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Hi, gang. Some of you may remember the Southern Morocco trip I took in February. One of the places visited was quite near to me, about 70 km, lovely Swiss style mountain town called Ifrane where I found some Middle Jurassic brachiopods and echinoids. See http://www.thefossilforum.com/index.php?/topic/93193-ifrane-middle-atlas-morocco/&tab=comments#comment-1026671 A friend offered to drive me up there for the day so off we went I decided to check some outcrops on the other side of the road this time so went and had a peek.Sorry, no photos this time as wifey didn't come, she was ironing her money and she has the only camera phone. The first outcrop is an oyster bed crammed with enormous oysters. This is incredibly hard and couldn't be broken safely. (safely as in getting the fossils out in one piece, not my own personal well-being). But I was lucky enough to find this monster just lying a the base: Scale in inches it would seem. I think I can clean it up a bit. Eventually. After i'd dragged my broken carcass a few hundred whatevers further on, the limestone became yellower, softer but still pretty hard. Lots of broken shell material, a couple of ammonite bits, but the only salvageable items were these couple of rather nice gastropods; again, they should clean up a bit better: Oh, the scale's in centimetres this time. I felt like a change. You know, it's amazing how often I've given up on a days collecting and then, on the way back to the car, you find something just in your path that makes the trip. Here was mine this time : Forgot the scale altogether. Sigh. Maybe four or five centmetres diameter. Harpoceras, perhaps? It has a very pronounced keel. @Ludwigia Roger? I'll be able to prep this pretty well in 2046 when i get to my Jurassic stuff. Nothing spectacular, but it's always so nice to be out in the field collecting. Life's Good. Adam.
Our Moroccan trip from 19th-23rd February 2019. Day One; Locality One IFRANE Here we are near Ifrane, a village built by the French in the 1930's in a Swiss chalet style so there are pointy roofs instead of the usual traditional flat roofs of Moroccan buildings. This is wifey and Anouar, a Moroccan tour guide, old friend and one time student of English, his brother, our driver Abdullah, is taking the photo. Anouar paid for the trip, accommodation and food in return for me teaching him a little about the fossils, crystals and minerals that we encountered. The trip was mainly an exploratory voyage for me to discover where was worth revisiting when i was alone and had more time to spare. Somewhere in this area are outcrops of Pleinsbachian (stage of the Liassic/ Lower Jurassic) rocks that are stuffed with terebratulid brachiopods including more than a dozen species and subspecies that were first described from this locality, many unique to the site. Unfortunately, it's well off the beaten track, but I think i know roughly where now, so will return another day. Not time today! The area is covered in loose rocks, ploughed up in fields and roadbuilding, eroded from outliers or washed into the area in the autumn rainy season floods or spring melts. The ones behind us look Middle Jurassic to me, yellowish limestones, some with iron staining. Upper Jurassic and Cretaceous rocks are also in the region. The high ridges in the background are basalt intrusions as the Atlas mountains were formed as Africa began to collide with Europe throughout the Palaoegene and Neogene and this resulted in a lot of volcanoes. We moved on north of the village and stopped where we saw a group of the local fossil huts. These are all year round businesses, but in the season, from May til October you will find little stalls selling local fossils and minerals all the way along the route through the Atlas Mountains to the Sahara. But the temporary stalls are all closed at this time of year, as it's pretty chilly and there are few tourists. Top Tip : Always pop into a couple of different shops and check out prices. Tell the next shopkeeper how much the previous one had stated and see if they'll undercut for a similar item. Always, always haggle! Top Tip : Ask which fossils and crystals are local if you don't know already; most of the shops in Morocco have local fossils and others from all over the country. Local fossils will usually be much cheaper, wait until you get nearer to the localities of other fossils and see the prices come down! Top Tip : If you have the time, ask the purveyors of local fossils to show you where they came from. Then go and have a look. They don't mind this at all.