile looking... Some of the collectible fossils were found in between the boulders, sometimes laying in plain sight, or peaking out from the gravel like the stigmaria fossil below (bottom right).
Wonderful sections of lycopod, lepidodendron, calamites, sygillaria, and stigmaria are quite common at this mine. Many times found, as above, but occasionally requiring a good hammer and chisels to liberate. Below are some of these finds made by multiple members of the APS (David, Rick, Glen, Kathy, Prescott
and Jim B).
lepidodendron (scale tree) and sygillaria
Fern and plant fossils are also common at the site and with all rock and fossil collecting, the patient and persistent will be rewarded. The following pictures capture some of the fern and other plant fossils discovered on this trip by Prescott, Rick, Kathy, and Glen. Some of these large plates are simply spectacular!
Tree stumps and trunk sections are also present, some can be too much to carry out. Here are a couple collected this trip that did not tip the scales as too heavy to manage.
Rick also found this triginocarpus seed fern seed.
The plant and tree fossils are truly fabulous at this site, but some very interesting fossils from the site include various "shell-y" fossils. There is a fairly common scallop at this site if you split enough rocks, these examples were found by Prescott, Jim B and Rick. Rick also found some bivalve "clams" in the bottom middle picture. There is also an occasional marine sedimentary rock just packed with brachiopods, the hashplate of such brachiopods in the bottom right was found by Jim B.
With a lot of looking, there are also trace fossils at the site. So far I don't think anyone has found any vertebrate traces but there are some invertebrate traces, tracks and trackways for sure. Here are a few examples of Arborichnus found by Jim B, Ashley, and Prescott. Ashley also found an interesting trail in the far right photo below.
Hope you enjoyed the pictures as much as we enjoyed hunting for the subject fossils. It was a great and exhausting day! Hope to see you in the field with the APS next time.