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Found 296 results

  1. Ordovician fossils in PA

    Hi everyone, I recently remembered the location of swatara Gap in Pennsylvania, I remember reading about it but the problem is that the site was covered up way before I was even in the United States, there is the swatara state park nearby but that has younger Devonian rocks of the mahantango. My question is are there any similar sites with Ordovician rocks anywhere in PA? I am especially interested in the Cryptolithus trilobites and if those can be found anywhere else around here as that would be a wonderful fossil to add to the collection and have the experience of uncovering. Thank you, Misha.
  2. My Best Carboniferous Finds

    Hi all, I’ve posted a few topics on the forum but have yet to show my entire collection, or my best finds. So here goes. A little background on me. I’ve been fossil hunting since I was very young, probably since I was 4 when I found a plant fossil in my backyard. Over the past few years as I have ventured into adulthood I have gotten very interested in the fossils of the Pittsburgh area. I will display my best finds here and periodically update the thread with new finds. As a note, many of the vertebrate fossils I have found are rare and may be important to science. I have been in contact with @jdp about this and will most likely be donating the most important ones to the Carnegie Museum of Natural History. If any of my IDs seem strange or wrong please let me know, I am always learning and value new info. I guess I’ll start with the marine invertebrates. To start out we can start small, with brachiopods, cephalopods and horn corals. The first is a Linoproductus from the Ames Limestone, a classic Pittsburgh marine zone.
  3. Pennsylvania Roadside Fossil

    About two weeks ago, we went to Beltzville State Park in Pennsylvania and found some great Devonian fossils, some of which have been identified with your help. On our way, though, we stopped at a Shell station for air in our tires. There was a small hill of dark grey colored rock (shale?) next to the air pump. My son and I had a quick look. We found what looks like a mussel (pictured here) and something else. I was wondering if it might be a trilobite. Any help is appreciated. I included the location and pic of the hill to help with identification. So, pictures appear like this: location, suspected mussel?, rock for example and then the fossil in question. The picture with the ruler shows the object (circled in succeeding photos). Sorry if this is confusing. Thanks. Lehighton, PA 18235
  4. Something strange and possibly...

    New here and think i have something... exausted. will check back in am. Thanks all. This might be some magic!
  5. Something strange and possibly...

    Hi there... very new here (minutes) and I think I have something... well, just look and let's go from there. Thanks in advance. Shaking as I type... North of Pittsburgh, Hilltop Outcrop, Ames below...
  6. Tree Fossil?

    Found this piece of sandstone in Sullivan Co., PA. It comes from either the Huntley Mtn. Fm. (Mississippian/Devonian) or the Burgoon Ss. (Mississippian). What could have made these concentric rings? They go through the rock perpendicular to bedding. It's odd that the center is mostly round but further out is more square. Could it be a tree fossil? That is the only thing I can think of.
  7. Conditions in Western PA have been unusually warm recently, with highs in the 40s and 50s. I decided to take advantage of this warm spell by getting a little bit of fossil hunting in. I decided to do a hunt focused on plants as I’ve been hunting for vertebrates for the better part of the last year and a half and, although I could never get tired of vertebrates I thought some variety was well overdue. So I headed to one of my favorite plant localities in the area. It is located in the Connellsville Sandstone of the Casselman Formation, which is in turn the upper half of the Conemaugh Group. The sandstone is around 305 million years old. The Casselman Formation holds the record of the tail end of one of the largest plant extinctions in our earths history. The prolonged wetness that had existed for much of the Pennsylvanian gave way to dryer conditions, and, as a result, the lycopsid forests fragmented. Many of these lycopsids went extinct during this event, which is known as the Carboniferous Rainforest Collapse. Conifers took advantage of these newly opened ecological niches. Their fossils have been found in this area, although I have never personally found them. Anyway, on to the fossils. Today I mostly found partial Pecopteris fronds, Neuropteris pinnules and Annularia leaflets. I’m going to include some of my better finds from other trips as well, as this trip was rather unproductive. Pictured below is the best Annularia I found today. Or Asterophyllites. I’m not sure. We’ll just go with Calamites leaves for now.
  8. What might this be?

