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Found 32 results

  1. I've had some luck cracking open my first trove of nodules and my students have found a few cool things too. I haven't ID'd everything yet and would appreciate any suggestions on that topic. I'll be posting more photos as I get through the material. Our collection was carried out at the end of September, 2017 as a part of the Ecology and Evolution class I teach in the Environmental Studies department of Lake Forest College. Here's a jelly from a small nodule that gave up both the positive and negative casts. Here's an awesome polycheate one of my students found. I'm not 100% sure that this is a real fossil. It popped out of the siderite matrix like this but I've seen other nodules with this lighter-colored mineral inside but not taking any organic shape. If I was to guess, this is a Pteriomorphan bivalve of some type but it doesn't look like anything else I've seen online. I sincerely doubt that I am lucky enough to have found an etacystis fossil on my first trip but this thing looks a lot like what I've seen described as such elsewhere. Plenty more to follow, I am totally hooked on this hobby. Dr. John
  2. As I was going through pictures today to post a picture of a friends Bandringa rayi, I started to look through some pictures that I had taken of the Mazon Creek area in the late 80's and early 90's and figured that some members might like to see the area(s). When the Mazon Creek Project was active and run by Northeastern Illinois University you could contact them for and an orange Permanent Collecting pass. Before you could receive the pass, you had to sign a release and get it notarized. The Mazon Creek Project would then send the larger orange card that was signed by the collector to the Commonwealth Edison Nuclear Power Plant in Braidwood, Il. Every year, you would also receive a postcard, similar to the one below, that would tell the collector when the season opened / closed and notify them of any changes. When Commonwealth Edison ran the grounds, you would drive to the "Fossil Gate", which was manned by a Commonwealth Edison guard Saturday and Sunday 8am-4pm. Sometimes during the week you could try to enter through the main gate for the plant and every once in a while someone would let you into the property. When you arrived at the "Fossil Gate" on the weekend, you would pull your car up and show them you small orange pass. The guard would then take that pass and compare it to the signature on the larger card that was in his possession and if everything was good, you received a numbered pass and drive on into the property and to your collecting area. Now there were many times when the weather was terrible, and the only people collecting were me and my son, who was about 5 years old at that time. The guard would stay there for the whole 8 hours until it was 4pm and we were leaving. I believe around 1990 or 1991, the area was turned into the Mazonia- Braidwood Conservation area and the "Fossil Gate" was closed and we had to walk in from W5000N. At that time we received different personal cards. Here are some pics of Pit 11, the area where great fauna was found. During this time, there were still plenty of areas to collect that were not covered by vegetation. Here are some pics of the road W5000N and the "Tipple Area". During one season some construction equipment showed up and was doing some work, it helped uncover concretions. Also once in a great while, you could be walking down W5000N and notice a large pile of opened and closed concretions that were dumped by someone. I always figured that it was possibly done by the spouse of child of an older collector that had passed away. They knew that there were collectors out there that would cherish those concretions. Sometimes some great looking shrimp or a fish was found in the opened concretions. Below is an example of one such pile.
  3. Mazon Creek ID help

    So my wife and I loaded up the canoe and headed down to Mazonia South Unit Pit 11 for a day of some paddling and of course some fossil (nodule) hunting. We did really well on the nodule collecting. I happened to find this and was my most exciting find of the day. I found it face down in the mud and full of mineral staining and only found this half of it. After a little prep/cleaning tonight a lot of the details came out. I have no idea what I have here. Any help or ideas with this one? The first picture is more for scale. The remaining pictures were taken with my cell phone but had my wife shine her cell phone flashlight on the fossil. The details really jump out with the added light. Thanks for the help!
  4. Last Thursday decided to get out to Pit 11, Mazonia South Unit, Illinois for a day of collecting nodules and fossils. We've had a lot of rain and Thursday was clear. With all the rain, nodules are easier to see when wet as they jump out as a bright red compared to the green forest floor. And the rain hopefully erodes some fresh nods out of the ground. I sometimes go on foot for collecting but thought I would break out the kayak to get to where I need to go more efficiently. The woods are getting quite overgrown already but I haven't been out much this season yet so I had to make do. Its pretty physical climbing through the woods, up and down hills, looking for the bright red rocks. I usually start at the bottom of hills and scour for an area with concentrated concretions and work my way up the hills scanning for fossils and nice shaped nodules to bring back for the freeze/thaw. Here's an area where you can see some of the iron concretions/pieces. This is a good place to start really scanning. Not more than 30 minutes into the hunt I spotted this! I usually don't find much of anything with detail or size when it comes to already opened nodules at Pit 11 but this one was a prize for me! I was out there for about a good 4 hours hiking, climbing, slipping, falling, army crawling, etc. on the search for nodules. I collected some fern pieces, a couple big jellyfish, and the nice neuropteris. I also collected about 1/2 of a 5 gallon bucket of nodules that are currently soaking for their first freeze/thaw cycle in a few days. A great day in the woods lookin for fossils! Here's the finds for the day cleaned up.
  5. I was able to get out one day this March and collect some Mazon Creek nodules from Pit 11. I found all these as they were and all of them were weird enough to keep. Any help with ID's on any of them? Even if some aren't fossils I thought they were at least unique compared to the many solid dud nodules you find with the freeze/thaw process. Thanks! 1. 2. 3.
  6. Today was the opening of the 2017 Mazon Creek Fossil Season at the Mazonia-Braidwood Wildlife Area which encompasses the famed Pit 11 (Essex Biota) . After major storms last night, I figured that I would drive the 50 miles from my house and collect at a location that is difficult to climb up to and ever harder to bushwhack through. I only go to this area at the beginning of the fossil season because of three reasons: First, there are no leaves on the trees / bushes, which makes it easier to see where you are going. Second, there are no ticks- at least I hope so and third, I have found Tully Monster (portions) here in the past. There are various locations around this area to collect, but I have always liked to collect near W 5000N Road which runs between the "Tipple Area" and "Monster Lake". Here is where I was collecting at today- it is a very steep hilly area. The V cut lake is "Monster Lake". Here is a view from the road of where I was heading to. Here is the view of my car from the top, this is where I started going up and down hills and gullies in search of concretions.
  7. Mazon Creek Shrimp? Mystery

