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Dimitris

Lower Callovian, Bov Fm, NW Bulgaria

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Dimitris

Hello everyone!
How is isolation working for you? Me studying...

Found something extremely unusual for Tripadvisor and Bulgaria. A fossil hunting trip in Bulgaria! Why unusual? Well, most people don't even know what a fossil is here.

The most surprising thing is that this specific trip, mentions my last area I visited and caught by the border police!!!!

 

https://www.bulgariantale.com/komstitca-a-peaceful-walking-in-the-past/

 

Abstracts with importance:

 

"Komstitsa- a village, which is one of the most important places of Bulgaria for belemnites, squid-like animals, shells, and ammonites."

From the end of the village, the tour starts. We’ll walk on dirty roads, making a girth around the peak, called “Kaleto”. "

 

Whoever opens the link, go down and see the picture with a dirt road and title " The road is full with fossils!".

I crossed this road twice, once asceding and once desceding.. Till next time, once Corona is gone....

 

Stay strong, invest your infinite time, think of the quarantine as the sole opportunity to do mental things and reading.

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Dimitris

A month plus since my last hunt, weather was not my ally, but the rash to go out couldn't be stopped.

The place I visited is called Zimevitsa Plateau, about an hour from my house and not hard to reach.. At least the very basis of it. 

Along the road, I spotted an abandoned quarry or mine. I have no idea what they were digging from there, but I didn't see anything interesting with a quick look I had. Still beautiful.

 

5eb3038d1cd96_siteexp.thumb.jpg.8e1144d4b2c61b11741e0dcefa5f8231.jpg

 

Explanation of the site.

Yellow line and below: Quaternary. Maybe some boulders are allochthonous since I found two signs of life.

Black gravel: Etropole formation. No need to outline it, it is pretty much obvious since the ground looks like burnt, due to the fact the shales contain lots of Fe+. Aalenian-Lower Bajocian

On the very base of this formation, there is another one called Ozirovo formation, made exclusively of Aalenian deposits.

Red line: Yavorets formation. Lower Callovian

Light blue: Bov formation. Lower Bajocian-Bathonian. It is a very small exposure, 2-5m thick made of grey silty marls. For comparison, the Etropole formation is 90m thick (the black site).

White circle: This is supposed to be Gintsi formation as per the natural history museum of Sofia, made of Ammonitico Rosso-type red nodular limestones. Contrary, as per Metodiev and his publication "Middle Jurassic fossil and depositional record from the area of the Zimevitsa Plateau" (2/2014) this formation is not observed.

 

The site itself, is very beautiful but it is very hard to reach the fossiliferous locations. Thick forest and hard to climb rocks, many signs of past rock slides. Concerning fossils, most publications claim that the preservation quality is very high and 2/3 confirmed formations have very high amount of fossils. For me, it is very tempting as it is a time-capsule of the whole middle Jurassic. 

My finds, extremely limited as today's objective was just to scout the area, find paths and make my life easier on the next visit.

 

Initially, it looked like a bone in terms of texture.  Looking more closely I though maybe section of horn coral.

I suppose allochthonous boulder slid from Yavorets formation.

 

5eb30566be1ce_thumbnail(7).jpg.5bc428ee6cd9183ba3805207dbb70f9f.jpg

 

Didn't manage to extract it whole. The diameter is a little less than 1cm.

 

thumbnail.jpg.8bdc4c6403e15b3a9b6b6e6504961621.jpg

 

Nearby, I also found this. Ammonite? Probably not, does not look to have chambers. I am between gastropod or concentration that looks like fossil aka "rock sp".. Your opinion?

5eb30680d72de_thumbnail(2).thumb.jpg.abc2f42ac4ca8685400f0272fef84fd5.jpg

 

Lastly, a Salamandra salamandra. This fella did not care about me being right next to him. He knows he is poisonous! Touch me if you dare, he said..

So yes, whatever has bright colours in nature, don't touch it. Ok, generally, don't disturb wild animals at their home.

5eb3074d24dec_thumbnail(5).thumb.jpg.f215bbd8e4caf514ed58f9cf0378ad74.jpg

 

I will be back to this place this Saturday, whole day! Hope the finds would equal to the reports I have read.

Hope you like the pictures. A better photo (not mine of course) showing the landscape here!

thumbnail (4).jpg

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Tidgy's Dad

Nice report.:)

Yes, I think that's an ammonite. No chambers showing as it's the outside of the shell.