    I have been able to identify (with your help) a few of the fossils we found while hunting at Beltzville state park. This is something that may be something. I tried to get the six-sided pics as recommended. What might this be (if anything)? Beltzville State Park in Pennsylvania, USA. I believe these come the Upper Devonian Mahantango Formation. Thank you.
  9. From other examples I have seen, I think these are bryozoans (sp?). Is that correct? The first example in question is the one exhibiting pencil-like structure in the center of the rock. In the second picture (of the same specimen), there seems to be a porous structure shown. The shadows may look like the mold is raised from the rock, but it is not. The fossil is an imprint (concave into the matrix). I think these are from the Upper Devonian Mahantango Formation. Thanks
  10. This was my first time at Beltzville State Park in Pennsylvania, USA. I believe these come the Upper Devonian Mahantango Formation. I saw similar examples in other posts as was hoping to confirm my guesses. Thanks 1. Horn coral? 2. Crinoid stem?- not sure if that’s something to the left of the stem. 3. Rugose coral?
  11. Pennsylvania Fossil Sites?

    My son (9 years old) and I are hoping to find a spot to look for fossils. We have only been hunting a few times before in California. We’re on vacation in Pennsylvania, in East Stroudsburg (1.5 hours - or so- East of New York City). We came to ski but I have been reading that this area could be good for fossils. Any tips on sites or features? I really don’t know anything about the area. Personally, I’d rather pull over in the side of the road or hike somewhere than go to a pay-to-dig site. Thanks for any advice you may have.
  12. As fall has finished dropping leaves and caused Poison Ivy and most insects to go dormant, I have been exploring some prospects in the Paleozoic of Central Pennsylvania. On one trip back to help my folks get a Christmas tree, I had time to spend and hour or so at an abandoned quarry that exposed Ordovician aged rock. Unlike the exposures of Ordovician rock in the Cincinnati/Louisville region of the US, or southern Ontario, or the Minnesota/Iowa area, Central PA is not know for heaps of fossiliferous limestone or shale. One has to do a little research to find what formations have fossils, and then try and find an exposure that you can prospect. I found one such quarry from an old guidebook out in Cumberland County, PA. It has exposures of the Chambersburg formation which is known to have fossils and is also known to have a bed of rock that contains an unusual Echinoderm called "Nidulites". My goal was to verify if fossils were present at the site and then try to locate the "Nidulites" bed. View of the quarry wall. The rock was tilted NE in one direction (away from the camera) and N in another direction (to the left of the photo). I started at the south end of the quarry (right side of pic above) and started to look through the fallen scree and exposed rock layers. Not finding anything I moved north along the walls of the pit until I started to find some hints of fossils in the rocks. Mostly cross sections in massive limestone, but at least there were fossils there. This is what it looked like along the walls and in the talus along their base. There were multiple pieces of limestone with Calcite crystals, both massive and crystalline, in some areas as the veins filled in cracks within the rock ages ago . I found one piece that had a couple of small Fluorite cubes on it, a rare find in the field! I finally started to find some fossils in the talus concentrated in one area but could not figure out the layer they came from. Preservation was ok but as they came from fractured massive rock, completeness was not the best. Here are my finds: Leptanea sp. Brachiopod Sowerbyella sp. Brachiopod Possibly part of an Isolteus sp. genal spine Unknowns So not too bad for a couple of hours of looking. I'll have to visit the quarry again in the future and see if I can find more in the talus and maybe trace the bed that the better fossils come from. No "Nidulites" either, but I am not discouraged. I confirmed that fossils can be found here, I just need to do some more looking.
  13. Crinoid ID from Keyser formation

