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FYI @Ptychodus04 @Kittenmittens @mamlambo @Fossilis Willis @Malcolmt @DevonianDigger Well managed to get out last Friday to dig up some Green River fish from the split fish layers. These layers aren't nice and hard like the 18 inch, nor are the rarer fish as obtainable (they don't preserve as well), but you can still find some pretty cool stuff. A family next to me found a foot long Phareodus in perfect condition with a dark red color (forgot to take a picture of that). I don't think they realize just how lucky they are because those are not easy to find. The night before it rained a ton so I had a hard time getting to the quarry. The oily lime based rock wouldn't split properly until about noon but I hauled some decent Knightia's out. These aren't your prized, rare, fish but they are still a blast to dig up. Pulled out about fifty and worked all day. With all the mud and rain I seriously didn't think anyone would show up but Friday was very busy. About fifty in total came. The morning was tough. Lots of muddy rock to split and it just didn't want to split evenly. Everything would crumble on me. As you can see in the picture below things were muddy and wet. This Knightia has some pretty nice curves. Another curvaceous fossil. I'm in love. The split fish come in their varieties. Usually I only keep the ones that are completely filled in then put a sealant over them. This one looks alright considering it's a bit patchy. This one will be fun to prepare with my new CP9361 and some very careful handling of the scribe. This is one of my A grade Knightia's from the trip. Great color. The tail can be teased out a bit more. I really like how the vertebrae pop out in a 3D manner. Keep on fossiling!
Sagebrush Steve posted a topic in Fossil Hunting TripsMy wife and I just got back from a week’s driving tour through Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming. We stopped in at American Fossil Quarry outside of Kemmerer, Wyoming, for a few hours to dig for Green River fish. It was a productive day, and we both bagged some nice finds. Seth, the owner of the quarry and a TFF member, wasn’t there that day, but his assistant, Nick, was very helpful in getting us started. I brought a bag full of tools which were mostly unnecessary. As Nick pointed out, all you really need is a brick hammer and a thin chisel, both of which they provide. I noted that since this was the end of the season and the chisels had undoubtedly seen hard use all summer, they had pretty blunt tips. I had brought my own set from Geo-Tools (http://www.geo-tools.com/fossil-rock-chisels/custom-thin-rock-splitting-chisels) and found the 1/16-inch chisel with a single bevel was particularly useful. My wife used the chisel they supplied and was quite successful. The floor of the quarry was covered with a fine powder of shale. We worked for 3 hours before the wind picked up and started blowing the powder around so much we decided to call it a day. Nick loaded our fossils onto a cart and took me over to a line of saws that can be used to get rid of the excess matrix and trim the specimens down to a reasonable size. After a quick tutorial I was happily working on my own trimming down all my specimens. I noted the saw was a Chicago Electric 10”, 2.5 HP tile saw like they sell at Harbor Freight: https://www.harborfreight.com/10-in-25-hp-tilebrick-saw-69275.html. But the blade was definitely much better than you can get at Harbor Freight. It was a 10” blade designed for dry cutting without the need for water. I was very impressed with the saw and wouldn’t hesitate to buy one from HF if I had enough need for it. But I’d look elsewhere for a top-quality blade. About 10 years ago we had visited the Warfield quarry across the road, and they had us digging right up against the rock wall where you could either split loose shale or extract your own shale right from the wall (which was a bit of a chore even at my then-younger age). At American Fossil Quarry, they extract the shale for you with a giant excavator and lay it out in rows of piles for you to access. Probably a lot safer than being right up against a crumbly rock wall. You don’t get the chance to record exact location and orientation of the fossils in-situ, but unless you are a professional paleontologist you won’t care. As Nick said, this is a commercial quarry, not a scientific expedition. The fun is in finding the fossils, of which we found plenty, even in the space of only 3 hours. I’d strongly encourage anyone to stop in at this quarry. The dirt road is reasonable for the family car right up to the descent at the quarry entrance. It’s then a bit of an adventure if you don’t have 4WD (which we fortunately did), but at the bottom there were even large travel trailers that had made it down safely. Be sure to mention that you are a member of The Fossil Forum and they will give you a 10% discount. Here are some photos of a few of our finds. My ID’s on them are tentative, so if anyone has any corrections, please let me know. Full collection after trimming: Mioplosus labracoides: Diplomystus dentatus: Small Diplomystus: Diplomystus needing more prep: