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Found 340 results

  1. Hi All, I took a trip to Mazon Creek recently with my family. It was the first time that we had visited the site, and we came away with a few concretions. One piece of a concretion that we found already split in the field seemed to have an elongated impression upon it. We're not quite what organism could have created the impression, or even if it is a true fossil at all. Perhaps it is part of a marine worm? We'd love to hear what you all think about it.
  2. Are any of these Mazon Creek Fossils?

    Hi everyone, After the thunderstorm yesterday, me and some friends drove up to the Ponderosa area of Mazon creek park to look for fossils. It was our first time, and we didn't know the specifics of what to look for, but we spent three hours walking the whole perimeter of the lake, braving the aggressive swarms of biting insects. Can anyone here tell me if any of the rocks we found are the right ones to possibly contain fossils? Attached is a picture of all the rocks, and an album with closeup pictures. https://photos.app.goo.gl/XoCZQJwgWU7dbcoS7 Thanks a lot!!!
  3. This morning I found a picture frame that I put together that had a couple pictures that I took and an article on Torino Hill. I believe that I got the article from The Wilmington Free Press around 1990. It is cool how they mention that Torino "was a thriving mining community", looking at it now it is hard to imagine that. I am also including a couple aerial pictures of how the Torino Hill looks now. You can still collect concretions at this location, but you need a boat to get over to it. A picture as I was on my way to Torino- On the Island-
  4. Tully Monster Coloring Page

    I drew this coloring sheet to give out at an upcoming children's program I will be doing at the public library my mom works at. I have done two previous programs over the years on fossils and dinosaurs, but this time I am going to be concentrating on the fossils of Illinois. Of course, this includes our bizarre state fossil, the Tully Monster! The sheet features a Tullimonstrum front and center chasing after an Elonichthys, with a pair of Essexella making their way across the background. It's not the most scientifically accurate drawing, but I hope it will be fun to color! Feel free to download and share- I uploaded both JPEG and PDF versions. (The PDF version also has some descriptive text on it) tully monster coloring page smaller.pdf
  5. I have a few nodules that haven't split from my Mazon Creek trip in early March. They have been through I'd guess 20-30 freeze-thaw cycles by now. I have been getting impatient, so I decided to whack them with a hammer and chisel. I've smacked each of them like a dozen times, but they still won't split. It's not obvious where the bedding plane (?) might lie, so I've struck them from all sides to no avail. Is this an indication that there is nothing inside, and therefore no bedding plane?
  6. This is a statement that I often make to myself throughout the Summer and the vast majority of the time I decide to stay home. This was not the case in decades past and it is not because I am older and slowing down, which is definitely not the case, the main culprit is vegetation. Today I had the idea of going to the Pit and taking pictures of the area so new collectors can see areas that they collect at and also see the conditions that they will face in the summertime. I usually go to the Pit at the beginning of the fossil collecting season (March 1st), this is your best chance to find concretions since there is no foliage. Now I also am not saying that there are no fossils to be found in the summertime, I found some today and I was not really looking, it is just that much more difficult and when you add the ticks and mosquito's into the mix, it makes for a real fun day.- NOT. So this morning I left at about 8:00 am for the 45 mile drive to Pit 11, I brought a small backpack and a hammer along with my mountain bike, I was really glad that I brought it. I road up and down hills, road through mud and water and across flat lands with 3+ foot vegetation- after 4 hours I decided to leave. This Post is PICTURE HEAVY and will take SEVERAL POSTS to complete, so bear with me- I will include screen shots of aerial views as well as a couple pictures from about 20 years ago to show how things have changed. This post should also help the new comer get acquainted with the area the so they gain hopefully have better success when collecting. If others have pictures or other things that they will like to add, please feel free to do that. The first area that I stopped is an place that we use to call "Inside the cooling lakes". Years ago before they made this all access entrance, we had to enter on the other side of the cooling lakes at a location called "Fossil Gate". This was an area that was only opened on Saturdays and Sundays and it was manned by a guard from the Nuclear Power Plant. Cars would line up and when the guard opened the gate, you had to show your collecting pass and he would double check it against cards that they had with our signature. Once everything was cleared, you were free to drive in and find your area to collect. There were times when only me and my son were out collecting and the guard would wait in the shack until 4 pm when we left, it was pretty sweet. Mazonia / Braidwood State Fish and Wildlife Area This is an aerial shot of where you turn in for the Mazonia area that allows access into the cooling lakes. The island that you see below is Turino Hill and it is about the only place that is still free of vegetation on the sides of the hill. I collected this area a few times with a friend that had a boat, there are fossils to be found there. The other shot shows the parking lot where you will leave your car. After you park and you are getting ready to go collect, if you are facing the lake, you want to go down the road to your right. I have never found anything on the road to the left, except fishermen. Here is an aerial shot that shows the other islands that you can collect on if you have a boat. Here are a pictures of Turino Hill- On top of the hill there is a flag. Here is a picture of Turino Hill and the Nuclear Reactors to the right. A close up- Here is the road to the right, you can go past the chain blocking the path, it is there so no vehicles drive down the road. Again, before they made this entrance we had access to that road, only from farther down it- it saved a lot of walking. You can check for concretions along the shore, but at this time of the year it gets really rough to get to the shore as you continue down the road, as shown below. I crossed the chain and continued down the road on my bike for about 15 minutes until I arrived at an area that I use to collect at in the Summertime- it has really changed. Below are some older pictures of how it use to look. As you can see from the pictures above, there were plenty of places to collect concretions that were weathering out of the sides of the spoil piles. Here is an aerial shot of where this collecting area is. I will show pictures of how this area looks now in the NEXT POST.
  7. Looking to trade for some Mazon creek fossils. Nothing too fancy, but I’d be happy to look at anything you have (besides Essexella). I have some soft bodied animals as well as trilobites from Chengjiang and other lower Cambrian formations in China, as well as a bunch of unprepped material (corals, brachiopods, trilobites) from Paulding, OH and Penn Dixie, NY. PM me if you’re interested and I can send some pictures. Thanks.
  8. Mazon Creek Spots

