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Back Handed San Saba County, Texas Fossiling


Uncle Siphuncle

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Uncle Siphuncle

I took my wife out for a quiet weekend in San Saba, TX and vicinity to escape from work and busy city life.  It was fun to visit the river, suspension bridges, and bump into a couple old Indian campsites denoted by snails, freshwater bivalves, and burned rock on the surface.  But the first thing to really catch my eye there was the small fossil display in the historical museum at Mill Pond Park...one fossil in particular.

 

This huge orthocone nautiloid was the highlight of the visit for me.  It is said to be from western San Saba County, which has Ordovician through Pennsylvanian strata.  There was no provenance, so I won’t get too far keying this one out.  I’ll have to just appreciate it at face value for aesthetic appeal, and for it being the biggest orthocone I’ve ever seen from Texas.

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Uncle Siphuncle

This wasn’t a fossiling trip per se, as I’ve been indulging in that fruitfully quite often in my new life as an empty nester.  But my wife was interested in a quick stop at a road cut that could expose Ordovician, Devonian and Mississippian strata.  
 

The site wasn’t very productive, but I did bump into one thin, platy limestone horizon with shell hash.  I only picked up one fossil to clean up and study back home, a squashed, coiled ammonoid or nautiloid.  While not a place I’m likely to revisit, I’ll log the site as it exposes an interval I’ve never investigated or encountered in Texas.

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Further west, around El Paso, the Upper Ordovician Montoya Formation contains the "Arctic Ordovician Fauna", characterized by diverse and often gigantic nautiloids and corals.  It's called the Arctic Ordovician Fauna because it was first recognized from Baffin Island and other sites in the high arctic, but it characterizes the Chasm Creek Formation in the Hudson/James Bay area, the Red River Formation in southern Manitoba and North Dakota, the Bighorn Mountains in Wyoming, and the Montoya in southwestern New Mexico and westernmost Texas.  Basically these formations line up with the equator in Upper Ordovician time, and the Arctic Ordovician fauna is actually (despite the name) a tropical fauna that lived in a relatively shallow warm sea with lots of carbonate (limestone) deposition and far enough from land that there is no clastics (sediment).  I don't know the Ordovician formations in San Sabal County, but perhaps there is an element of the Arctic Ordovician fauna there, or at least some occasional movement of giant nautiloids coming from the north (which today is west).

 

Proper identification of the nautiloid would require sectioning at least part of it to show a section through the siphuncle.

 

Don

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On 9/6/2021 at 2:56 PM, Uncle Siphuncle said:

 But my wife was interested in a quick stop at a road cut that could expose Ordovician, Devonian and Mississippian strata.  

EVEN in my BEST dreams....MY wife would NEVER have such a thought!!!:heartylaugh:

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Uncle Siphuncle
2 hours ago, Castle Rock said:

EVEN in my BEST dreams....MY wife would NEVER have such a thought!!!:heartylaugh:

Yes benefits such as this lured me out of my bachelor cave.

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Uncle Siphuncle
3 hours ago, FossilDAWG said:

Further west, around El Paso, the Upper Ordovician Montoya Formation contains the "Arctic Ordovician Fauna", characterized by diverse and often gigantic nautiloids and corals.  It's called the Arctic Ordovician Fauna because it was first recognized from Baffin Island and other sites in the high arctic, but it characterizes the Chasm Creek Formation in the Hudson/James Bay area, the Red River Formation in southern Manitoba and North Dakota, the Bighorn Mountains in Wyoming, and the Montoya in southwestern New Mexico and westernmost Texas.  Basically these formations line up with the equator in Upper Ordovician time, and the Arctic Ordovician fauna is actually (despite the name) a tropical fauna that lived in a relatively shallow warm sea with lots of carbonate (limestone) deposition and far enough from land that there is no clastics (sediment).  I don't know the Ordovician formations in San Sabal County, but perhaps there is an element of the Arctic Ordovician fauna there, or at least some occasional movement of giant nautiloids coming from the north (which today is west).

 

Proper identification of the nautiloid would require sectioning at least part of it to show a section through the siphuncle.

 

Don

I was leaning toward Ord as well.  I’ve only known of honkin’ big orthocones of that age.

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14 hours ago, Castle Rock said:

EVEN in my BEST dreams....MY wife would NEVER have such a thought!!!:heartylaugh:

Neither would mine :DOH:

Maybe it's better that way. 

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3 hours ago, Yoda said:

Neither would mine :DOH:

Maybe it's better that way. 

Better to go alone and be left to your OWN thoughts............

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Uncle Siphuncle
21 hours ago, Castle Rock said:

EVEN in my BEST dreams....MY wife would NEVER have such a thought!!!:heartylaugh:

My formula for matrimonial paleo bliss is simple. 

 

1.  Save the easiest access, most prolific and comfortable hunting sites for my wife, and afford my buddies the opportunity to WORK to find new sites with me, knowing that 3 out of 4 new prospects will be duds.

2.  Make a big deal out my wife's finds.

3.  Make display space for said spousal unit's better finds.

4.  Point out The Colonel's finds first when giving family and friends tours of our displays.

 

Oh, and I almost forgot:

 

5.  Marry someone who seeks solace in nature in the first place.

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Wow! That is an impressively big nautiloid. Must have been awesome to hold it. That little ammonoid you found looks like Lusitanoceras from the Mississippian. 

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