Today has been all about sorting through the finds, snapping a few pictures, and some very light prep. Mostly, it's more about putting like with like: trilobites in one bucket, brachs in another; stuff to split, shards to dump, etc. Let's look at just a few of the several trilobite assemblages I'm still going through:
A specimen of Spyroceras. They don't always preserve well, but stay tuned when I clean up a much nicer one with some more detail.
Mostly moulted bits, but this assemblage of Eldredgeops rana should come out looking very nice when prepped.
These are monster Mediospirifer! Thanks to Jay for showing us a very little known spot at the site.
Spinatrypa spinosa. Assorted group with some just half shell, others with both halves.
Top first three are Rhipodomella sp. (with the first one being 4 cm wide), and the remainder Stropheodonata demissa.
Assortment of Eldredgeops rana rollers and bits that mostly popped out of the shale.
Look carefully here. I rarely ever see this, but here we have a Stropheodonta demissa with its umbilicus by which it would anchor itself on the sea floor.
I might be wrong, but this might be a crinoid calyx - not at all common in this shale.
Three days. Twenty-one hours total of hauling, hammering, and likely hundreds of tons of Windom shale. About 400 pounds of rock hauled back home. Lots of trilobites (and trilo-bits), brachs, a few nautiloids, sundry pieces. We had a great, and physically exhausting time out at the Penn Dixie site. You could hear the concert of hammers, chisels, and wrecking bars all around. We had a fantastic outing with some members of The Fossil Forum (a shout out to Jay, Rob, and Mike). I now have enough material to split down further, and prep, for a long time, so this is just part one of I-have-no-idea-how-many. We were so focused and into the work itself that we hardly took many of the pictures while we were down there.
Tough to gauge the scale of our work after three days, but here is a 20' trench connected to a 15' trench. As happens while splitting slabs hacked out of the shale right at the water line, you get a lot of infill debris. When we weren't hammering with the sledges, we were digging the rock debris out to see things more clearly.
Looking in the south direction, here is trench extended another ~15 feet. Deb is just getting out her tools. Within a few hours, Jay and I managed to hack out another four or so feet more, and a few more feet in. There were some domes to yank from the floor as well.
On the north edge of the east-west trench, Deb spots a roller.
South edge of the bench-trench. My foot is positioned on a slab I've carved down to about a fifth of its initial size. Yes, I earned my nickname of the human backhoe, and there is nothing quite as satisfying as driving a pry bar underneath a slab weighing over 200lbs, levering it out, and just picking it up and taking it somewhere else to split. Because that's how I roll. Needless to say, every night tylenol was my friend.
A lot of overburden, and one needs to get right down into the layers.
I'm hacking out some promising parts of the layer that have some isolated pockets of trilobite assemblages while jay is working nearby on widening the bench.
Deb finds a monster-sized Mucrospirifer, about 6+ cm from tip to tip. In situ photograph.
Faint and not very well preserved, but not something we encountered very often: ammonoid or gastropod?
Homework! Still a lot to sift and sort through.
I'll be adding more pictures today as I get through the piles!