    So being a newbie in hunting fossil’s I decided to go somewhere near. I went to the creek and collected rocks which I thought were nodules, to find out they aren’t. Is there any advice on where to find the fossils and what they look like.
  9. New Mazon Creek Collection

    Hello everyone! I've been inspired by so many good Mazon Creek topics in this forum, I thought I would start my own. I'll post my own finds, which so far don't include anything as exotic as a Tully Monster, but maybe I'll get lucky on page 134 or so... I have to credit my kids with getting me interested in fossil collecting. I was always interested in rocks and fossils but when my 10 year old son had his dinosaur phase it really sparked my interest again. I wondered if an ordinary person like me could go out and find fossils? So I Googled fossil collecting and found out that not only could I search on my own, one of the world's best sites for amateurs was just 3 hours away! The date I discovered Mazon Creek existed was 9/10/2017. I know that date because earlier in the day was the last ESCONI trip to the Braceville spoil pile for the year - I just missed it! So in May 2018 I finally went on that trip and was hooked. Since then I've gone to Braceville several times, the I&M Canal trip once, and a handful of trips on my own into Pit 11. I want to thank too many people to list for helping me learn about this new hobby. Everyone I've met on the field trips has been so friendly and helpful. And if you have posted something about Mazon Creek on this forum, I've read it. Special thanks to Nimravis for his Sometimes You Have To Whack It thread, which he started the day after my first trip to Mazon Creek - it has taught me so much and I'm so impressed at what a genuinely nice person he is. And Andrew Bach's book from his American Fossil Hunt site is wonderful, so so helpful. With that, onto the fossils (and lots of questions from me). I thought to start I would show some of my jellyfish, all Essexella asherae, I believe. I find it interesting that they are all so different, although they tend to fall into various "types" - some have a distinct "head", others are just faint outlines, some are just cylindrical shapes. #1-3 below are all from Pit 11 - the first two have a distinct head and the other is more cylindrical. For anyone who hasn't heard of Mazon Creek, these fossils are found in siderite concretions from the mid-Pennsylvanian epoch of the Carboniferous period, from roughly 305-310 mya. Cheers! Chris
  10. Mazon Creek Fossils - ID Help