    Hi all, Another couple of mysteries that I found at an old quarry near Mapleton, PA and are from the Keyser formation which is thought to straddle the boundary between the Silurian and Devonian periods. The layers they were found in were close to layers of the Tonoloway formation which is Upper Silurian in age. I found one item that I believe is a Mariacrinus pachydactylus based on the Paleontology of New York, Part 3, Vol 2, Plate 3. It's been preserved by a black colored Chert but I don't want to acid etch it any more that I have (about an hour in vinegar). The other oddball is this UFO shaped specimen. I've found similar examples before but I ruined any chance of seeing detail on the surface by soaking them in vinegar. This is the first example I've found since then. Close examination with a lens and microscope does not show any detail so it may need to be cleaned a bit more. The "Bottom" has a nick in it or maybe it was where a stalk attached? Any thoughts? Thanks for looking!
  14. About eight years ago I posted about some odd fossils that I found in the Keyser formation limestone and the consensus was that they were roots of Hexactinellid sponges (glass sponges). @piranha dug up some pretty good evidence that these are indeed from Hexactinellid sponges. I recently visited the quarry again over my Christmas break and found more examples. I'm wondering if there are some fresh takes on what these may be and if anyone has found something similar? For reference, these come from an old quarry near Mapleton, PA and are from the Keyser formation which is thought to straddle the boundary between the Silurian and Devonian periods. The layers they were found in were close to layers of the Tonoloway formation which is Upper Silurian in age. Specimen #1 - This is the most interesting example I've found as the threads all seem to come from a central area and radiate out. Also note that they are layered and some have hook like endings. Specimen #2 - This is a large plate with many clusters of these threads criss-crossing each other, but all in relatively same direction. Specimen #3 - This is the first example I have that is associated with any other fauna. The Brachiopod is a small Atrypa reticularis Thanks for looking and any suggestions are welcomed.
  15. On Monday the 23rd of December I went on a trip up to Columbia County in Pennsylvania before heading back to my parents for Christmas. The area is known as the home of Bloomsburg University (not related to the business nor businessman) and there are numerous road cuts and quarries that can be explored. My task today was to explore six locations that all exposed the Stoney Creek Beds of the Trimmers Rock formation (upper Devonian). One site I had been to in my teen years but I'd not visited it since while the rest were all prospects to see what they had. My first stop is a hillside cut on private property. There are not many houses around so I knocked on the closest one and spoke to the homeowners. They said the land belonged to a nearby farmer but said they doubted the owner would mind if I was just poking around for fossils. With that I proceeded to the quarry and started to look around. The rock was tilted at a high angle to the southeast and exposed for about 50-60' along the hillside. I could see the trend of the beds to be east northeast as well. All of this confirmed that the exposure was part of an anticline/syncline structure that trended WSW to ENE. This conforms to the regional geology of the Appalachians for this part of Pennsylvania. Back to the quarry which I believe the Farmer was likely using as a gravel pit since it seemed like a front end loader or bulldozer could easily knock the rock off the wall and then be carried elsewhere to shore up muddy farm roads. I found quite a bit of material here with the fossils generally concentrated into thin bands within a muddy to slightly sandy rock. Generally one does not find terribly great preservation and all the fossils are molds as the original shell material has been leached away over the years. The best finds are when you get a shell layer to split open and you can see the coquina that was formed. Three species of Brachiopod dominate the fauna in the Stoney Creek Beds: Spinulocosta, Mucrospirifer, and Leiorhynchus. There are other fauna present but they are more the exception than the rule. I did find one rock that has thin Bryozoan branches and some rocks with Pelecypods, Crinoiod stems and possible Cephalopds. The thin bands of fossilized material and limited fauna are what led Paleontologists from the PA Geological Survey to infer the collections of shell material to be a in situ population that had material occasionally concentrated by a slight current. Thus you often see fully articulated valves of the Brachiopods and delicate features like the spines of Spinulocosta and wings of Mucrospirifer still present. (Pennsylvania Geology magazine, vol. 12, issue 5, pg. 8-13, Jon Inners, 1981) What I brought home A couple of examples of the hash layers when you split them open A Leiorhynchonellid (Leiorhynchus globuliforme? <-- I'm unsure if the species name is correct) internal shell mold. I spent a few hours looking around this quarry and then headed to the next potential spot. That wound up being very overgrown and with no rock showing so I skipped to the third spot. This one is a large roadcut with the beds tilted to the southeast. I did not find as much here as there did not appear to be as many fossiliferous beds exposed. In the talus at the base of the cut I did find a few pieces including a shell bed that included what I believe to be a Spinatrypa. Partial examples of Spinatrypa with spines intact. A nearby covered bridge I left this site after about an hour due to a lack of finds and headed to the next spot which was the type locality for the Stoney Creek Beds. Cont....
  16. Petalodous Teeth

    To date, I've found 4 teeth, all in the same general area. One is shallow, the others are a big longer. The 3rd is a bit broken, I don't think I have a photo online right now of it. All are attached firmly to the limestone and I don't have any hope of ever getting them out clean. 1st Tooth: 2nd Tooth: 3rd Tooth No photos of this one. Sorry I promised 4 teeth, sadly only photos of three. 4th Tooth:
  17. Centralia's Bright White Ferns