Good luck on Saturday.

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Dimitris

Thanks Adam!

I meant that looks completely flat and its shape resembles more gastropod.

I will check species found there and compare, maybe it is indeed.

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Tidgy's Dad
13 minutes ago, Dimitris said:

Thanks Adam!

I meant that looks completely flat and its shape resembles more gastropod.

I will check species found there and compare, maybe it is indeed.

Yes, could be, but whichever it is it seems to have a keel which should help a little with id. 

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Dimitris

Arrived today close to the mountain. This is the place I stopped, car could not go any further as the terrain was only for 4X4 with big ground clearance.

In this picture, south is in the centre of the picture. I followed the path until the top of the mountain and then went west by the cliff. On the right corner is the point I stopped. 

This is around 3km until there. My return was longer as I took another path which was more smooth.

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Around 800m from the setting of this picture, I stopped to catch my breath and noticed this.

I do not have geology info for that section, but it looks like fragment of crinoid?

It is 1.2cm

5-8-20..2.thumb.jpg.f60a24b8621c680d4b02146ea39a7fdd.jpg

 

Not long after that, I found a section with ammonitico Rosso, but without ammonites :( 

I smashed a few boulders, but nothing inside. The colour and the texture is the same as in Greece, Epidaurus and maybe Hallstatt.

If I am correct, can I assume this is a Triassic exposure?

 

5-8-20..3.thumb.jpg.7244848729bd689783f9eaa8eba3d122.jpg

 

Moving further, I did not see anything until my last point.

{ My initial objective was to arrive to Zimevitsa anticline which is mostly middle Jurassic, but I stopped at Gintsi fm. which looks again Triassic}

 

This is the best preserved ammonite I gathered today. 

I believe it is Monophyllites sp. (6cm diameter, the other side is not so good) which would make the formation Middle Triassic, Anisian.

Looks the same with this fella I will go to collect once back in Greece.

5-8-20..4.thumb.jpg.efec050fa55460388cd0b180369ecb7a.jpg

 

Possibly again Monophyllites sp. Needs cleaning to see if there is anything left.

5-8-20..5.thumb.jpg.0b0d6fce8ac040d8d7c9f4713417cb0d.jpg

 

Same formation as above, but I do not understand species.

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At the end of the post two weathered ammonites.

Missed my objective to find the middle Jurassic deposits. I am sceptical if I would go there again. The path is very hard and this makes things difficult to transport a lot of material.

Or should I buy a Lada Niva/ Grand Cherokee / Suzuki Samurai and call it "fossil tool"?! 

 

5-8-20..7.jpg

5-8-20..8.jpg

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Tidgy's Dad

Nice photos.

Glad you had some luck. 

The first ammonite is pretty nice.:ammonite01:

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Dimitris

It has some detail. I was wrong about its other side. It just needs prep, thing I will start practicing after December. Nevertheless, it's ammonitico Rosso and I am crazy for that! If my car is fixed soon, I will go again but with different approach to the formation. 

 

Despite the setbacks, the weather was amazing, I enjoyed the sun, the exercise, the nature. I saw some deers, foxes, falcons, lots of flowers. Few things can beat this combo. 

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Coco
5 hours ago, Dimitris said:

5-8-20..2.thumb.jpg.f60a24b8621c680d4b02146ea39a7fdd.jpg

 

Because your left fossil looks like a cone, I think it’s a phragmocone (the inside of a belemnite).

 

Coco

 

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Dimitris

Visited yesterday the spot NW of me for a quick hunt. No serious finds but made one useful observation, which may apply to other Callovian formations around the world.

On a previous post, I was wondering if THESE are belemnites. What triggered mostly my curiosity is the red pattern around them. Some iron oxide? Possible. 

The most interesting fact is that there are more circular patterns like this, and wherever I see them, it is an index that this plate has ammonites.

5ebf90a5b42e0_thumbnail(3).thumb.jpg.bdb07d56f4f8af73f711153ea6409699.jpg

 

On the same spot, I noticed many of them that had the shape of ammonite, but no fossil. I conclude that:

i) The fossil was too small to be fossilized

ii) Due to dynamic pressure during the formation of these sediments, the small ammonites did not leave imprint.

iii) Larger ammos were fossilized but their shape is usually deformed, mostly their thickness is reduced.

 

So the red patterns are ammos or belemnites (depends the shape) that were not fossilized. Molluscs with, lets say improper burial!

 

Lastly, on THIS post I was wrong.

