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Red horn corals - where from? (US Southwest?)


Wrangellian

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Wrangellian

I've had these for close to 20 years now and have shown some of them before but figured it was time to do a proper job of looking for info. (If I did before, I can't find the topic)

I know nothing about these, either ID or location. They were part of a batch of fossils I received from an old rockhound couple in Nanaimo, which wasn't too carefully curated (a common problem with rockhounds/casual fossil collectors). Looking for info on the mystery items from that lot is what brought me to the Forum in the first place more than 10 years ago.

I know Riley's Canyon, Utah has red corals, but lately I'm seeing them from other places like Arizona also, so I'm not at all confident. It's a reasonable assumption that they're from somewhere in the US Southwest as it was (and is) common for rockhounds in our area to travel down there in the Winter for better weather and abundant rockhounding options, but that doesn't narrow it down much.

Any ideas?

Not all of them are preserved in red color, as you'll see below, so I'm not sure they're from the same place, but they were kind of bundled together when I received them.

For reference, I'll number each pic.

 

1: The lot

RedCorals1.thumb.jpg.6763f54e01fd7f79379a10938e708db5.jpg

 

2:

RedCorals2.thumb.jpg.45bd6f7679c70cfdd08f9858852c29f6.jpg

 

3:

RedCorals3.thumb.jpg.9ebb1171127394b3b8ceadcd92482c52.jpg

 

4. Sliced end:

RedCorals4.thumb.jpg.2a4b93cc5a3d1d56f0fce171c6614718.jpg

 

5. Sliced pair:

RedCorals5.thumb.jpg.b83e05e2829a980e1ea48f86424b28f5.jpg

 

6. Some seem to be water-worn to some degree - these ones more so:

RedCorals6.thumb.jpg.5be8dfad40079e4781c1e6aa809119dc.jpg

 

7. Is this a sponge?

RedCorals10.thumb.jpg.f7cb860c0c60887fd74885e5ba60f306.jpg

 

8. Chaetetid?

RedCorals9.thumb.jpg.78a3ebbcd3fd0bd4976dd0b50ff0760a.jpg

 

9a/b. These are the ones that have little/no red, so I'm not sure if they're from a different location or just a different preservation from the same site:

The larger piece is sliced.

RedCorals7.thumb.jpg.6112cf26f9de6c8831b9f73308ab8a02.jpg

RedCorals7b.thumb.jpg.bb8858922ebc0a65ca5d375f4aa0ddfa.jpg

 

10. This one looks different again, so it could be from a third site....

RedCorals8.thumb.jpg.a881f8667d8e421490ed489dfa352005.jpg

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Wrangellian

I forgot to add these two Chaetitid pieces that came from the same folks, possibly the same site, though the first one only has a patchy orangish tint while the second is a definite pink-red. There is also a larger horn coral that I can't find pics of at the moment.

I know I have shown these ones before (these are the older photos) but I don't think I got a very confident location, and it doesn't hurt to get a second/third/fourth opinion as there might be some different people around now, right?

I don't think I got any suggestions on a location for the first chaetitid, but the second (red) one was suggested to be from the Round Mountain Limestone (Lower Penn.) south of Dinosaur Nat. Monument, Colorado, if not Riley's Canyon UT.  I also came across a photo of a similar one online, but didn't appear to be quite as red, from the Bird Springs Fm of Southern Nevada. Any of that sound good? How many different places/formations produce these kinds of red reef items in America?

 

Chaetetes1a.jpg

Chaetetes1b.jpg

Chaetetes1b-det.jpg

Chaetetes1-det2.jpg

Chaetetes2a.jpg

Chaetetes2b.jpg

Chaetetes2b-det.jpg

Chaetetes2c.jpg

Chaetetes2c-det.jpg

Chaetetes2d.jpg

Edited by Wrangellian
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Wrangellian

Couldn't find old pics of the largest coral so here are some new ones (indoor shots for now).

It is apparently water-worn too, and a slice has been taken off. I should get it polished.

Note the matrix is mostly light grey, with a distinct beige patch.. not sure what that is.