    Hi everyone - I need some help identifying a few of the Mazon Creek fossils my father and I found over the last two years. I will first apologize for the blurriness of the images, I must have had something on my lens. But, I can take more if necessary (just not today!). Here's the link to the images: https://imgur.com/a/yRaND6K I have three plants, something that's just parallel lines, and something that looks like a shrimp. Any help would be appreciated!
  11. Note that this was not found inside of a nodule.
  12. This morning I left the house early to drive out to the Braceville Shaft Mine in Braceville, Illinois to drop off 6 buckets of open Mazon Creek concretions so the 50 or so members of ESCONI could take anything that caught their eye. Today is the first trip to the Shaft Mine this year for ESCONI and the members are going to have great weather. Unfortunately for me, I only did a drop and run since I have to work today. Other FF members like Rich @stats also brought buckets to dump for the participants to go through. Rich along with two other ESCONI members run the trips out to Braceville. Besides Mazon Creek fossils, I also brought Mississippian hash plates from Anna and Vienna, Illinois, Pennsylvanian hash plates from Oglesby, Illinois, Ordovician hash plates from Lawrenceburg and St. Leon, Indiana. In addition to the hash plates, I brought Pliocene shells and coral from Florida, shark teeth pans echinoids from Morocco, brachiopods and crinoid stems from St. Leon, dugong bones from Sarasota, Florida and a real pretty Turritella gastropod piece from Wyoming. I place the hash plates on the dirt path to the collecting area so people can see them. The kids and adults get excited when they notice the pieces and that they contain fossils. Here are some of the participants listening to one of the leaders for instructions on safety and what to look for. The walk down the dirt path can be and was muddy due to recent rains, but it should make a great day for collecting. It was difficult to roll 5 gallons buckets down the path with a mini dolly, I am glad others had a wagon to help out. Here are some general pics that I took before I left for the day. If you ever have a chance to go on one of these trips, you will not be disappointed.
  13. Ricky’s Mazon Creek thread

    Hey everybody! Welcome to my Mazon Creek thread, where I’ll be posting pictures of various Mazon Creek finds! I’ve been hunting there for upwards of 10 years, so I have piles of uncracked nodules just waiting to be opened. So as they open, they’ll find their way here! Feel free to jump in and add your own and keep this thread going! And I’m sure there are many that have gone unidentified, so I’ll probably need some help from the experts!
  14. Mazon Creek trip

    Hi everyone. I live in Perryville ,Mo and want to make a trip to the mazon Creek, Illinois. I have no experience or knowledge were to go and how to collect there. Can anyone point me to the exact location I need and are the Creek beds dry now or still running.? Is it just for private collectors. I saw there is a permit needed, but that's fine. Please can anyone give me any pointers on how to plan the trip or a PDF book to guide us. It's like 6 hrs drive, so we don't want to go wrong place and not find anything. What do we look for and how are they opened? Thank you everyone for any help you can give us
  15. Today I had the great pleasure of spending 9 hours with Fossil Forum Member @Monica while we visited Dave's Down To Earth Rock Shop and Prehistoric Museum in Evanston, Illinois and then we drove 90 miles NW of Chicago to the Burpee Museum in Rockford, Illinois. Monica flew from Ontario, Canada on Friday with her husband to attend the Stars Wars Celebration at the McCormick Place. Today she set time aside for me so we could do some Fossil stuff while here husband went back to the convention. After picking her up from her downtown hotel, we drove North on Lake Shore Drive so I could show her the lakefront. After a couple quick stops, we made a detour to my sons house so I could drop off a new Lego Jurassic Park Set for my 5 year old Grandson, that's as far as he goes with fossil related stuff. After this we had a 15 minute drive to Dave's Rock Shop, this was the first time that Monica has been to a Fossil Store and this is a great one to visit.. This post will be picture heavy. Dave's Down to Earth Rock Shop- The below pictures are just some of the fossils that are for sale, I will then post some of the fossils that are in the stores downstairs museum. I am not one for pictures, but had to take one to for the post.
  16. Help With First Mazon Concretion

    Hey everyone, I took my first trip down to collect the famous Mazon Creek concretions over the weekend, and this is one of my first concretions to open so far. I was hoping I could ask for some clarification in what I'm seeing. My first thought was just that it's a clay deposit, because the lighter material which the crack is running through seems to be clay or another substance which is very soft and crumbly. Additionally, there are what appear to be much darker needle-like inclusions of material running randomly through that more crumbly material, which unfortunately I do not know how to photograph. On that note, my apologies for the awful cellphone photographs. I hope they're clear enough for a rough identification. The grayer material on the left is much harder, and appears to be crystalline. I was guessing possibly a shell? (replaced by quartz? does that occur at Mazon?) The white deposits (calcite?) at extreme left seem to be a separate feature from the U-shaped feature stretching across most of the concretion. Thanks so much for your time. I'll try to scrounge up an actual camera soon.
  17. First Time at Mazon Creek

