This was the first Eagle Bluff Environmental Center Skills School group hunt of 2016, and it was GREAT! Nine participants plus the EBEC bus driver, hailing from the Twin Cities down to Decorah, Iowa and parts in between and west. And what did they like best? THE FOSSILS! So I think I will start out with the great fossil finds instead of making you wait. 😀
I believe it was the couple from the Twin Cities that
scored a partially enrolled it appears complete TRILOBITE!
Further prep will tell if it is an Anataphrus sp. or Faillena sp. trilobite. Thanks to Raggedy Man from thefossilforum.com for the ID. 🙂
Ray collect TWO Maclurites crassus!
Maclurites crassus make up only about 1 in 50 of the Maclurites we collect here and they prep out like this…
Maclurites crassus prepped.
And Robert scored a Complete Fisherite! I only find maybe one complete one a summer.
So, back to the beginning… 🙂 The bus got here and we did a meet and greet and proceeded with a walk around of the various fossil gardens to familiarize them with the Ordovician fossils we would be looking for at the various sites. A bit about fossil preparation – getting them out of the rock – and then several people wanted to buy maps of various fossil hunting sites. I now have 3 maps, $5 each, each with ID sheets and laminated for durability: 7 sites within 10 miles of Spring Valley, 8 sites within 10 miles of St. Charles which includes the site that Whitewater State Park takes people to for their fossil class, and 16 sites with 10 miles of Forestville State Park which includes the sites that Mystery Caves takes visitors to for their fossil class. Then back on the bus and off we went to site 1.
We went to Masonic Park first where I showed them the Prosser member of the Galena cliff face, mentioned that it was an archeo-paleo site that gives up not only Ordovician fossils but Ice Age fossils and Native American artifacts as well, and made sure to mention to look to the right for the cave as we drove back up the hill. We parked across from the hidden spring that bubbles from the base of the bluff and next to the abandoned quarry. Most of the people worked the Stewartville member of the Galena Formation that lines the side of the road going down to the park.
Overview of the road going down into Masonic Park.
Combing the drywash beside the road.
Searching for fossils.
Hidden spring bubbling from beneath the bluff.
And the nice find at this site was this horn coral embedded in the rock, but a beauty with so much detail from 450 million years ago.
Then off to site 2, just west of Dream Acres – wood fired pizza every Friday night May through October YUMMM – and a shot at both the Stewartville and Prosser members of the Galena Formation.
I had just hunted this about two weeks ago, but we had had about two inches of rain since then and with every rain out come new fossils. And yup, Ray came up with those two beautiful Maclurites crassus.
Ray finding TWO Maclurites crassus.
Ray quite proud of his finds and he should be! I would be! LOL 😀
More searching with some nice finds of flowstone from caves and I even came up with a nice Fusispera sp. gastropod.
Flowstone, one with cross-section of Fisherites and gastropod.
Fusispera sp. Ordovician gastropod prepped out.
Onto site 3!
Overlooking the Village of Fillmore.
This road cut is massive and very fossiliferous. As you look over the embankment you can see the Village of Fillmore and a branch of the Root River. This site was continuously occupied by Native Americans for over 1,000 years before the advent of the white man. Native American arrow heads, spear heads and other artifacts frequently come to the surface after an intense rain.
It was a beautiful day, a bit chilly, but in the sun no one was complaining and this site sure offered up some nice finds!
Bill, our bus driver, flipped a rock and came up close and personal with a Milk Snake!
Bill & the Milk Snake.
It was kind of cool and he wasn’t moving too fast. ID made by members of thefossilforum.com
Robert with his complete Fisherite.
And some very nice graptolites were found here. Graptolites are an unusual find hereabouts. Not considered rare, but I seldom find them and the couple from the Cities found several! They are defined by their toothy edge.
Some of the finds:
Some beautiful hash plates showing the Ordovician sea bottom from a time when Minnesota was located on the equator, gastropods, cephalopods, and brachiopods. And of course, the wonderful, perhaps complete, TRILOBITE!
Further prep will tell if it is an Anataphrus sp. or Faillena Sp. trilobite.
The next fossil class through Eagle Bluff is scheduled for June 11 and is open to families. I also do individual tours of the fossil gardens and barn, about 90 minutes, for $15 per person and then you can purchase a map and go hunting yourself or for $10 an hour I will go with you/your group. And you can even come back and prep in my fossil barn afterwards. 🙂
Everyone went home with bags heavy with fossils older than the dinosaurs!