 

 

RedCorals11a.jpg

RedCorals11b.jpg

RedCorals11c.jpg

RedCorals11d.jpg

Edited by Wrangellian
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fossilcrazee

Would you say most of the material is gemstone quality? It looks like it in the photos.  Is it possible the collectors were simply collecting what they could find, wherever they could find it, and putting it together for cutting, polishing, slabbing, cabs, etc?  That is, were they collected as fossils or raw material?  Good luck with the investigation!

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DPS Ammonite
13 hours ago, Wrangellian said:

I forgot to add these two Chaetitid pieces that came from the same folks, possibly the same site, though the first one only has a patchy orangish tint while the second is a definite pink-red. There is also a larger horn coral that I can't find pics of at the moment.

I know I have shown these ones before (these are the older photos) but I don't think I got a very confident location, and it doesn't hurt to get a second/third/fourth opinion as there might be some different people around now, right?

I don't think I got any suggestions on a location for the first chaetitid, but the second (red) one was suggested to be from the Round Mountain Limestone (Lower Penn.) south of Dinosaur Nat. Monument, Colorado, if not Riley's Canyon UT.  I also came across a photo of a similar one online, but didn't appear to be quite as red, from the Bird Springs Fm of Southern Nevada. Any of that sound good? How many different places/formations produce these kinds of red reef items in America?

 

Chaetetes1a.jpg

Chaetetes1b.jpg

Chaetetes1b-det.jpg

Chaetetes1-det2.jpg

Chaetetes2a.jpg

Chaetetes2b.jpg

Chaetetes2b-det.jpg

Chaetetes2c.jpg

Chaetetes2c-det.jpg

Chaetetes2d.jpg

I cannot vouch for the exact locations for your fossils, but red silicified carbonate fossils are common in the Naco in Arizona. I have seen red Chaetetes too. 

Edited by DPS Ammonite
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i went looking for red horn coral at a site outside of salt lake city, but did not find any.  Wish I had, yours look nice.

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Wrangellian
14 hours ago, fossilcrazee said:

Would you say most of the material is gemstone quality? It looks like it in the photos.  Is it possible the collectors were simply collecting what they could find, wherever they could find it, and putting it together for cutting, polishing, slabbing, cabs, etc?  That is, were they collected as fossils or raw material?  Good luck with the investigation!

Lapidary people would be better qualified to say whether they are gemstone quality, but it seems like they could have been collected as lapidary material. The people I received them from collected both fossils and rocks, though I'm not sure how much lapidary they were into. (Like a lot of us the could have dabbled, at least). They had a nice fossil collection and a nice mineral collection in display cases in their house.

I wish I had the top that was cut off of that big coral.. I wonder whatever happened to it. It may be a cabochon by now.

7 hours ago, DPS Ammonite said:

I cannot vouch for the exact locations for your fossils, but red silicified carbonate fossils are common in the Naco in Arizona. I have seen red Chaetetes too. 

Thanks, I'll include that as a likely possibility.

4 hours ago, val horn said:

i went looking for red horn coral at a site outside of salt lake city, but did not find any.  Wish I had, yours look nice.

That must be the Rileys Canyon site? I don't know much about it, but it may have been depleted by collectors, and these could have been collected before the depletion.

 

I wonder if any of the coral experts would be able to narrow down any IDs/ages for me, and I could use that to narrow down the possible sites of origin?  @TqB ? Anyone else I shouldn't forget about?

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LabRatKing
On 5/2/2021 at 11:39 PM, Wrangellian said:

I've had these for close to 20 years now and have shown some of them before but figured it was time to do a proper job of looking for info. (If I did before, I can't find the topic)

I know nothing about these, either ID or location. They were part of a batch of fossils I received from an old rockhound couple in Nanaimo, which wasn't too carefully curated (a common problem with rockhounds/casual fossil collectors). Looking for info on the mystery items from that lot is what brought me to the Forum in the first place more than 10 years ago.

I know Riley's Canyon, Utah has red corals, but lately I'm seeing them from other places like Arizona also, so I'm not at all confident. It's a reasonable assumption that they're from somewhere in the US Southwest as it was (and is) common for rockhounds in our area to travel down there in the Winter for better weather and abundant rockhounding options, but that doesn't narrow it down much.

Any ideas?

Not all of them are preserved in red color, as you'll see below, so I'm not sure they're from the same place, but they were kind of bundled together when I received them.

For reference, I'll number each pic.

