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Found 55 results

  1. 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?
  2. 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.
  3. Anyone out there have any Tully Monsters they would be willing to trade. Partials ok. PM if you want.
  4. 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.
  5. 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
  6. 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!)
  7. 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.
  8. 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".
  9. 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
  10. Mazon ID Help

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

  12. Mazon Creek

    From a flat of specimens identified as from Pit 11. Three dimensional. Small leaf? Thanks! ~Paul
  13. 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
  14. 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!!!
  15. 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.
  16. Fossil hunting season at Illinois's Mazonia-Braidwood State Fish and Wildlife Area, the iconic Pit 11, runs from March to September every year. I didn't make it to the park at all last year, so I wanted to get out there on day 1 this year. I took the day off work and thankfully the weather cooperated- it was cloudy and in the 30s for most of the day. I picked up my rental car at 7:30 in the morning and hit the road for the 90 minute drive north. I wasn't the first one at the park, though- I saw a few other folks heading out on the trail with buckets in hand as I pulled into the parking lot off 5000 N Rd. Although I have been to Mazonia about 6 times in the last 5 years, I am still finding my way around the overgrown landscape of the park. I started out with an area I had been to before, and had some early success. Unfortunately, I followed that by wandering off to explore a new area, lugging my heavy bucket through heavy brush for 2 hours with almost no success. That (and the fact that I was in the early stages of a head cold) led me to taking it easy in the afternoon. I was only able to add a few more concretions to my bucket, but the sun did peek out briefly towards the end of the day resulting in some lovely panoramas from up on top of a ridge. I was able to chat briefly with another fossil hunter when I got back to the parking lot about the joys and tribulations of fossil hunting at Mazonia- we discussed the hard work necessary in order to have a chance to open an incredible window into a 300 million year old world, and how we wouldn't trade that chance for anything. I finished the day at the former tipple on the western side of the park, wide open ridges of dumped waste from the former mine that remain inhospitable to plant life to this day. It is an alien looking world, and usually has not been a great spot for finding fossils. However, it is easy to access at least and I was actually happy to come across a few rough bark impressions in sandstone that I picked up. The sun was getting low, so I decided to call it a day. I only collected about 1 1/2 gallons of concretions, but I was still glad I could get out to the park and find something. I will put my finds in the next post.
  17. Mazon Creek Unknown

    I need some help with a pit 11 unknown. Reminders me oy a “Y” but it has bulbous ends on the appendages. Any thoughts? Pat
  18. 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
  19. 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.
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