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Found 26 results

  1. A Weekend Visit to A Road Cut Near Our Home Nan was busy this weekend so I drove to a road cut on Route 422 south of Pottstown, PA - about 5 miles from our house. I had been told by a friend at the Delaware Valley Paleo Society that there wouldn't be any fossils here - from the geological record, I think this is part of the Gettysburg-Newark Lowland Formation which is described online as late Triassic. The shale is red with some green and gray mixed in here and there. Telling me that there wouldn't be any fossils here was a challenge I couldn't resist. So I decided to see if I could find anything in this very barren but geologically interesting formation. What I found were fossils and impressions of a tree and twigs that resemble Siggilaria (which were extinct by the Triassic I believe), and a few other trace fossils and what I assume are some mineralizations that look like leaves but probably aren't. I wonder what kind of tree this bark pattern represents...any ideas? The roadside exposure is a very steep slope covered with golf ball sized rubble and lots of larger rock formations protruding, here and there. The roadcuts are located along Route 422 several miles south of Pottstown, Pennsylvania. I studied everything that was visible, cracking lots of rocks to see what might be hidden. Nothing, no marine fossils, not even a freshwater clam. I began to feel that this might have been a dry area, or mostly dry area. Then I came across a narrow cascade of rubble that had eroded off the steep wall and noticed some red shale pieces that looked like smooth bark of some kind. On closer inspection, I discovered several pieces (many were fragmented) that turned out to be a grooved bark pattern. In the first fossil (1.1, 1.2 and 1.3 with backview and closeup - see below) you can see: a) the bark pattern which resembles Siggilaria including one branch node (the round circle) and you can also see at the top where the bark ridges begin to branch into a diamond shaped pattern. Although this is supposed to be a Triassic formation, the tree bark has a Carboniferous look, but I'm not familiar with Triassic trees. Here are the images of the bark sample: BARK 1.1 BARK 1.2 BARK 1.1 Back View BARK 1.1 CLOSE Bark 2.1 and 3.1, and Fossil 4a(front) and 4b (back) - These are additional samples of what appear to be bark and branches/twigs: BARK 2.1 BARK 3.1 FOSSIL 4a Front FOSSIL 4b Back Twig 5 - Here is what appears to be a twig and twig impression: TWIG 5 Not sure what this is: FOSSIL 6 I assume these are mineralizations (dendrites) that look like leaf impressions but are chemical, not fossils - note the shale color is different from the red shale above (labeled Mineralization 1 and 2): MIN1 MIN2 Anyway, I guess my point is that I visited a road cut that is close to home, easy to access, and where I was told there should be no fossils. I found quite a lot to look at and ponder, and best of all, despite being parked on the roadside for 3 hours, I wondered if I would receive a visit from curious police but not at all so I felt very comfortable, except for the times when I climbed some very steep sections and found it a bit tricky to make my way back down the steep crumbly slope (I got down by choosing a section that had small samplings and used those as grips on the way down). I'm still not sure what else might be here or at other roadcuts but I have a hunch that this must be what fossil hunting in "dry" tree and plant areas might be like, since all the sources claim that not many dry forests were preserved as fossils because there wasn't much mud in the dry areas and they almost needed to be buried in a rockslide or freak flood to be preserved. Paleobotanists also suggest that the fossil record is heavily weighted toward wetland plants and trees so anything that comes from what was originally "dry" forest or meadow is worth inspecting.
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