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Hey everyone - hope you're all havin' a good time Some of you might remember that I was making preparations, some time ago, for a field trip to the Kansas chalk. I'm hoping to be there for a few weeks in august, but I'm trying to get the preparations done in advance One of these is compiling a list of useful things to know, just little bits of information that'd be good to keep in mind during my field trip.. What to you people think of this? Some of these are based on what other TFF members have told me (e.g. @Castle Rock, @Ramo...) Having a solid ‘collection policy’, but not too specific (for instance, "collecting only fish material" etc…) Concerning field trips, try to always have a Plan B (location-wise) Anything fairly large should be removed with a plaster jacket - concerning this – for fish, no ‘release layer’ between fossil and plaster jacket should be added (due to fragility of bones) – plaster is enough to keep the bones safe Fossils in the yellow chalk are “easier” to excavate, as the matrix is strong and it protects better the fossils Most fish bones are very thin and very fragile Fossils should be prepared in the 'usual way' (dental picks + consolidant/preservative) Record EVERY bit of information that can be acquired (i.e. stratigraphy, systematic paleontology etc…) as it can come in very handy Watch where you sit… Always be sure to have permission to collect Given that collecting opportunities in the Niobrara Chalk of Kansas are very limited, be very attentive to the slightest possible hunting spot (road cut, small outcrop…) Natural dangers (sinkholes, rattlers, you name it) Articulated vertebrae are potentially a good sign Reduce as much as possible the mass of a block of chalk (i.e. for transportation back home) Sometimes material can be found just laying, and only requires picking up Somewhat good chance that I might find some fairly extensive (i.e. a big fish) articulated vertebrate material Rent a vehicle with high clearance as access to certain fossil sites might sometimes be a tad difficult Spend quite a bit of time on google maps to find best sites and access points and whatnot If finding 'float' that looks freshly broken (and not eroded...), look up - might lead to finding more of the fossil Is there anything else I should add to my list? Thanks in advance! -Christian
Hey everyone Though it'll probably take place next summer, I'm already running through some preparations for my field trip to the Niobrara Chalk Fm. of western Kansas. Based on what I've heard from other collectors (and my own experiences in other sites), I drew up a list of stages I should go through for excavating and preparing any vertebrate material (especially fish) I might encounter.. 1) Surrounding matrix/overburden is brought down to expose the bone layer 2) Shellac/Vinac/other consolidant is applied to the exposed surface 3) Fossil is covered in plaster 4) Plaster slab is removed and brought back home 5) Removing the underlying matrix of the fossil ->Surface that has never been seen before -Proceed with care ->Using picks/dental tools 6) Consolidating the fossil by brushing it with polyvinyl acetate (PVA or Vinac) dissolved in Acetone (50:1 ratio – acetone being the 50 parts) ->Vinac gives a nice appearance to the bones 7) Removing the excess rock on the sides and smoothening the chalk for aesthetical effect Does this look good? If so, what should be changed? @KansasFossilHunter @Ramo @grokfish @MikeE @Xiphactinus @Castle Rock Thanks for the help -Christian P.S. Would any of the steps need to be changed in case I encounter reptile material?