Sunday, May 5, 2013

Day 7 of 8: Two more Fossil-Hunting stops

We awoke in Mineral Wells with plans for another site near to the town.  While many of our group parted for other adventures, we still had 4 cars' worth of people.  North of town is a road cut in late Pennsylvanian strata.  There we sought and found calyxes of a type of stemless, free-floating crinoid.  Then we started finding all sorts of other types of marine fossils such as gastropods, horn corals, and clams.  (After the trip I've learned that Dennis compared finds from this location to those of the Mineral Wells Fossil Park and there was no overlap of species!)

While we were on hands and knees early this Friday morning, a local drove up and said she was off to her yoga class but if we were still going to be there in a couple of hours, she'd take us up on her property, the fence of which was up the slope over our heads.  We could not go without her as her dogs would not be happy.  She is Lucy, a Natural Dog Trainer.

We thanked her saying that we'd probably not be there that much longer and she left, presumably to attend her class.  It wasn't very long until Lucy returned saying she'd go to a later class so come on up because there should be lots more fossils on her property.  It was a lovely day and we scrambled up the slope, over a fence, and across to a gully. 

Lucy's pointing towards that gully

Down the gully we clambered.  There we found many pebbles, some pretty flowers, a shaly outcrop with some oysters and a few nautiloids.  It wasn't quite as rich as hoped but, Lucy explained, it hadn't rained in a while - usually there were lots more.

After this stop, another car's participants had other plans, so three headed west and north.  We had one more fossil-hunting potential for this trip, at an outcrop of lower Cretaceous strata.  This locality was a few miles north of a community called Fluvanna. 

There were plenty of echinoids - I've been calling them heart urchins but they might be of the Macraster genus.  There were some gastropods and ostrea.  The coolest finds, by the Langstons, are probably Salenia mexicana!

When we finally decided we'd made a complete pass over the outcrop, we headed on to stay the night in Amarillo.

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