 

1: The lot

RedCorals1.thumb.jpg.6763f54e01fd7f79379a10938e708db5.jpg

 

2:

RedCorals2.thumb.jpg.45bd6f7679c70cfdd08f9858852c29f6.jpg

 

3:

RedCorals3.thumb.jpg.9ebb1171127394b3b8ceadcd92482c52.jpg

 

4. Sliced end:

RedCorals4.thumb.jpg.2a4b93cc5a3d1d56f0fce171c6614718.jpg

 

5. Sliced pair:

RedCorals5.thumb.jpg.b83e05e2829a980e1ea48f86424b28f5.jpg

 

6. Some seem to be water-worn to some degree - these ones more so:

RedCorals6.thumb.jpg.5be8dfad40079e4781c1e6aa809119dc.jpg

 

7. Is this a sponge?

RedCorals10.thumb.jpg.f7cb860c0c60887fd74885e5ba60f306.jpg

 

8. Chaetetid?

RedCorals9.thumb.jpg.78a3ebbcd3fd0bd4976dd0b50ff0760a.jpg

 

9a/b. These are the ones that have little/no red, so I'm not sure if they're from a different location or just a different preservation from the same site:

The larger piece is sliced.

RedCorals7.thumb.jpg.6112cf26f9de6c8831b9f73308ab8a02.jpg

RedCorals7b.thumb.jpg.bb8858922ebc0a65ca5d375f4aa0ddfa.jpg

 

10. This one looks different again, so it could be from a third site....

RedCorals8.thumb.jpg.a881f8667d8e421490ed489dfa352005.jpg

The red horn corals are most likely from a well known site in north eastern Utah. Sadly due the the damage caused by the internet, it is no longer open to the public. I had planned to go there in July, but realized I didn’t want to hassle the beleaguered property owners.

I’m being vague about the site exact location as I don’t want to add to the issues those folks are having due to two websites in particular.

 

These specimens have gemstone type value, hence the issues at the site with poaching, vandalism, and folks with 4WD vehicles.

 

These can still be found legally away from the main site, however a few decades of poaching turned the area into a dangerous maze of pitfalls.

 

I will say this, it is a serious hike through fairly hardcore terrain which further increased the value to poaching.

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Wrangellian

OK thanks, LRK.

I've now got 3 possible locations of origin:

-The Kamas Utah site (if I can say that much, doesn't narrow it down too much?),

-The Riley's Canyon site, not far from the above, both Morgan Fm, Pennsylvanian,

-Naco Fm of Arizona.

If anyone has any more opinions regarding which of these is most likely or of another site not yet considered, please let me know.

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Tetradium
On 5/3/2021 at 9:13 PM, Wrangellian said:

Lapidary people would be better qualified to say whether they are gemstone quality, but it seems like they could have been collected as lapidary material. The people I received them from collected both fossils and rocks, though I'm not sure how much lapidary they were into. (Like a lot of us the could have dabbled, at least). They had a nice fossil collection and a nice mineral collection in display cases in their house.

I wish I had the top that was cut off of that big coral.. I wonder whatever happened to it. It may be a cabochon by now.

Thanks, I'll include that as a likely possibility.

That must be the Rileys Canyon site? I don't know much about it, but it may have been depleted by collectors, and these could have been collected before the depletion.

 

I wonder if any of the coral experts would be able to narrow down any IDs/ages for me, and I could use that to narrow down the possible sites of origin?  @TqB ? Anyone else I shouldn't forget about?

It look very similiar to my ordovician horn corals but I suspects Devonian is more like it since chain corals are more common from that epoch. Devonian is where more bigger colonial corals arises. 

And that last fossil is also colonial coral common from Ordovician to Devonian. 

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Wrangellian
13 hours ago, Tetradium said:

...

And that last fossil is also colonial coral common from Ordovician to Devonian. 

Which last one? I don't think any of these are colonial corals... the last photo of the bunch is an end view of the big horn coral immediately above it, if that's the one you mean...

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52 minutes ago, Wrangellian said:

Which last one? I don't think any of these are colonial corals... the last photo of the bunch is an end view of the big horn coral immediately above it, if that's the one you mean...

One of the chucks is favosite. Its the one with tons of tiny tubes next to each other. Horn coral are solitary corals, remember so they never develops structures like that. 