    This nodule from Pit 11 split earlier this week. It has a vaguely shrimp-like outline, including 2 "limbs" towards the top of the concretion, but that might just be wishful thinking. Any other suggestions as to what this might be, if anything? Thanks!
  8. I had this weekend completely free, and with Fossil Hunting season having just started March 1 at the Mazonia-Braidwood State Fish and Wildlife Area, I decided to head up early this morning and look for some Pit 11 nodules. I had tried last year in April, but on that trip I got lost on the way and took a 1 1/2 hour detour (I ended up in Kankakee!), then wasn't sure where to look in the park once I got there. It was a beautiful day, so I still enjoyed being outdoors, but out of the 15 or so nodules I found, the only recognizable fossil was a poorly preserved Essexella. After a year of research (including reading this forum) I had higher expectations for this trip! I hit the road at 7:30 for the hour and a half trip. The sky was overcast, and I was a little worried about the amount of snow I was seeing as I drove up, but thankfully it was largely melted in the park. The forecast predicted a high in the mid-40s, very comfortable hiking weather. I had picked a few spots based on Google Maps that I wanted concentrate on, so I parked my car and headed into the brush. And brushy it was! Over the course of the day I forced my way through fields of 8-foot tall reeds, crawled under low hanging tree branches and repeatedly struggled with scraggly shrubs trying to steal my hat. I also had to deal with the snow remaining on some hills, leading to very slippery terrain, and standing water that hovered not much above freezing. Later in the day both of my feet sank ankles deep into some slushy water, so I had wet socks until I got back to the car at the end of the day (thank goodness I had packed a dry pair for the drive home). It was extremely peaceful in the park- the morning quiet was only broken by a flight of 3 Chinooks flying by about a mile away. Later in the day I also saw some fisherman in another portion of the park, and shortly before I left, I ran into a few other fossil hunters on their first visit. But what about the fossils? I had a much better haul this time. The spots I had picked paid off, and I ended up with my 5-gallon bucket a little more than half full, including the pretty little fern frond pictured here which had already split in the field. I was hoping for a full bucket, but honestly I don't think I would have been able to haul that back to my car. As it is, my legs, back and arms are going to be sore tomorrow, but it was well worth it. Of course, this is just the beginning- now I have to clean the nodules, soak them, and start the freeze and thaw process.
  9. Fish fin or Plant (Mazon Creek Pit 11)

    Hi FF, I purchased this off of eBay last year - and after reviewing and looking at reference ID books. I am beginning to suspect I may have been duped. I purchased this advertised as a fish fin. Although I believe it looks like either equisetites or lepidophylloides. Thoughts greatly appreciated.
  10. I've tentatively identified a number of Mazon pieces in my possession, and I was wondering if I could get some confirmations or corrections from those of you (all of you) who are more knowledgeable and experienced than I. The first (#1) based on length, fossilization curvature, and the pyritized mouth and throat slit, I believe to be Gilpichthys greenei.
  11. Mazon Creek Id Needed Please

    I thought this to be a very defined trail with signs of locomotion. But it looks more like "body segments". Then I thought Shrimp, but it looks too "wormy" to be a shrimp. It also is preserved in an arch, which says all of thee above......ugh. This is from pit 11. All opinions are welcomed. And as always, it's much appreciated, TFF. It's hard to see, but there is a US dime placed in the first picture.
  12. It was only a matter of time, i guess. I finally found my first Mazon Creek "insect"! I found this nodule at pit 11 south unit in the essex fauna. Finding this there is a bit strange, i would have more expected it from the Braidwood fauna. I wish there was more of it. But beggars can't be choosers, right? Haha Euphoberia sp. (Spiny Millipede) It's not the best looking chap in the bunch, but it's a welcomed addition to my collection.
  13. Mazon Creek - Fish Scales

    Hi FFs- I am sure one of these is a fish scale - the other I believe is.... Any thoughts appreciated? This one I am confident on: This one I'd appreciated confirmation: Thanks, Evan
  14. Mazon Creek - Shrimp Molt

    I believe this is a shrimp molt - any possibility of a specific species?
  15. Mazon Creek - Shrimp?

