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How to care for Miocene fossils in wet clay


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I have collected wet clay or shale with many types of fossils embedded in it. I have found leaves, a fish, a pine cone, wooden bits, ect. Much of the fossils are there and havent turned to rock, so may not be considered an actual fossil. I am hoping some may have ideas on how to preserve these. I got them from Clarkia, ID. There is a youtube video called "Plants are Cool, too! Episode 2: Fossilized Forests!" that talks about the area.

I am missing out on fossils opening it a wet clay because I can't split many thin layers, but splitting it in when dry it seems to crumble. Trying to figure out the best process without having to ruin more to get it figured out, any tips? What is the best way to dry it out, and for how long?

I also dont know what to do with the pine cone, haha. I dont have the rock impression,  I am regretting that I wasnt careful enough to keep it.

 

It is weird that these are dated 15, 000,000 years old but I can pull out the actual biological items out of clay.

 

Also, what do you do with your fossils that are unidentifiable. There are imprints that I dont know if it is from a seed or a bug. I have found actual seeds and such, so I am wondering if these are most likely bug remnants. Is there a good way to know a the difference?

Edited by Des1
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FranzBernhard

Welcome to TFF from Austria!

 

Well, every case is a little bit different. Have you tried looking for stabilization/preservation of specimens from that particular site?

 

More knowledgeable members will comment soon :).

 

Franz Bernhard

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Hi. Thanks for the reply. The dig site is on private property, and the tip they give is to store in newspaper so it doesn't dry out fast. There has been a professor from an university nearby studying the area for the past 20 years, but his information is about the history and lifting the leaves from the rock with a dangerous chemical that cant be purchased.

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I like the idea of drying very slowly. I remember an old friend who would dry pearly ammonites for a year by putting them in newspaper or paper towels and putting them in a plastic bag and making tiny needle holes. It seemed to work well.

 

Coco

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I will definitely try a year of drying with some of them, if not most. 

 

I still have clay rocks to split, I may set aside a few for a year to see how well they split and reveal the fossils at that time.

 

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The plants found at this dig site are mainly found in Asia. These plant fossils need a different climate than what is current to survive. Some of the plant fossils are considered extinct and couldn't be identified. I still have to go through resesearch cites to identify what I have.

 

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FranzBernhard

You are having some lovely leaves and a superb cone there! Thanks for sharing!
Franz Bernhard

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