The L. Callovian is made only of dark shale rocks. Part of it is exposed and the rest is hidden under debris and dirt on the very base of the cliff.

The exposed part on this section is less than 1m.

 

The M. Callovian is much thicker, made of yellow/brown shales. The preservation quality is better, thus I assume less pressure during fossilization process. The quantity of fossils less, the quality better like this and this example.

 

The U. Callovian and Oxfordian exposure continues for more than 400m SE, following the road as seen on the map.

https://www.google.com/maps/@43.5651164,22.920796,733m/data=!3m1!1e3

I will go again to study this section.

 

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Ludwigia
1 hour ago, Dimitris said:

 On the same spot, I noticed many of them that had the shape of ammonite, but no fossil. I conclude that:

i) The fossil was too small to be fossilized

ii) Due to dynamic pressure during the formation of these sediments, the small ammonites did not leave imprint.

iii) Larger ammos were fossilized but their shape is usually deformed, mostly their thickness is reduced.

 

So the red patterns are ammos or belemnites (depends the shape) that were not fossilized. Molluscs with, lets say improper burial!

Your conclusions are not necessarily correct, except for iii). Fossilization has nothing to do with size, but rather burial and sedimentation circumstances.The objects are likely concretions and iron deposits, but it doesn't mean that they were all originally fossils. Thanks for your reports anyway. Very interesting. Keep on exploring!

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Dimitris
10 hours ago, Ludwigia said:

Your conclusions are not necessarily correct, except for iii). Fossilization has nothing to do with size, but rather burial and sedimentation circumstances.The objects are likely concretions and iron deposits, but it doesn't mean that they were all originally fossils. Thanks for your reports anyway. Very interesting. Keep on exploring!

Indeed I may be wrong. My point of view is that since all ammos from L. Callovian are deformed, this means that there were extreme pressures applied to fossils. Smaller samples might not be able to be fossilized.

About the iron concretions, it may be just a repetitive pattern, totally irrelevant to actual facts.

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Dimitris

Today I returned to the other mountain with the dark grey/black cliff.

This time I made it to the top after an exhausting 2h hiking. Brought with me only absolute necessary things; 2 hammers and chisels, 3 litres of water, some fruits and sun-cream. Water was not enough but anyway.

One kilometre before my goal and the Etropole fm was already visible in some road cuttings. I checked for fossils but other than some beautiful iron concretions, nothing more. It is  Aalenian-Lower Bajocian.

A.thumb.jpg.5279de26a47684772377bb38815a156a.jpg

 

The formations look much smoother from below, but when I made it up there I was disappointed. The ground is very unstable, you cannot hold your grip and the place is extremely windy.

In the middle of the picture below, is where the Etropole fm meets Yavorets with L. Callovian. The black sands did not have any fossils. I went down from the slope, maybe 10 meters and found nothing. Quotation from Prof. Metodiev:

"Lithologically, this succession mainly consists of silty marls and fine-laminated shales with sideritic concretions and phosphate nodules. Limestones occur as interbeds of micritic mudstones, mudstones to wackestones with re-sedimented iron-ooids and bioclastic floatstones and rudstones. The latter two types appear as distinct shell-beds, having a high value of fossil packing, being rich in ammonites and brachiopods, less rich in belemnites l subordinate bivalves and microfossils also appear but not studied), and recording a few levels of taphonomic condensations."

 

Bold and underlined is the section I did not manage to visit as I did not have a rope with me, which would ensure my return up there. I guess that is why I did not find something there. The inclination is ~60% and the feel of the ground like steeping on sand.

 

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Yavorets fm on the other hand is very rich in fossils. Every step and fossil, usually within the formation, sometimes weathered, sometimes not. Due to the location I had to make choices, as I could not carry a lot of weight. The descend is always harder. I kept the first fossil I found and I focused on something bigger.

 

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This ammo measures 20cm, it is my first of that size and made me very happy. I found it on a boulder heavier than 20kgs. Luckily it wasnt very hard to remove the excess rock.

I lost some material of the fossil as it slipped from the cliff and of course I did not risk to retrieve it.

 

My way down was a little adventurous. You see, at this place there is a herd of sheep, cows and goats. These animals are guarded by herd dogs and soon as they realised my presence they came closer. The worst part is that the herd had the same return route as me. After a close encounter with two of these dogs, I left them continue ahead, waited without water, patiently, then safely made it to the road.