    I believe this to be Essoidia epiceron - but I am not sure. Any thoughts?
  16. Mazon Creek - Polychaetes

    Here are the pictures: I am sure on the ID on this one but it was nice to see open after the gift that is winter. Mazopherusa prinosi Fan Worm (this isn't from pit 11 either - it is from the braceville location) Here is another I am fairly confident on: I believe this to be a Plain Worm Astreptoscolex Anasillosus..from Pit 11...Do folks agree? Finally, this one I am confused on...any thoughts? image will be in first reply.
  17. My Mazon Creek Cabinet

    I'm wrapping up the finishing touches on my Mazon Creek cabinet. I made custom lexan shelves. Wrapped the backer with basket weave vinyl. And mounted rope lighting around it. One problem is the plastic doors. They're shot and i need to replace them with good ol' fashioned glass. I also made all of the custom mounts for my collection. I tried to utilize as much space as possible, so i made the mounts all different sizes. All of the mounts are cut lexan. I still have to make a few more, but 99% are done. And if i ever have the luxury of finding better examples of the specimens i have now, i can just keep cycling them into my main large display case. These are just my best finds to date. Flora side. Mainly pit 2. Fauna side. Mainly pit 11. Let me know if you have any questions on who, what, where and how. Thanks for lookin'
  18. P1030374edit

    From the album Collection

    Belotelson magister (Shrimp Molt)
  19. My Monster, Monster

    A fellow member and i went out to Mazon today. We decided instead of by land we would travel by sea today. I brought a canoe and it worked fantastic! We both found some good stuff (worms, ferns, possible insect, shrimp, sea cucumbers, etc). But i think this tops them all. I was thinking of just posting this in my "Mazon Creek Finds" thread, but i think it deserves it's own. Thanks for looking! My 8 3/8" 95% complete Tully Monster! Eye bar Unfortunately when the nod split it didn't split the cleanest, and it left a bunch of random spots on the piece. Does anyone know, could i get this prepped? And please let me know if you think this is "invert of the month" material, there's only a day left! Edit: for what it's worth i also found my biggest Jellyfish to date not 10' from the Tully. The Jelly is about 5"x3"
  20. Mazon Creek Finds

    This is my first year hunting Mazon Creek and I've found some cool stuff so far. I'm starting this thread not only for myself but for others to show off their personal Mazon Creek finds that you're proud of. I will be continuously adding to this thread to show pictures and i may need help with IDs. We all love pictures, so don't be shy. Show us what you got! And someone please correct any mistaken IDs (that's how we learn) Edit: IDs added Pecopteris mazoniana-Pit 2 Alethopteris serli-Pit 2 Lobetelson partial Shrimp-Pit 11 Achistrum (Sea Cucumber)-Pit 11 Rhaphidiophorus hystrix (polychaete worm)-Pit 11 Achistrum (Sea Cucumber)-Pit 11 Achistrum (Sea Cucumber)-Pit 11 Achistrum (Sea Cucumber)-Pit 11 Essexella asherae-Pit 11 Essexella asherae-Pit 11 Essexella asherae-Pit 11
  21. What's In My Jelly?

    So i found this guy already popped at pit 11 South Unit. To my surprise and untrained Mazon eye i saw what looks to be something associated with my Essex jellyfish. Any ideas? Any and all help is appreciated. Thanks!
  22. This guy popped last week. It's a nodule from pit 11. Im not sure what to make of it. Its a poorly preserved whatsit, that's all i can say. It could be coprolite, with maybe a seed inclusion (see left side half with round "thing" towards the middle right)??? Or it looked kinda shrimpy, but just the tail of a shrimp (but this could be wishful thinking). I don't know..... Any help or suggestions is very much appreciated. Thanks for looking.
  23. Mazon Creek - Shrimp

    Poorly preserved shrimp? Do folks agree? There is a noticeable gut line.....my guess is lebotelson given the longish rostrum....any other thoughts? Evan
  24. Fish Or Amphibian Eggs

    Hi Folks- I had this concretion open to reveal a number of black dots. I don't see the traditional halo around the the dots that would make me feel more confident about an egg sack identification. What do folks think?
  25. Mazon Creek - Shrimp Molt

    Hi Folks- Do folks agree that this is JUST a shrimp molt? I have a number of molts - this happens to be the best I have. It is also very difficult to ID from a molt based on my research? Evan