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Found 61 results

  1. Pit 11 Summer Fossils

    Over the Summer I conducted research in Illinois so naturally I spent as much time as I could collecting fossils. I had a particular interest in collecting Mazon Creek concretions. I had the fortune of making one trip to the area once over a decade ago but that was short and I didn't collect any Essex stuff. Because of that I focused in on Pit 11 this time. Summer may not be the best time for collecting there but my time in Illinois was limited and going in summer beats not going at all. Over the summer I persistently traveled to Pit 11 from Urbana 5 or 6 times. Most of the concretions are now open and I figured I'd share some of the better specimens I collected. First some worms, a nice Didontogaster cordylina and the better of two Dryptoscolex matthiesae.
  2. Hi all, I've been working on the pit 11 concretions I collected this summer and some difficult identifications have piled up. These might not be preserved enough to be identifiable but they seem preserved decently enough that some people might have a better idea for identification. Any help is appreciated. Measurements are the lengths of the fossil and not the concretion. The first fossil measures 30 mm across. This seems like it's probably just a weird shrimp molt? Fossil #2 measures 15 mm across. I don't hold out much hope for this one as it's rather broken up and lacks detail but it superficially resembles a Dithyrocaris sp. carapace. Fossil #3 is quite possibly not a fossil at all but the texture and color difference in the concretion is distinct enough to consider the possibility. It is 20 mm tall and 15 mm wide at widest point.
  3. Pit 11 Poychaete Identification Help

    Hi all, this is one of the polychaete worms from the batch of Pit 11 concretions I'm working on. From what I can see of the conical jaws it most closely resembles Didontogaster corydylina but the jaws blend a bit together and aren't as distinct as some other specimens I've found. The body profile seems a little off (no swollen front section for one) so I wanted to ask for second opinions. Am I getting too hung up on the profile of a body that could just be more outstretched? I appreciate everyone's thoughts.
  4. Hello all, I have been a long time lurker of the forum (simply reading has been helpful enough these years) but have finally decided to request identification help on some fossils. I spent the summer conducting research in Illinois and spent my spare time collecting fossils. I was fortunate enough to collect Mazon Creek fossils about 14 years ago on a trip so I was thrilled to finally return to the area and collect at the Mazonia Braidwood Fish and Wildlife Unit. I have Key to Identify Pennsylvanian Fossil Animals of The Mazon Creek Area as well as Jack Wittry's The Mazon Creek Fossil Flora and these have been very helpful in identifying specimens but this one has thrown me a bit. As for the fossil, it resembles an arthropod appendage (like a Eurypterid walking leg) but I might be blinded by my wishing it to be that. I appreciate any help and insight from people more experienced with Mazon Creek. I will likely post more unidentified material from Illinois and Missouri soon. Thanks for your time. -Tom
  5. Mazon Creek Unknown

    Probably not anything that is able to be ID’d but the “eye” spots make me wonder if it is something worthwhile.
  6. Mazon Creek Pit 11

    Next weekend we will be in Marblehead, Ohio visiting my sisters. I had hoped to stop at St Paul, Indiana on the way to look for some fossils. Unfortunately the quarry does not allow visitors at this point due to Covid. My thought then was to consider Mazon. About a month ago, a post was made similar to this one. It was suggested not to visit due to the ticks and other creepy crawlers. Are the critters still a problem??? Does covid close this park too?? I am all ears to suggestions. Thanks!! If this is not a good choice, there is always the go to Paulding, Ohio!!!! Mike
  7. Newbie ID Help 2 - Fish tail?

    Hi, my kids and I are completely new to this, would love some help. Also if there is a paleontology version of "Let Me Google That For You", or Fossil ID for Dummies, etc., we'll gladly take those too! We found this one in Pit 11 of Mazon Creek a few weeks ago, on an eroded slope under heavy shrub cover. It was cast in a concretion/nodule that we exposed through freezing and thawing. The nodule was already broken, so we do not have the whole fossil. To my untrained eye it looks like a fish tail (my 8 year old is convinced it is the claw of a Tully monster, of course). Can anyone make it out?
  8. Newbie ID Help 1 - Snails and a twig?

    Hi, my kids and I are completely new to this, would love some help. Also if there is a paleontology version of "Let Me Google That For You", or Fossil ID for Dummies, etc., we'll gladly take those too! We found this one in Pit 11 of Mazon Creek a few weeks ago, on an eroded slope under heavy shrub cover. It was found as-is (exposed), this was not inside a nodule. The rock is harder than the sandstone of the nodules. To my untrained eye it looks like debris in pond muck: snail shells, and a twig. I found a very similar fossil last summer on a rocky beach of Lake Michigan, though much more worn down and polished.
  9. Anyone out there have any Tully Monsters they would be willing to trade. Partials ok. PM if you want.
  10. Another Mazon Creek ID thread

    I wanted to join the squad of great Mazon ID threads we have had in the last week. These two were found split on my opening day trip to Mazonia-Braidwood/Pit 11. I only found half of the first one. It doesn't look like much, and it may be nothing, but its worth asking! The second one was split, but both halves were present. It is much more clearly something, but I'm not sure what, as there are not any clear features, although it is preserved with good definition and a nice contrasting color.
  11. Mazon Creek Finds, ID help please !!