 

 Here is a traditional house made of mud and wood. Yes I know not fossil related but I think its beautiful to share it.

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And here are the 2 finds.

This is the first one I found. It looks like Siemiradzkia mangoldi or Homoeoplanulites mouterdei (giving more chances for the second) though I am not sure.

1.thumb.jpg.a2ecf535c648098b1e7f32830775f40f.jpg

 

And here is the big one! Needs preparation, something will be done after this November. It is not perfectly preserved, misses some details of its shell, but I love it!

Cannot identify it at this state. Probably a more experienced eye could help; otherwise I am patient I will wait until preparation!

 

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Hope you like the content.

My plans, probably I will not visit this place anytime soon. I will do that when a get an off road car. Notice the second picture on the top of the rocks? Its a Grand Vitara or Nissan Patrol. Thats a way to carry great finds.. I will pay one last and extensive visit to Nechiska Bara river to explore the Oxfordian stage and the Upper Callovian and this is how I will put a temporary epilogue to the Jurrasic.

 

Meanwhile, I have read about a late cretaceous formation with heteromorphs I plan to visit and I have a confirmed location 400Kms from me to the Black Sea. The last one is the meeting point of  Maastrichtian with Danian with ammos, shark teeth and echinoids which I love and I do not have a single unit!

 

 

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3.jpg

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FossilDAWG

Thanks for bringing us on your grand adventure!

 

Don

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Jesta384

beautiful

 

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Dimitris
On 17/5/2020 at 5:44 AM, FossilDAWG said:

Thanks for bringing us on your grand adventure!

 

Don

 

On 17/5/2020 at 10:10 AM, Jesta384 said:

beautiful

 

Thanks everyone!

 

Today I am setting an epilogue for Jurassic of Bulgaria, until next year. Time to move a little forward and explore Cretaceous and Pg (which I had very underestimated).

As a finale, I explored the Upper Callovian and Oxfordian at Nechiska Bara river, NW of Sofia.

The results were as expected; very scarce fossils that were even harder to recognise as this part of the formation is full of nodules and enclosures in the formation that give the illusion of a fossil.

The worst part is that the Oxfordian is made of Dolomite, combined with the nodular inclusions, I found it very difficult to extract fossils.

Spent there 3-4 hours with direct search on the formation and foraging the debris around the formation. Only 4 fossils were collected as most was fragmented.

 

Oxfordian Haploceratidae sp. 2.5cm

A.thumb.jpg.5fce36524ecb819374347fd965eb194e.jpg

 

 

Upper Callovian, have to check it

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Two decent pieces of belemnites from the Upper Callovian, 4cm and 6cm respectively. 

C.thumb.jpg.ffbf45ff6e8b0a67b8477f0aa7d8471e.jpgD.thumb.jpg.1971b58bb654638381cef27802f4a7b8.jpg

 

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jpc

I haven't seen the later pages of your trip report.  Breat stuff.  Good to see you are out there exploring.  That is half the fun of out hobby.  

 

Earlier when we first chatted, I also found the web site for the fossil trip in your country.  Looks like fun.

 

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Dimitris
9 hours ago, jpc said:

I haven't seen the later pages of your trip report.  Breat stuff.  Good to see you are out there exploring.  That is half the fun of out hobby.  

 

Earlier when we first chatted, I also found the web site for the fossil trip in your country.  Looks like fun.

 

Thanks J.P! I try to be out with any given opportunity. Bulgaria is a very green country with diverse landscape and rich flora and fauna.

I have seen many wild animals during those trips, thrilling scenery and all in all a very positive experience.

 

The other half of fun would be during winter with snow knee high. I will have a lot of material to organise, prepare and make plans for more trips!

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jpc

I also looked at birdwatching trips in Bulgaria, and there seems to be good birding there.  Maybe someday...

 

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Dimitris
1 hour ago, jpc said:

I also looked at birdwatching trips in Bulgaria, and there seems to be good birding there.  Maybe someday...

 

True! I just saw a video today of a guy who was hidden behind some rocks and a rock hawk (have no idea of its normal name) landed next to him.

Have seen many times both falcons and hawks, sometimes even within the borders of the city. Surprising I have not seen owls.

Around February I think, I found a wounded hawk (sparrow hawk maybe?) with a gunshot on its wing.

He bit the stuff out of me, got a lot of scratches but now he must be ok. Got him to a wildlife protection/rehab centre.

Although wounded, he had such a nerve and attitude.

 

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