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seek advice re in situ massive boulder splitting


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I found a large carboniferous sandstone boulder in a hard to access reclaimed coal mine area.   The boulder is buried so that only the top is exposed.   Part of the top bedding planes are gone, revealing very nice lycopod rootlets lined up like airliners at a busy terminal.   I suspect the main root is in there too, waiting for careful prep work at home.   The only way to collect it is to split off as large of a slab as I can handle, and pack it out on my back.  Fortunately the specific spot is level and stable and I can lash anything to a pack frame securely.  I'm posting to ask for advice on in-the-field large slab splitting.  I've never tried to retrieve such a large sample, much less on foot.

 

I think I'll have to trench around the boulder to expose the sides and make working room.  Then I either have the choice of hammer and chisel or

packing along a battery powered drill and some splitting wedges.   And one or two strong friends!

 

Can anyone offer advice or help me ask the right questions?

 

Thanks!

 

 

Edited by SteveE
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Fossildude19

Pictures of the situation/area might be helpful, but the trenching then chiseling sounds like a worthwhile plan. 

 

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I have not used this, but I have taken a (virtual) class in it. 

It costs about 7-00 bucks, so probably not really an option, but fun nonetheless.

 

https://www.ezebreak.com/

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FranzBernhard
2 hours ago, SteveE said:

packing along a battery powered drill and some splitting wedges.

No experience with such things, but if I were in your position (which could happen), I would use your route suggested above. It simply gives you the most control.

Franz Bernhard

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On 7/13/2021 at 11:33 AM, Fossildude19 said:

Pictures of the situation/area might be helpful, but the trenching then chiseling sounds like a worthwhile plan. 

 

 

On 7/13/2021 at 11:33 AM, Fossildude19 said:

Pictures of the situation/area might be helpful, but the trenching then chiseling sounds like a worthwhile plan. 

 

I didn't take my gizmo on that scouting trip but if the stars align I will return to the area tomorrow.

 

 

On 7/13/2021 at 12:09 PM, jpc said:

I have not used this, but I have taken a (virtual) class in it. 

It costs about 7-00 bucks, so probably not really an option, but fun nonetheless.

https://www.ezebreak.com/

I suppose its too obvious to say "what a BLAST!"   Oops, too late.   No I don't think I'll be using that approach.

 

 

On 7/13/2021 at 12:47 PM, FranzBernhard said:

No experience with such things, but if I were in your position (which could happen), I would use your route suggested above. It simply gives you the most control.

Franz Bernhard

They actually do a living history demo of this craft at the nearby Allegheny Portage RailRoad Historic Site so maybe I'll be able to get some instructional practice if I get friendly with the volunteer who does the demos.

 

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val horn

I have a battery powered kyobi rotary hammer that i have taken in the field .  One can use the chisel to split rock or if significantly bigger drill holes and use the chisel to connect the dots.

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  • 3 weeks later...
LabRatKing

Wedge and Feather sets of appropriate size, a cordless masonry drill for the wedges, and a sledge.

 

image.jpeg.0dff436986ec6567da31824da25488db.jpeg

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  • 5 weeks later...
Crusty_Crab

I understand this isn't necessarily the question you had asked, but I have a question as well: is it necessary to extract this fossil? 

 

It sounds very heavy and partially buried, so its not going anywhere anytime soon. It sounds like a solid boulder, which is not going to be weathered anytime soon. What will be the value of extracting it for the lycopod rootlets for yourself be compared to the potential joy of someone else coming along and discovering it? What are the risks of leaving it as is and weathering naturally versus the risk of destroying it in the process of attempting to extract it?

 

My point is NOT to dissuade you. I merely suggest that before we extract something, we carefully consider what are the costs and risks of trying to extract it versus the risks of leaving it in place and the benefits of subsequent visitors being able to enjoy it by leaving it where it is.  

Edited by Crusty_Crab
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