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Wrangellian
Just now, Tetradium said:

One of the chucks is favosite. Its the one with tons of tiny tubes next to each other. Horn coral are solitary corals, remember so they never develops structures like that. 

Right but I thought that one was a chaetitid sponge... is it actually a favositid?

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Just now, Wrangellian said:

Right but I thought that one was a chaetitid sponge... is it actually a favositid?

Sponges are never like that.  Favosites is an extinct genus of tabulate coral characterized by polygonal closely packed corallites. Favosites along with my namestake Tetradium meaning 4 sided coral were kings of corals before modern hexagonal corals took over after Devonian mass extinction.  

3 minutes ago, Wrangellian said:

Right but I thought that one was a chaetitid sponge... is it actually a favositid?

 Sponge Skeleton consists of separate spicules or interlacing sponging fibers or both. Spicules are like jacks - all spikey not tubes. Sponging fibers don't preserve well as fossils. 

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DPS Ammonite

Are you able to get a closer shot of the suspected sponge? Can you take a photo thru a hand lens?

 

The overall shape, large pits and villi-like projections on the surface suggest a sponge. At least that’s what my poriferapareidolia is telling me. Compare to a Stioderma sponge:

 

 

 

 

The Naco is Pennsylvanian as probably is the coral bearing formations in Utah.

 

DFF146BB-64AE-45E8-9B8F-4C526F5FD26A.jpeg

3704DD8F-445D-445A-A9F5-0B2F052ADE0A.jpeg

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8 hours ago, DPS Ammonite said:

Are you able to get a closer shot of the suspected sponge? Can you take a photo thru a hand lens?

 

The overall shape, large pits and villi-like projections on the surface suggest a sponge. At least that’s what my poriferapareidolia is telling me. Compare to a Stioderma sponge:

 

 

 

 

The Naco is Pennsylvanian as probably is the coral bearing formations in Utah.

 

DFF146BB-64AE-45E8-9B8F-4C526F5FD26A.jpeg

3704DD8F-445D-445A-A9F5-0B2F052ADE0A.jpeg

Your pictures are very different. I don't know if your computer program is different but with me I can clearly see tubes lined up right next to each other with his fossil instead of the disorganized mess in your two pictures. 

Chaetetes1-det2.jpg.0bc76460e4b15e7dc44b2e56e7b3a44a.jpg

8 hours ago, DPS Ammonite said:

Are you able to get a closer shot of the suspected sponge? Can you take a photo thru a hand lens?

 

The overall shape, large pits and villi-like projections on the surface suggest a sponge. At least that’s what my poriferapareidolia is telling me. Compare to a Stioderma sponge:

 

 

 

 

The Naco is Pennsylvanian as probably is the coral bearing formations in Utah.

 

DFF146BB-64AE-45E8-9B8F-4C526F5FD26A.jpeg

3704DD8F-445D-445A-A9F5-0B2F052ADE0A.jpeg

After all Favosite is also called honeycomb coral for a reason. 

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Wrangellian
13 hours ago, Tetradium said:

Your pictures are very different. I don't know if your computer program is different but with me I can clearly see tubes lined up right next to each other with his fossil instead of the disorganized mess in your two pictures. 

 

After all Favosite is also called honeycomb coral for a reason. 

DPS is talking about a different specimen. You may be right that this piece is a favositid... I was not sure as the corralites(?) are very similar in size and growth habit to the other one, but it's not red like the other one, so it may have come from a different site. I'll try to get some better pics of all three... stay tuned.

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Wrangellian

I don't know if these pics are any better than the previous ones, but I took some of them thru a macro lens. Still not optimal I guess.

 

I'm tentatively referring to the big red one as 'possible Chaetitid' and the other as a 'possible Favositid', though I'm noting similarities between them, including hints of red color on the 'favositid', so I lean toward them being the same thing (whichever that is) and from the same place.

