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Found 3 results

  1. This is part 2, site 2 of my Memorial day fossil hunting trip. You can see the site one report here: I chose to drive out to Denton Creek north of Ft. Worth. I had been there before, but had not gotten to explore the area. It was the takeout point from a kayaking trip I’d taken down the creek a few weeks before. It took me 30 minutes out to drive out there from the first location I hunted in Benbrook. If you pass the creek going north you can go up to the next exit and then loop back to the creek. There is a little rock and dirt path off the shoulder of the road that leads down to under the bridge where you can drive your vehicle. The hill down to under the bridge is kind of steep. My car was a bit on the low side for getting over the curb and then a steep embankment with rocks. I bottomed out once. I thought I might park my car in the shade under the bridge, but when I arrived there was another vehicle in the area. I thought I was the only person crazy enough to be out here in the heat. Nobody could pass if I parked under the bridge so I pulled through into a small clearing there. The grass and weeds were grown up pretty high in the clearing. I knew of a sizeable exposure on the creek that I wanted to try to get to on foot, but I didn’t know the terrain around the creek. I switched to my rubber boots for walking in the creek. I reapplied sunscreen and headed down the steep hill to the edge of the creek. I had to sit down and scoot myself over the edge and drop down to the rock ledge that ran along the creek. I inspected the exposure. Last time I was here I found a pretty decent Macraster obesus right by the spot I came in by. I didn’t see a single fossil. The creek was maybe 40 feet wide give or take. The water was less than 10 inches deep where I entered the creek. I don’t think the creek is ever a high energy creek. The rocks that are in this part of the creek are angular and jagged. The water in the creek is rather murky so you can’t see into the water. All of that makes it a difficult creek to walk in. Most of the creek in that spot is one level at bedrock with rocks scattered across much of the creek bottom. There is a narrow jagged rift in the bedrock that meanders along the creek bed. The water is deeper in the rift. I walked down into the creek and squatted down looking at some ammonite fragments in the creek. I saw two butterflies nearby. I tried to get a better picture from the side, but they flew away before I could do so. Sorry it is not a very clear picture. You can see the creek bed is kind of slimy looking. In some areas where the water was very low it looked foul and fetid. It had a green bubbly looking surface. I assessed the creek and decided to walked along the exposed rock ledge above the creek. As I walked up the creek there was a horrible stench of something dead. The further I went the worse it got. Finally I came upon a gar fish carcass on the rock ledge above the creek. It was close to one of the places where I had wanted to have a look around, but the odor was too strong and repulsive. It looked to be just over 3 feet long. I can’t imagine how it got there. It had to be a person who had drug it there. This section of the creek does not seem deep enough for such a large fish to swim in. Maybe it swam in the rift though. There were deeper sections of the creek where it could live, but not here. There were signs of racoons all over along with remnants of their meals. Evidently gar is not on the racoon menu, which was surprising to me since it seems raccoons will eat almost anything else. I looked at the thin, razor sharp gar teeth. It is kind of scary to think that type of critter was in this creek when I kayaked it. I was in and out of the water all the time. A bite from that thing would be nasty. Here is a pic of it. I walked back down the creek upon the rock ledge to a place where there weren’t too many jagged rocks in the creek and where the rift in the creek would be narrow enough for me to step across it. Since the water was flowing slowly the rocks were covered with algae and were very slippery. I got to the rift. There were rocks pilled up there. I place one foot on a large one sitting at an angle and it tottered underneath me. I made sure my foot wouldn’t slip and I balanced myself as I put my next foot on another rock. It tottered too. To slip and fall in this creek with all the jagged rocks would really hurt and might do considerable injury. At least when I slipped and fell in the NSR the riverbed was smooth, without any rocks. I took a few more steps on similar rocks and I was I on smooth riverbed again near the other bank. I began to inspect the exposure. I found these just sitting on the bank. A cute little impression of an ammonite and what appeared to be a fragment of a Pinna clam. I have yet to find a whole Pinna clam. I’d kind of like to find at least one whole one someday. The only other formation I have found them is in the Goodland. It is another of the Washita Group formations.
  2. Echinoid jackpot

