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The past two weeks I have made three trips to hunt for fossils, particularly from Kiowa formation/Kiowa shale here in Kansas. The first trip were local: the outcrop in my hometown, Salina. The next two trips were in Ellsworth county, Kansas; which, is only about 30 miles/48 km away from Salina. My first trip to the local outcrop were not productive: I knew it is relatively non-fossiliferous and never found any fossils there despite of growing up in this town and visiting this area all of my life. It wasn't until two weeks ago (March 25th, 2020) that I have found my first fossil from there and I'm pretty certain it's planolites burrows. The second and third trips in Ellsworth county were quite productive! I have found mostly plant and shellfish fossils but also found few trace, vertebrae and tooth fossils. The area where I found these would be underwater when the reservoir level is high. I have so much to do the basic prep for the next several weeks...

My first trip to the local outcrop in Salina, Kansas, and found a fossil containing planolites-like burrows.





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My second trip in Ellsworth county, Kansas. There was a car-sized boulder that contained plant debris and reed fossils!




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Plant debris and reed fossils I collected from my second trip. The reed spikelet is quite well-preserved, enough to see individual florets!








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Fossil collections from the second trip continued. Another reed fossil that is preserved well enough to see the individual florets.





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My third trip to Ellsworth county is the most fruitful! I went a little overboard with collecting the fossils... There's also abundant cone-in-cone structures in this area; so abundant and so weathered that if you walk barefooted on the beach, it could mess up your feet. I mean, like bunches of nasty splinters on your foot soles. I also have found abundant of marcasites, gypsum, and ironstone concretions. Fossils I have found: nearly endless supply of Turritella sp., few trace fossils, few bivalves or brachiopods or both, few tooths, and few small vertebrae.








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Stuffs from the third trip continued and that's all for now. There will be more pictures coming after I am done doing the basic preps!









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The Amateur Paleontologist

Very neat field trip report :) Those reeds and teeth are especially nice!

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Wow - look at all of those gastropods! :default_faint:


Congrats on a successful hunt!

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Tidgy's Dad

Very nice indeed, decent variety of stuff.

Thanks for sharing. :)

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I spent about 4 days prepping the marcasites found from my second and third trip. Marcasite is a variety of pyrite that is unstable. Once exposed, it would lose its luster and become dull in few months. In the long term, it will decay and crumble into powder; which, is similar to pyrite disease that is known to plague pyritized fossils and marcasite jewelries. To prep it, I removed as much amount of matrix as I can with two baths of vinegar (about an hour of soaking each time), brushed it with a toothbrush and baking soda each time, and then soaked in a bowl of tap water all night. After the last soak, I blew it dry with pressurized air hose and then baked it at about 88 degree C. for two hours to remove the remaining water. Lastly, I sprayed it with a coat of clear shellac to protect it from the humidity that is responsible for catalyzing the pyrite disease.

I took these photos below, right before I applied a clear coat of shellac. The magnifications of the close up views of marcasites are from 50x to 1000x with my portable digital microscope. I'll start prepping fossils I found from there and posting the photos soon. I am busy with different things everyday, unfortunately. 








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