 

This one was suggested to be a chaetitid when I first posted it years ago, but of course I'm not confident of that:

I didn't bother with the scale cube this time (good lighting time was short as the sun was setting), but the overall chunk is about 13cm long and the 'corallites' are small, I would say about 1/2mm on average.

possChaetitid1.thumb.jpg.8ebb6523fef9085dda7385678a0c95bb.jpgpossChaetitid2.thumb.jpg.ffdb2f4eecdb58b1d215f78a39450c95.jpgpossChaetitid3.thumb.jpg.7ac301045302715b5daed7bb695ad667.jpgpossChaetitid4.thumb.jpg.7b53507119a281d74329f55444c75eb4.jpgpossChaetitid5.thumb.jpg.271bb180a07669678754d6b5d99f292e.jpg

 

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Here is the 'possible favositid'...

Overall length ~12.5cm.  'Corallites' about the same as the one above - about 1/2mm in width.

 

possFavositid1.thumb.jpg.95b10fab7b5a452ed268c9f4948d7568.jpgpossFavositid2.thumb.jpg.c669a7853737dac3ce12ae84461644c3.jpgpossFavositid3.thumb.jpg.8aa5f445a92e3ee77254fac344b43387.jpgpossFavositid4.thumb.jpg.202f7dd9480b586cf246769c9e67f021.jpgpossFavositid5.thumb.jpg.d2e019c66e8cd56a5842a99cb3fd2179.jpg

 

Edited by Wrangellian
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Wrangellian

 

Here is the possible sponge. I can try for even closer photos tomorrow if needed.

Overall diameter about 4cm, and the 'pits' in the surface are no more than 2mm diam.

 

possSponge1.thumb.jpg.a9395406f5b8a77623f8daabe1c96baf.jpgpossSponge2.thumb.jpg.6f8091867cd3250da65307efebd900f4.jpgpossSponge3.thumb.jpg.6913fbe6517afd24e3e64ceeb564a56c.jpgpossSponge4.thumb.jpg.b0275d6ca23de2889ea7e9b82b98a412.jpg

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Have you tried a digital microscope? The cheapest ones are 29.99 online. Here a picture of a close-up of bryozoan from Ordovician Minnesota (just as a example - I hadn't does close-up of sponges). 

20210505_1004_005_0.000.jpg

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Otherwise its a fossil for sure! I had seen those kind of fossils being labelled as sponge - like, sponges, or other stuff. A lot of invertebrate fossils from Cambrian to Devonian is often of low priority to the professionals. They hadn't even bothered with naming graptolites or bryozoans from platteville formation from Minnesota yet.  

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On 5/11/2021 at 3:11 AM, Wrangellian said:

 

Here is the possible sponge. I can try for even closer photos tomorrow if needed.

Overall diameter about 4cm, and the 'pits' in the surface are no more than 2mm diam.

 

possSponge1.thumb.jpg.a9395406f5b8a77623f8daabe1c96baf.jpgpossSponge2.thumb.jpg.6f8091867cd3250da65307efebd900f4.jpgpossSponge3.thumb.jpg.6913fbe6517afd24e3e64ceeb564a56c.jpgpossSponge4.thumb.jpg.b0275d6ca23de2889ea7e9b82b98a412.jpg

Beside I am sorry. I somehow missed the sponge part of the collection of photos. All I saw before this collection of photos was favosites and horn corals. 

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Fossildude19
On 5/3/2021 at 12:39 AM, Wrangellian said:

(If I did before, I can't find the topic)

 

 

 

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FossilDAWG
On 5/9/2021 at 7:36 AM, Tetradium said:

It look very similiar to my ordovician horn corals but I suspects Devonian is more like it since chain corals are more common from that epoch. Devonian is where more bigger colonial corals arises. 

And that last fossil is also colonial coral common from Ordovician to Devonian. 

1. There are no "chain corals" in the photos.  I have no idea what you are talking about.

2. "Chain corals" appeared in the Upper Ordovician and were common throughout the Silurian.  I have never seen or read about any "chain corals" in the Devonian.

3. The internal structures seen in the polished cross sections are quite different from any Ordovician solitary corals.

 

Don

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3 hours ago, FossilDAWG said:

1. There are no "chain corals" in the photos.  I have no idea what you are talking about.

2. "Chain corals" appeared in the Upper Ordovician and were common throughout the Silurian.  I have never seen or read about any "chain corals" in the Devonian.

3. The internal structures seen in the polished cross sections are quite different from any Ordovician solitary corals.

 

Don

Sorry about that. I changed my mind midway through and its favosites coral now. At first one of the picture appear to be "chain corals" but I was wrong. 

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