    Deep in the heart of Pennsylvania's coal country runs the Carboniferous Lewellyn Formation. Once a vast tract of swampland, the area was home to 100 ft. tall Calamites (an extinct relative of modern herbaceous horsetails), giant tree ferns and other enormous plants, plus proportionally large insects. The conditions during the intervening millennia were just right for the plants to break down into iron-based minerals, including pyrophyllite and kaolinite, leaving a coating of white powder over the impressions in the rock. In rare spots, the iron minerals come in yellow, orange or red, too. All this makes the fossils stand out in sharp contrast to the dark, gray shale matrix. This is not a place for the timid. The shale is on a steep, slick slope covered in loose scree. The trees that look like good hand-holds are dead and rotten. Below the surface, fires burn in the coal veins, creating a sinkhole hazard all over the ghost town and on to the neighboring towns. However, the place I was hunting is definitely a beaten path these days, so there is probably a low risk of invisible disaster. I always say that no rock is worth your life, but that doesn't stop me from living a little dangerously. I went there for the first time last month. It was a short stop close to dusk. The fog was thick and the rocks were wet. The white powder was hard to make out in the gloom. Today, the light was good, the rocks were dry and the hunting was good!
  18. Carboniferous Limestone

    This piece of limestone looked like sea shells (clams or brachiopods) at first glance. However it’s one bumpy continuous surface. Any idea? The rock would be around 305 million years old. The rock broke easily along this surface which made it easy to see. Shells typically show white preserved Agagonite on them as well. No such preservation on this surface. Rock from Western Pennsylvania, United States. The surface is wet. Ruler is in inches.
  19. From an abandoned blue stone quarry in northeast Pennsylvania . This location has produced archaeopteris leaves. This part of the exposure is Shaly sandstone . The thing that caught my eye has a brownish color instead of the gray of the surrounding rock . Surrounding rock all breaks with angular fractures while this looks rounded. It’s a little weird to my eye because it gets wider going up I expect stumps to be widest at the base . Running across the outcrop the layer. With the possible stump is a two or 3 inches thick and is full of woody Fossils, which makes me wonder if this is part of a lateral root system . I can go back and look at the site again tomorrow. Can anyone educate me about specific things to look for ?
  20. Should I Consolidate?

    I recently purchased this Alethopteris sp. at a local fossil show. It is typical of shale found in St. Clair Pennsylvania being beautiful, but also very fragile. It’s my first plant fossil that isn’t petrified wood so I’m very excited about it! My question to all you experienced preppers out there is... Should I consolidate it? It has the characteristic layering associated with shale, which tend to split and come apart easily. I don’t plan on the piece being handled much, if at all, but don’t want it falling to pieces in a few years as it sits in my display case. If best practice is to consolidate, what consolidant would you recommend?
  21. ID on fossil tracks

    I'm rather embarrassed but i need some ID help on something I purchased a few years ago. My chagrin is because I usually am very good at labeling purchases or at least taking a pic of a label if the seller does not provide one. I have this piece of shale that has some fossil claw or fin marks on it that I recall are swimming traces. The shale comes from the Triassic or Jurassic of the Newark Supergroup in Pennsylvania. Any help is appreciated!
  22. still learning

    Sorry I haven't been on the forum in a while since I've been working like crazy. After a 71 hour week last week I took a day off. My new job is a driving job around my local area so I make notes of places to revisit to rockhound ( I also do some while on layover time but its hard not to get dirty!). I went back to one today, It is a Bralier Shale (Devonian) exposure. Here's where I need some help. Are the tube things #3 corals or bryozoans? Any id's on the other things would be appreciated. Scale on all is centimeter.
  23. Daring to Hunt Centralia Ferns

