Funny that just a few hours ago I asked another member this question in a private message. I would love to break into fossil collecting but have found it difficult to get information, other than that regarding shale beds in Pottsville, PA that are rich in ferns.
My (edited) cut and paste from that message...
I definitely have to...get to those shale beds. The way it's been described to me is you can walk in and even without digging walk out with wheelbarrows full of large pieces. Not sure if it still or ever was actually like that, but I assume it's productive regardless.
I also did one trip to a fairly local stream with shark's teeth, oysters, and bellamites abundant. Somehow I lost all those fossils years ago though...
Last, when I was living in London, I got down to Lyme Regis (which I knew was fossil rich from reading/seeing The French Lieutenant's Woman), and found bellamites and ammonites there.
I also almost died in quicksand after climbing to the top of the cliffs along the ocean to see what was up there. Signs all read: Do not climb cliffs. and Danger: Quicksand. They should really be more clear...
I have a lot of interest/hobbies but this is one the practice of which has alluded me. Hoping to change that sometime fairly soon.
I live in a suburb of Chicago. Not far from here- about an hours drive or so- is the Mazon Creek area- very famous for its fossils- most notably the tully monster, found no where else. We used to go there a lot as kids(late 60's early 70's). My father would load us all up in the VW van he had at the time and take us fossil hunting. The area was extensively mined for coal and they would just pile up all of these waste hills-the area is full of these big hills of rocks and nodules and we would just pull over to the side of the road and we would all excitedly fall out of the VW and be collecting nodules that we would start hitting with our hammers to open them up to see ferns mostly- but sometimes other plants. I remember those trips very fondly and still have a lot of those fossils- still have a box of unopened nodules as well(never opened them for some reason- after having them sop long- now it would seem wrong somehow to open them- i like thinking what MIGHT be in them). It is better to freeze them first then hit them, they will split open better. We would save some to take home to freeze - but would always have to hit some on the spot. Its a very satisfying feeling when you hit that rock just right and it pops open and there is the fossil- negative and positive right there in that rock. SInce those days the landowners have fenced off these areas due to insurance liabilities, you can still go collecting there though- you just have to write and get permission- or if you are unscrupulous you can go over the fence as I have read it is common enough to see. I have meant to write and get permission to go again, but time just never seems to allow this, maybe this summer I will get back out there. My brother still has this great branch of calamites I think it is , certainly looks like calamites, although its always harder to tell sometimes with fossils, the distortion that happens. He found this big boomerrang shaped rock and when he cracked it open there it was - perfect- and boy were the rest of us kids jealous-lol.
I realize I'm digging up an old thread here but I thought it better to use this one than to start a new one. Surely more of you guys collect fossils right? I have since childhood and while nothing I have is as impressive as a crocodile skull I'm proud of my little collection. A lot of it is locally found stuff which in central NY means shells, crinoids and if lucky a trilobite, I have some fossils that were bought as well. Here are a couple I already had pictures of but I'll upload more eventually.
Saltasaurus egg shell fragment from Argentina.
A couple locals
A fish from the American west, I failed to keep the info card it came with so don't know much more about it.
I put my fossils up on a my own thread a while ago but I'll repost them here.
My middle school music teacher hunted local (north east USA, around NJ) fossils for a hobby and would always give me some of his haul every time he came back.
From left to right. Whale vertebrae and some kind of a Sea Cow bone. Snail shell casts and a big bivalve Left to right: Trilobites, horn coral, snails with a bivalve impression. The top 4 rows are exculively shark teeth. The last two in the fifth row in the horizontal position are bony fish teeth. On the bottom are crab claws and then snail shell casts. Some more mollusks and horn coral in the middle. Brachiopods and a large crab claw on the lower left. Big mass of gastropod casts and impressions. This one is pretty cool. These he found somewhere else. Probably out west somewhere. They are gastrolithes (stones swallowed to help with internal digestions much like in some modern birds) from a sauropod.
Ok now these fossils i bought. This is an ammonite. Hadrosaur tooth Spinosaurus tooth Tyrannosaurus Rex tooth replica.