    This first piece is a Mazon Creek fossil from Pit 11. Any help appreciated !! The second one is from the Creek itself, could this be a "fiddlehead" @fiddlehead . Thanks for looking !! Thanks, Phil
  12. Hi guys! Newbie here and finally joined so i could post this after our recent opening day trip to Mazon Creek, Mazonia-Braidwood and Pit 11. My daughter and I found this one and I can't tell if its nothing or something. Maybe an essexella asherae jellyfish? or maybe i'm dreaming. It was already split, we haven't done our freeze/thaw yet on the whole nodules yet. Seems we did manage to get at least two of the pieces that go together - could possibly have the last piece in the bucket still as we are still going through our haul, but after a preliminary look, I suspect this is all we have. I tried to get a few pics the best i could, but they now don't look as good as i thought. And I just read that using coins for scale is not a good idea - sorry. Hoping my Mazon experts out there will be more familiar with US currency, anyway. So - these are the same nodule from a few angles and one pic with the two pieces together. Any ideas? Or maybe it's nothing. I know i have a small one with annularia. This is one of the largest we found, so maybe it's just wishful thinking. After hours of looking at these things, i think i could see fossils in anything now. THANK YOU! (ok, now it's not letting me add my pics - too big.) I'll be back with the rest of them as soon as i figure out how to get the size down. Sorry!)
  13. Who is going to be heading out to Mazonia-Braidwood State Fish and Wildlife area for the start of the Pit 11 fossil hunting season on Sunday? They are forecasting a high of 58 degrees right now, practically t-shirt weather! (but watch out for those ticks) I am planning to be there Sunday and Monday, my first time trying two consecutive days. I hope to run into some other fine forum members out there.
  14. Jellyfish sharing

    I only have a two of these but they are nice (to me anyway). They're Essexella asherae jellyfish from Pit #11, Francis Creek Shale, Braidwood, Illinois. Middle Pennsylvanian period. The first measures 3' x 2" and the second measures 2.75" 2.5".
  15. First Mazon Creek Fossil Hunt

    This weekend I made my first trip out to Mazon Creek! Sorry this is such a scroller, I'm going to try and have this post be informational since there is definitely some stuff I wished I'd known about in advance and some stuff I did that really aided my success. There are pictures at the bottom. The most important thing I did before my trip was print off a topographic map of the area that I pulled from ArcGIS online. It really came in handy. It was also necessary to have a permit to collect there, something I only discovered the night before. Here is a link to a PDF of the permit. I drove down with a fellow UChicago student. We parked at the first lot off of WN5000 road from the Kankakee road side. Our plan was to use the topo map to find the steepest erosional surfaces to collect on. Initially this strategy seemed like a bust. In our first forty minutes we only found three concretions between us. I think that was because the area near the parking lot and WN5000 road was just really picked over. As we moved deeper into the brush, our finding rate increased. At some points we literally found piles of concretions, this was usually because they had landed in the roots of trees or come up against some other impediment. Our best finds were usually midway and above on the hills. Finds near the bottom of the hills tended to be weathered more extensively and were often fragmented. The concretions themselves were reddish and mostly about the size of half dollars, but larger and smaller ones were also abundant. Concretions found in sunny areas tended to have oxidized to a rusty orange color. We found fragments of some very large concretions, so those are out there, but the largest intact ones we found were about the size of a tea saucer. Many were also pre-split from weathering. We collected a fair number of these since they were covered in mud and it was hard to tell whether there might be a fossil or not. By the end of the afternoon we each had about 1/3rd of a 5 gallon bucket filled with concretions. We could easily have filled the buckets with an additional hour or two of effort, but we were pretty tired and satisfied with our success, so we called it a day. In terms of the environment, the terrain was very rugged and filled with dense brush. Open spaces were filled with burr plants to the point of absurdity. By the end of the day we looked like we had ghillie suits from the sheer quantity of vegetable matter clinging to our clothing (picture below). I recommend wearing long sleeves and pants to protect the skin, and selecting fabrics that burrs will not easily cling to. Additionally, there were lots of biting insects, but a quick spray of DEET solved that problem. I'm prepping the concretions by throwing them in the freezer. However, I'd appreciate it if somebody could link me to a post on the proper treatment, or enlighten me below- both for my own knowledge and for other readers. Photo of two of my pre split finds- the rest are in the freezer right now. (I think a polychaete worm on the bottom, and I have absolutely no clue what the thing on the top is) Our overall route (roughly) Concretions/concretion fragments in situ Me covered in burrs and looking like a dork
  16. Mazon ID Help

