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Fossil Preparation Blog

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Getting Started

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Hey guys! So I thought that I would start a new blog here. I have been looking for videos and other instructional material on line for how to prep / clean a fossil and have not found much. Google did not seem to be to helpful in this matter. I did find a few more things on this forum and they were very helpful. I learned what materials I needed and some techniques of how to clean fossils, but nothing like "Make sure to do this.....", "don't do this....". So I was able to gain access to my School's Palio and geoscience lab, and we put together a fossil prep lab. Now it may not be as fancy as a museum but it works!! And I am excited to work there! I may also be able to go to a nearby museum and be trained in how to do this as well. We will see.

So I have some trilobites from the wheeler shale formation, in Dugway Utah, that I will be practicing on. The point of this is to get my skills high enough to be able to work on other fossils with out damaging them, for a research project I am involved in. In the video I show you what I do and talk about why and also talk about what I do wrong and how I fixed them. Please feel free to talk about this and to give advice.

Here is a video of what I have been able to do so far. I started a youtube channel so that everyone can see what I am doing.

So far I found that if i put a circled groove around the fossil, hopefully deep enough, that when I break the parallel layers of shale below the fossil that it will let the fossil be removed, with some matrix, from the rock. I will then later remove the excess rock off the fossil with an air abrasive / sandblasting machine. After I put the circled groove around my trilobite fossil I put my finger on it so that way it does not fly away when I use the air pen to pop it out. I had some success with this.

I also found that keeping the PSI on the sand blasting machine around 5 PSI was necessary. Anything higher then that and I was damaging the fossils I found this out the hard way. :( I damaged two fossil because I did not check the PSI on the machine before I started. Fortunately they are ones that I own and not some one else. Best check that PSI next time!! Well enjoy my video! and remember please share this with others who are interested in getting started. And feel free to give any advice I would need for a beginner!

Zach


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