    I was on call at work all week which meant I had to be within an hour of my work and have cell phone access. I wanted to go fossil hunting so I google mapped an area in Tarrant County, Texas. I found a few potential spots with some exposure and I headed that way. It was an hour drive from home. I’ve been seeing lots of echinoids come out of the area. I had made 3 separate trips to the area not knowing exactly where the echinoids could be found. Two previous trips resulted in abundant ammonite finds. Ammonite hunting often requires a lot of gear and tools. Ammonites are generally big and heavy. I wanted a break from the heavy duty hauling and labor intensive retrieval, but I had no clue what I might find at this new location so I came equipped. On the way to the first stop I passed a large area of exposed rock and soil. I had passed it at least 3 times before, but yesterday I decided to take the detour and stop at this site. It was right off the freeway, but yo access it I looked around to what I thought would be the back side. It was a couple mile loop to get there. I ended up in a daycare parking lot across from the area. I had looked at the weather in the morning and it said the high would be 74. I came hydrated for 74. I got my little bag with a single gardening tool and crossed the road to the site. Initially I thought the place was a construction site dump for dirt and rocks that had been flattened out, but I eventually realized that wasn’t the case. I think it was initially a housing development that fell through and the land was still sitting there after being somewhat grated and leveled. Here is a view of the terrain. Lots of exposure. I walked around for about 2 minutes before I saw the first fossil. I was dubious this place had any potential, but that one little fossil gave me the motivation to continue investigating. I walked on for another 15 min without spotting anything. The side had two sections. I had explored maybe 20 acres of the first many 40 acres. I decided to mosey over to the back 40. While in this area I realized it wasn’t a construction site dumb. I saw layering in the soil. I found a couple of ammonite fragments and while bending down to pick one up I found a shark tooth. Then a little while later I found another. They’re pretty small. About 1 cm I’d say. No idea what genus though. While in the back 40 I saw my first hint of echinoids. I found a fragment that was about 2.5 inches across. Bingo! This is what I have been looking for and what I had made 3 other unsuccessful trips to Tarrant County for. I knew I was in the right spot. I walked about 10 feet and saw my first large echinoid. When I look at these pics some of them have this optical illusion quality. It looks like there are a bunch of holes in the ground. If that is what you see go to the pic above, focus on the small rocks and come back to this one and refocus. There aren’t any holes in the ground. They’re all rocks sitting on top of the ground. It’s the weirdest thing. They’re my own pics, but I keep seeing the inverse picture so they look like depressions in the ground rather than stones on top of the ground. Anyway, there’s my first large echinoid in situ, upside down. Here is that sweet not so little find in my hand. It was the biggest I had ever found up to that point, but I found bigger than this yesterday. A couple more with top side view. Bottom side view. One in situ sitting on its side, just begging to be picked up and loved on. It’s like he’s saying “come scratch my tummy.” About this point I started not feeling that great. I was feeling a little over heated, but since the high was only supposed to be 74 that didn’t make sense to me. I drank some Gatorade I’d brought with me and went on. I kept walking around hunting for another 20 min or so, but the feeling got worse. I hadn’t found any echinoids for a few min so I decided to head back to my car. It would take me a while to get back. But then I stumbled across another patch of echinoids. Another one with an ammonite fragment. There were a lot of ammonite fragments everywhere. Here is a decent little ammonite I found. A couple more. I had just picked up the ammonite and another echi. I think I found 3 or 4 paired echies sitting right next to another. The feeling of being over heated and dehydrated got worse. I can take the heat reasonably well. So I wasn’t sure what was going on. Maybe my age was beginning to show (I’ll be 50 this week). I’d had oral surgery a couple weeks before and thought maybe I wasn’t back up to par yet, despite feeling fine even a day after the surgery. I had to sit down once, but didn’t really improve with sitting. I had wondered if I was going to make it back before fainting. I had stated to have a few short blackouts when I stood up after bending over, but I finally made it back to my car. To my surprise the temperature was a whopping 93. If I had known it was going to be 93 I would have hydrated completely differently than I did for 74 degrees. I can handle 93 if I hydrate for it. I went hiking last Summer in Grand Staircase Escalante in Utah when it was 115 degrees and did fine. Anyway, I went to get gas and a drink and something salty. I found my favorite chips, Funyuns. I only eat them when traveling though. They’re too dangerous to keep around the house. I’d eat the whole bag. I’m a bit of a health nut, but not a fanatic. So I try to not keep junk food around the house that I’m tempted by. With temperatures like that it is clear that Spring is here and summer is on its way. Driving back home, blue skyes and yes, even a little smog in Dallas. The Bradford pears and red bud trees are in bloom here in Texas and things are turning green. I found 23 echinoids in all. 2 shark teeth and a few ammonites. It was a pretty productive day fossil hunting. That might have quenched my appetite for echinoids for a short while. I’ll post a pic of them all tomorrow.
  3. Graysonites ammonite?

    I found this back around Thanksgiving, the end of November, in the Grayson Formation in Tarrant County Texas. I believe it is a Graysonites ammonite, but I was trying to narrow it down to a species. I only have one reference book for Texas ammonites and it doesn’t mention any Graysonites ammonites in Tarrant County. The book is a bit older so some of the nomenclature may have changed too. In the book there are 4 species compared in a table. There are a few more mentioned briefly, but not well described. Only 2 species in the table are reported in the Grayson formation, lozoi and wooldridgei I think this may be the Graysonites lozoi species unless anyone can direct me otherwise. It is 200 mm in diameter and had a max whorl height of 76 mm with a breadth of 49 mm. The number of ribs per whorl is 16. I was hunting with another person the day I found this. He found a much larger one in embedded under the marl ledge about 30 feet from this one. He tried to extract it and shattered it in the attempt. The horns on that one were about 45 mm long! It was an impressive little beast. Any thoughts? Can anyone direct me to additional references with Graysonites in Texas? I probably need to search @Fruitbat‘s PDF library. Or maybe @doushantuo has a good reference. I have others I will be attempting to ID soon as well. The last shot you can just see suture patterns if you zoom in. Hopefully the quality didn’t suffer too much when I attempted to downsize them to put on here.
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