    I read @rachelgardner01 's trip report* recently on the fossil forum telling about St. Clair-style white fern fossils and how the ghost town was once again being visited by more than just the most reckless of thrill seekers. Not long ago, extremely few people dared to go beyond the new bypass for fear of falling into flaming sink holes. The place has become unregulated like the Wild West, with tourists coming from all over to see the “Highway to Hell” and ride their ATVs. The fire was reported to have burned out in town and moved down the coal vein. Clearly, no one is worried about sink holes. After a couple hours enjoying every ride with no lines at Knoebels Amusement Park on a very foggy, soggy day, we drove to Centralia for a little fun. What could be cooler than a ghost town on a foggy October day? And, by the way, after enjoying the romantic setting, maybe we could find the quarry. Rachel's trip report included a handy aerial map with the slope marked in red. It was a short walk from on of three cemeteries that are still maintained in town. All we had to do was follow the ATV tracks. We met a microbiologist while we walked. She was looking at the bacteria, comparing soil samples from places where the fire was out with samples from some hot spots above a fire that still exists deep below town (with surface soil temps around 80F). The bacteria present in the hot spots are out of balance. There is an overabundance of the wrong sort. However, in the spots that have cooled down, the balance has returned surprisingly quickly. And, by the way, she had a permit to be there. The town is still considered too unsafe for the general public, but it isn’t patrolled. Two lessons should be learned from this: 1. Nature always finds a way. 2. If the rocks I’m examining seem kind of warm, find someplace else to prospect! We found the quarry about an hour before sunset. We found ourselves at the top of steeply sloping walls covered in scree over smooth, slick, carbon shale. I watched my step, kept my center of gravity close to the ground, and tread carefully. I like sliding down scree-covered slopes, but not when I do it unintentionally. The fossils were plentiful! I saw calamites and lepidodendron all over the place. Some were bright white while others were gleaming gray on matte gray shale. Some had a single fern frond and others were a riot of plant textures. A few were coated pale yellow. The hard part was picking out the nicest ones to take home. I have been to this formation before. I made several trips to Carbondale, to the NE, over the last couple years. I missed my chance to go prospecting at St Clair ( a few miles to the SE ) as they closed the site to all but school groups a few years ago, but I do have some pieces that others collected before they closed. St Clair and Centralia both have the white ferns. Carbondale has the most detailed preservation. The ones there that are colored are yellow to deep red with a few that have iridescent spots. Centralia’s stone is the most crumbly and delicate, especially when damp. Although Centralia, St. Clair and Carbondale are all part of the Lewellen Formation and reasonably close to one another, there is a distinct difference in the stone at each locale. St Clair and Carbondale have firmer shales. I wanted to find things that I did not already have represented from Carbondale. That proved tricky in the short time I had, but I did find some nice white ferns to take home. Plus, I have a plan for another trip at some point with more time – maybe with some simple rappelling gear? Coincidentally, this month’s speaker for the Delaware Mineralogical Society was a geologist who participated in a study of the mineralization of St Clair plants. Here, then, are some of the highlights after I thought to take notes. Time period: Pennsylvanian Sub-period, 320-290 million years old The environment was a swampy area where the sediments settled slowly. The plants were minimally compressed during preservation, so the impressions are more or less the same size as the original biomatter. The silvery-gray material coating some of the plant impressions is graphite while the white is a combination of pyrophyllite and kaolinite after pyrite. When the swamp was buried, the thicker parts of the plants pyritized. Heat and pressure then transformed the pyrite into the white minerals, which settled to the bottom. The upper surfaces retained the carbon and became coated in glossy graphite. So, what one sees loose on the ground are a mix of upper and lower surfaces. *
  24. Possible Insect wing from Carboniferous

    Hi all. I was wondering if I could get some sort of specific ID on a possible insect wing that I found in the roof shales of a thin coal that is dated to the Late Pennsylvanian or Kasimovian. Fossil plants and some vertebrate material can be found in the same shale. Stratigraphic information: From a roof shale of a thin coal roughly 30 feet below the Brush Creek Limestone of the Glenshaw Formation in the Conemaugh Group. Discovered in the suburbs outside of Pittsburgh.
  25. I found this chunk of tan siltstone recently at a roadcut along Rte 443/Rte 72 near Green Point, west of Swatara Gap, Pennsylvania. It's mapped as Devonian, Upper Mahantango formation. There are a lot of detrital bits in the rock -- bryozoans, etc. But the stuff I can't identify are the bumpy, wrinkled imprints. In some places the bumps seem to coat the inside of a tube. The bumps are 1/16th inch or less in size. At first I thought bryzoans, but there's no detail on the bumps, like living chambers. I think it's the external mold of some stalked animal -- corals, sponge, starfish arms? Any help is appreciated! Bob
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