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NZ_Fossil_Collecta posted a topic in Fossil Hunting Tripstoday i found a virgin copal site, A.K.A i found another creek in the forest. this creek in particular was more ideal than others i had hunted in before because is had eroded more steeply. what i mean is that the creek bank was quite sheer in some places, which is perfect for finding kauri copal because your digging is done for you. this particular piece was spotted while i was getting into the creek to look for kauri copal, i saw it and gave it a slight kick with my gumboot (wellingtons for the non kiwis out there) and saw the copal underneath. after a good heave and tug to get it out of the mud it came free and i was astonished to see, after i had cleaned it off in the creek, that it had a piece of kauri bark attached to it, and on closer inspection, it also has a knot-like bark injury preserved too. i am going to be polishing off the copal in the weeks to come and when i am finally done with the sanding and polishing, i will post pictures too. <---- bark injury, this is on the inside of the bark. <---- outside of bark that is covered in the resin that seeped out of it thousands of years ago.
Ok, so a few of you have heard me rambling on about that Kauri gum i found a while ago but up until now i haven't got around to giving you pictures. well, here is a picture of a polished piece of the stuff. ~90% of the lump we found was milky and mostly opaque but there was a large pocket of clearer copal in one part, the piece in the picture is a piece of that pocket. i then polished it up with Brasso and a rag, and now it shines beautifully. me, and occasionally my friends, will be hunting for some more of the copal so you can expect to see more pictures in future. Insects, you ask? as of yet, i have not looked at it under the microscope.
(please note: i do not know for sure that it is Kauri gum but given the location, smell, and look, it is quite likely) today i went hunting in the backyard for Kauri gum. hunting in a backyard is not your usual fossil trip, and although it is close to home (and refreshments) it has it's own set of cons too. PROS: -local -easy to hunt in -it's on your property; you don't have to worry about a fossil being snapped up while you're away CONS: -you can't dig - very limited area anyways, basically what i do is crawl around the yard looking for exposed pieces of gum. these are given away by the pale oxidized surface. the reason the gum is so close to the surface is because when the house was built, the builders had to dig up a lot of the land, then flatten it back down to form the yard, so my digging was done for me. the annoying thing is some of the gum is milky and opaque with only small portions of it clear (which, for me hunting for inclusions, is no good at all) i found some small, rather clear pieces and one seems to have some sort of inclusion although i do not know whether it is insect or not. based on what i have read on the internet, this is the copal variety of the gum, at least a few thousand years old (although probably more) which puts it in the sub-fossil category (still worth collecting to me). below is a picture of some of the un-prepped nuggets i found. if one yields inclusions i will post a picture of that in a separate thread. happy fossiling