Deb and I are set on our first trip to Blasdell, NY's world-famous Penn Dixie site. Two solid days of prying, cracking, and splitting - with hopefully enough fine trilobite specimens to show off, and a lot of matrix to play with in the winter to come.
Since my last post, I managed to make it out to Arkona two more times, as well as the Boler pit twice (finding my second specimen of a Paraspirifer acuminatus). I didn't manage to find anything all that spectacular, so will not be showing more pics of the same stuff you've already seen. But the temps are climbing back down to more comfortable and reasonable levels as autumn makes its stealthy approach ( the leaves, they are a-turnin'!). I am also about to purchase a Dremel stone engraving tool to practice freeing some trilobites that are embedded in matrix. This should be good practice for whatever big chunks of matrix I can bring with me from over the border.
But why not a few pictures in the interim? Here are some select images from the digital microscope aimed at some Arkona finds, and a confirmed Proetus alpenensis(?) - or crassimarginatus(?)
Just a closeup of a Bactrites nautiloid
Tentaculites are neat and taxonomically perplexing!
Goniatites up close and personal, an ammonoid. Not my best example, as I've been pulling ever more out recently.
Say hello to my little friend, the newly confirmed species of trilo in my collection, Proetus.
Why have I included this Eldredgeops rana cephalon fragment in the mix, pulled from the Boler pit and keeping company with a bunch of ne'er-do-well spirifers? Well, because of size. Although this is likely just a moult, this is proof of a rather big boy. Using a kind of averaged out ratio calculation for this species, I figure that the full size would have been about 3 inches, cranidium tip to pygidium tail. I exhausted the rock this one came from in search of just one other piece of the moulting, but to no avail. Alas.
Stay tuned in the weeks to come when I put up our finds from Penn Dixie, and possibly some first attempts at specimen prep! As always, thanks for reading!
With the ending of spring and the arrival of summer, we've seen a blast of heat over the last while which makes collecting a bit of a challenge. Most collecting areas seem to be in full sun with no shade, and so I sometimes opt to go collecting in the mornings when it is slightly cooler.
Trips to the hill out back have yielded some interesting and pleasant surprises. The hill (and pit) is composed of mixed Devonian deposits dumped there from around the region for the purposes of hill-building, so it is a mixed bag.
Here we see a closeup of a prone Eldredgeops rana trilobite in a state of fairly good preservation. I spotted only a sliver of it in the rock and carefully went about splitting it to reveal what was inside. The lack of adequate laminations in the rock mean that there are virtually no convenient bedding planes to exploit, and thus the probability is very high that the rock will split in ways that can cleave right through the specimen. And that was the case here, resolved by binding the two pieces together.
I've also found my share of a few weathered or semi-weathered out rollers, but they are sadly headless. Pygidium moults and shards of cephalon abound.
Pictured here is the coral Syringopora. I generally pass corals and bryozoans over, but the weathered out lattice-like fenestrations were unique to any of the other corals I've seen in the area. My thanks to TFF user TqB for taking the initiative in showing this to Adrian Bancroft, an expert in bryozoans, to confirm identification that this is indeed a coral of the Syringopora species.
Among my other finds in repeated trips to the hill, I don't have much more that is picture worthy. Having exhausted all the exposed, well-laminated shales, I've moved on with my trusty claw hammer and chisel to split some of the denser rocks - and the presence of trilobites inside makes it a thrilling rock lottery of sorts... And a lottery it certainly is, with about the same odds. What the site needs is to be turned over a bit to expose some of the rock buried under the dirt and clay, while some other areas will be better exposed come autumn when the weedy overgrowth thins out.