    I am thinking that this is a Drevotella proteana, with, but not necessarily attached to, a Palaeolima retifera.
  17. Mazon ID Help

  18. Mazon Creek

    From a flat of specimens identified as from Pit 11. Three dimensional. Small leaf? Thanks! ~Paul
  19. Mazon Creek

    From a flat of specimens identified as from Pit 11. Mouth looks familiar as that of Achistrum, but no dessication cracks. Looking to confirm identification. Thanks! ~Paul
  20. Are any of these Mazon Creek Fossils?

    Hi everyone, After the thunderstorm yesterday, me and some friends drove up to the Ponderosa area of Mazon creek park to look for fossils. It was our first time, and we didn't know the specifics of what to look for, but we spent three hours walking the whole perimeter of the lake, braving the aggressive swarms of biting insects. Can anyone here tell me if any of the rocks we found are the right ones to possibly contain fossils? Attached is a picture of all the rocks, and an album with closeup pictures. https://photos.app.goo.gl/XoCZQJwgWU7dbcoS7 Thanks a lot!!!
  21. This is a statement that I often make to myself throughout the Summer and the vast majority of the time I decide to stay home. This was not the case in decades past and it is not because I am older and slowing down, which is definitely not the case, the main culprit is vegetation. Today I had the idea of going to the Pit and taking pictures of the area so new collectors can see areas that they collect at and also see the conditions that they will face in the summertime. I usually go to the Pit at the beginning of the fossil collecting season (March 1st), this is your best chance to find concretions since there is no foliage. Now I also am not saying that there are no fossils to be found in the summertime, I found some today and I was not really looking, it is just that much more difficult and when you add the ticks and mosquito's into the mix, it makes for a real fun day.- NOT. So this morning I left at about 8:00 am for the 45 mile drive to Pit 11, I brought a small backpack and a hammer along with my mountain bike, I was really glad that I brought it. I road up and down hills, road through mud and water and across flat lands with 3+ foot vegetation- after 4 hours I decided to leave. This Post is PICTURE HEAVY and will take SEVERAL POSTS to complete, so bear with me- I will include screen shots of aerial views as well as a couple pictures from about 20 years ago to show how things have changed. This post should also help the new comer get acquainted with the area the so they gain hopefully have better success when collecting. If others have pictures or other things that they will like to add, please feel free to do that. The first area that I stopped is an place that we use to call "Inside the cooling lakes". Years ago before they made this all access entrance, we had to enter on the other side of the cooling lakes at a location called "Fossil Gate". This was an area that was only opened on Saturdays and Sundays and it was manned by a guard from the Nuclear Power Plant. Cars would line up and when the guard opened the gate, you had to show your collecting pass and he would double check it against cards that they had with our signature. Once everything was cleared, you were free to drive in and find your area to collect. There were times when only me and my son were out collecting and the guard would wait in the shack until 4 pm when we left, it was pretty sweet. Mazonia / Braidwood State Fish and Wildlife Area This is an aerial shot of where you turn in for the Mazonia area that allows access into the cooling lakes. The island that you see below is Turino Hill and it is about the only place that is still free of vegetation on the sides of the hill. I collected this area a few times with a friend that had a boat, there are fossils to be found there. The other shot shows the parking lot where you will leave your car. After you park and you are getting ready to go collect, if you are facing the lake, you want to go down the road to your right. I have never found anything on the road to the left, except fishermen. Here is an aerial shot that shows the other islands that you can collect on if you have a boat. Here are a pictures of Turino Hill- On top of the hill there is a flag. Here is a picture of Turino Hill and the Nuclear Reactors to the right. A close up- Here is the road to the right, you can go past the chain blocking the path, it is there so no vehicles drive down the road. Again, before they made this entrance we had access to that road, only from farther down it- it saved a lot of walking. You can check for concretions along the shore, but at this time of the year it gets really rough to get to the shore as you continue down the road, as shown below. I crossed the chain and continued down the road on my bike for about 15 minutes until I arrived at an area that I use to collect at in the Summertime- it has really changed. Below are some older pictures of how it use to look. As you can see from the pictures above, there were plenty of places to collect concretions that were weathering out of the sides of the spoil piles. Here is an aerial shot of where this collecting area is. I will show pictures of how this area looks now in the NEXT POST.
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