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KimTexan posted a topic in Fossil Hunting TripsThis 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.
John and I headed out for a couple hours to our Washita Group site this afternoon. The water was still deep in some spots, but we were able to get around to a few new locations. We found three or four of the expected ammonites (Oxytropidoceras acutocarinatum), plus a couple things I have yet to id. By far MY find of the day was an echinoid spine that I spied (even though it was partially covered by leaves) in a Denton Clay exposure. This exposure also gave us a few irregular echinoids, and several Neithea sp., including the one shown below, which has exceptional preservation. I do have to say this, however, my favorite part of the day was later this evening at my daughter's high school parent/teacher conference while talking with her Biology II instructor. John was with us, and I mentioned we'd been out fossil hunting this afternoon. That started a little conversation between the teacher and John. John told him "You know, understanding geology is really important when you're looking for fossils. You have to understand the different layers of rock to know where to look for fossils, and the ages they represent to identify them properly." The instructor looked at him, shook his head and said, "You know, I don't think there's anyone in my classes, other than your sister, that would have any idea what you just said--and how true it is." It made me proud that he's soaking up important stuff while having a good time.