When I was a child near Adelebsen we'd collect these crinoids from the hill across the way.... We called them "Hexenpfennige", or Witches' pennies. Long time ago; wish I had them now.
Ah memories. It was a cow pasture if I recall, and you had to watch out for the bull, who would really chase you to the edge of the fence. The other edge was a sheer drop (best place to find Hexenpfennige); the other edge was forest; badgers, sprained ankles, cowplop. I miss Germany...
I have very few, and no way so good looking. That plus I don't own a digital camera made some crappy pics out of them, but still I think I have a couple of, if not great looking, at least interesting ones,
This is a print of a JURASSIC beach floor. There are a lot of very small mussels on it. I found it in the north of Spain (Asturias), in a beach where there were Dinosaur footprints all around. The beach was awesome, specially in the evening when it was all covered with fog and knowing there were dino footprints all around totally gave it a primal power to that site. Magical.
The other side of the rock is even more interesting because you can clearly see it's totally a piece of the sea floor. It still conserves the round shapes in the sand that the waves made. And in the furrows of the sand, more diminute jurassic mussels
This one was found on the same dinosaur jurassic beach. The whole beach was made of this weird sedimentary stone, dark grey and covered with fossils. I found a gigantic rock covered with enormous mussels. I tried to find some small rock with fossils to bring home and found the previous one and then this next bizarre one. What can this be? Any ideas? I have no clue. Maybe a SPONGE?
Now this next one was found in a cliff besides the sea, only some few km from the jurassic beach with the dinosaur footprints. Seems the whole Asturian coast is made of fossils. This cliff was also made of a sedimentary rock wich seemed made of sand grains. The rocks had extremely sharped edges and one had to be very careful walking through them. Those rocks had made a whole razor-sharped cliff. I found some fossils on those rocks. This one seems to be a crynoid, or a worm... or sumthin.... No clue to be honest.
These are two trilobites. The small one is again from Asturias, and also found on a beach. It's cute because it's transformed into a ball. In person looks better of course, but you can see one of the eyes, like a little lump. The bigger one was the very first fossil I found when I was 12. I found it in the center of the country, far away from the ocean. It was in a forest where there was a slate quarry. I was kinda happy finding this. All the slate was contaminated with fossilized animals, that place was an ordovicic nirvana. Another guy who was with me was lucky enough to find a GIGANTIC trilobites, big as a friggin human hand palm!
And these are gypsum crystals I found in the countryside of Madrid. They are beautiful because they are absolutely transparent. Well, some are totally translucid, others are also transparent and clean too but with a caramel colour, wich makes them look tasty -but they aren't- ;D
I have some archeological remains I also found myself, some medieval arabian ceramic fragments, 1.000 years old. Got them on an unexcavated city on the countryside of Madrid (wich never has been worked on, not even studied properly because it's on some private lands... but it doesn't make a lot of sense since in Spain the archeological patrimony is protected by the law and belongs to the state...). I also have a big fragment of ancient Roman amphora that some fishermen got in his web and then sold to my father, who then gave it to me as a present when I was still a kid. It's a beautiul piece, covered with sea life.
Last Edit: Sept 27, 2010 15:32:49 GMT by foxilized
Nice collections everyone! Foxilized, I'm jealous that you've found so many great fossils locally. Griffin, your collection is also great, a lot of nice pieces. I used to have that same tyrannosaur tooth replica myself.
Aww, I'm all jealous... one of my main ambitions is finding a fossil (in the "wild"), but here in Norway the chances are slim. Of course they can be bought, but actually discovering something seems so much more exciting.
Niroot, I can take some (crappy) pics of the ceramics too, if you want to see them.
Oh, I would like that very much, thank you! And the Roman amphora too, please, if it's no trouble. ;D Perhaps you could post them in another thread on this board. I'm sure there must be others besides myself who would be interested. I'm thinking Mnemosaurus might, for instance, as an art historian. ;D And Sumo...
Last Edit: Sept 27, 2010 20:38:42 GMT by Himmapaan