    Hello, I am planning on going to Mazon Creek for the first time this weekend and was wondering if I could get some advice. I have fossil hunted at the Peace river and Shark Tooth Hill, but despite living in Illinois, I have never been to Mazon creek. I am not sure where I should start looking. I have read some of the trip reports on the forum and most seem to suggest either around Pit 11 or south of W 5000N road. How long does it usually take to get to productive spots? I read that some people have to hike for an hour before finding fossils. Also, where should I park my car? How much time is usually spent at Mazon creek? Is it an all-day event or just a few hours? I was planning on attending the ESCONI gem, mineral, and fossil show on Saturday morning (3/23) and then heading Mazon creek afterwards. Will I have enough time? Thanks in advance for any advice.
  18. Mazon Creek area nodules

    Hi everyone! Today I have something different to show you all: Mazon Creek area nodules that have opened for me via the freeze-thaw method!!! These unopened nodules were acquired from @deutscheben after I asked him if he wouldn't mind sending me some since I wanted to try my luck at opening them myself. He generously sent me 18 unopened nodules, all of which have gone through the freeze-thaw cycle I don't know how many times and so far only 3 have opened up. I'd like a little help in identifying what they are - thanks in advance!!! I believe they are from the Pennsylvanian period of the Carboniferous - any and all help/suggestions are appreciated!!! Monica Nodule #1, both pieces: I believe this is an Annularia sp.: Nodule #2, both pieces: Perhaps bark or Cordaites sp.? By the way - do you think I should put the bigger piece back through freeze-thaw to see if it opened up some more? More to come...
  19. I'm back in IL for spring break this week, and thought it was about time I went down to Mazon Creek. I've never been there before, but have read quite a lot of trip reports others have posted and felt prepared. I parked right off of 5000N at Monster Lake to start. I walked around the lake for about an hour, but found nothing resembling a concretion. There were an insane number of rocks eroding from the slopes, but I saw nothing of interest. I then headed about a third of the way down the gravel road and decided to check out the area near a "Fossil Hunting Area" sign. I walked near there for about half and hour, but the grass was too dense to see the ground at all. I then headed right across to the other side of the road and up a large hill. Here's my car from the top. I spent an hour or so combing the ridge, but still found no nodules. I thought about venturing down into the valley, but it was quite steep and didn't feel comfortable doing so alone. Finally, I drove another third or so down the road until I spotted exposed clay. I wandered around this area for an hour and a half. I was getting somewhat frustrated at this point, so I got on my hands and knees and crawled through the brush, hoping that being closer to the ground would give me better luck.
  20. Fossil hunting season at Illinois's Mazonia-Braidwood State Fish and Wildlife Area, the iconic Pit 11, runs from March to September every year. I didn't make it to the park at all last year, so I wanted to get out there on day 1 this year. I took the day off work and thankfully the weather cooperated- it was cloudy and in the 30s for most of the day. I picked up my rental car at 7:30 in the morning and hit the road for the 90 minute drive north. I wasn't the first one at the park, though- I saw a few other folks heading out on the trail with buckets in hand as I pulled into the parking lot off 5000 N Rd. Although I have been to Mazonia about 6 times in the last 5 years, I am still finding my way around the overgrown landscape of the park. I started out with an area I had been to before, and had some early success. Unfortunately, I followed that by wandering off to explore a new area, lugging my heavy bucket through heavy brush for 2 hours with almost no success. That (and the fact that I was in the early stages of a head cold) led me to taking it easy in the afternoon. I was only able to add a few more concretions to my bucket, but the sun did peek out briefly towards the end of the day resulting in some lovely panoramas from up on top of a ridge. I was able to chat briefly with another fossil hunter when I got back to the parking lot about the joys and tribulations of fossil hunting at Mazonia- we discussed the hard work necessary in order to have a chance to open an incredible window into a 300 million year old world, and how we wouldn't trade that chance for anything. I finished the day at the former tipple on the western side of the park, wide open ridges of dumped waste from the former mine that remain inhospitable to plant life to this day. It is an alien looking world, and usually has not been a great spot for finding fossils. However, it is easy to access at least and I was actually happy to come across a few rough bark impressions in sandstone that I picked up. The sun was getting low, so I decided to call it a day. I only collected about 1 1/2 gallons of concretions, but I was still glad I could get out to the park and find something. I will put my finds in the next post.
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