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heather81

Dallas Area Fossil Hunting?

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heather81

Hey guys . . . this is my first post.

I'm looking for any good fossil hunting sites near Dallas Texas, any ideas? Also, driving to Lubbock for my brothers college graduation in a month, so if you know any sites out that way, I'd love to know too.

What kind of stuff can you find around that area--- I know TX used to be all under water, so any time they break new ground for houses it smells like decaying fish. I've found some clam like fossils attached to rocks but that's pretty much it. Wondering if you know good spots to find anything more exciting.

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jojo

Heres a new site not to far from dallas. I hear its good. Trilobytes and such.http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=111955749008

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heather81

Thanks so much for the heads up! not even open yet! you're all over that!

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LanceH

Any new construction in Dallas prolly gets pounced on so quickly and those who DO know of a regular producing spot guard it like the Tomb of Tutankhamen. dry.gif

Dallas County is the Land of Ptychodus where only the most worthy shall enter.

Having said that any exposure of the Eagle Ford formation is worth scopeing out.

And of course don't bother with Tarrant County as it's complete devoid of fossils. tongue.gif

Edited by LanceHall

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tracer

heather81 - hi and welcome to the forum.

i don't know what to tell you, because i'm from down by the gulf, and everytime i go up to north texas, i'm greeted at the southern border fence of dallas and tarrant counties by several burly forum members holding pilstrom tongs and wearing "blues brothers" sunglasses, even if my arrival is at night. i have tunneled into the area on several occasions, but have found footprints and rock-hammer marks everywhere i went, with occasional little pieces of fossils with "meh" scribbled on them in sharpie.

i've heard a rumor that if you join the paleo club up there and do some sort of "tap in" ceremony swearing allegiance to dallasaurus, they'll show you where some oyster shells are, but i haven't independently confirmed that.

anyway, there is some pretty good information on this forum, if you'll wade through it, regarding site-finding in general, and even some specifics about north texas. there are huge amounts of material up there, from a broad range of the paleo past and different fauna. roadcuts, creeks, construction sites and other places where the ground has been cut down through or otherwise exposed seem to be the preferred haunts of those looking for preserved critters from the past. i've had fair luck in the past just making stops at a lot of roadcuts as i was going from one place to another.

good luck and welcome.

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Tony Eaton

I could rattle off a few sites I've hunted that are okay but not worth driving far. What part of the metroplex are you situated in? What sort of fossils are you most interested in?

If you don't have a lot of reference material already, hard to beat the following book.

A Field Guide to Fossils of Texas

http://www.amazon.com/Field-Guide-Fossils-Texas-Publishing/dp/0891230440

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heather81

I actually live in Los Angeles these days, but My whole family lives in Plano, north of Dallas, so I go there twice a year for several weeks. I'm always scoping out creek beds etc. but wish I had a more solid place to search. As far as what I'm interested in, I'm always excited to find anything, but it'd be cool to find something for once that wasn't just essentially a fossilized seashell.

Feel free to fill me in on good SoCal places too. Maybe I'll just go to the Tar Pits and start digging on the Museum lawn . ... haha

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Tony Eaton

There is the North Sulpher River, just mapquest Ladonia, TX. Its about a 2 hour drive.

There is Post Oak Creek for shark teeth (Sherman, TX), another 2 hour drive.

There is the Arlington Archosaur site if you want to be part of a bigger dig, about an hour or less drive. http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=45954014938

The sites I know of that are closer to Plano may not be around a few months from now. Generically speaking, Plano sits on chalk that is not that generous for fossils. Heading west might be your best bet to find better stuff in the Eagle Ford shale, i.e. west of the tollway. Most of the blue shale / tan clay will hold fossils.

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heather81

Haha, though I do remember my little brother around the age of 5 walking in from playing in the undeveloped lot next to our house, and toting a giant rock with about 10 fist sized perfect rust colored brachiopods on it, haha. just picked it up right off the ground!

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MFowler

There is the North Sulpher River, just mapquest Ladonia, TX. Its about a 2 hour drive.

There is Post Oak Creek for shark teeth (Sherman, TX), another 2 hour drive.

There is the Arlington Archosaur site if you want to be part of a bigger dig, about an hour or less drive. http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=45954014938

The sites I know of that are closer to Plano may not be around a few months from now. Generically speaking, Plano sits on chalk that is not that generous for fossils. Heading west might be your best bet to find better stuff in the Eagle Ford shale, i.e. west of the tollway. Most of the blue shale / tan clay will hold fossils.

Tony,

I'm a rookie who lives in Plano and having trouble figuring out where a good place (specifically) to go and hunt in the Eagle Ford. I hear a lot about it, but never seem to find any specifics as to where to go. Your "west of the tollway" comment is about as specific as I've seen. Been to the NSR twice and that's the extent of my experience so far and I'm looking for other spots around here to hunt. I know of Post Oak Creek and the Mineral Wells park. I've heard the Eagle Ford is great, but if I got in my car right now I'd have no clue 'where' to go. I really appreciate ANY advice you have about the Eagle Ford, or any other local sites.

Thanks,

Mark

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sward

Mark,

Most hunters guard their fossil hunting spots as if they're death-row inmates at Huntsville...very closely. Some will tell you general areas to hunt such as Tony mentioned in his post ("...i.e. west of the tollway...").

However, if you've put in several hours of research about formations that you're interested in and their locations in the region, maybe a few more hours on Google Earth exploring satellite images of those areas, a few more hours and lots of $$$ for gas exploring potential locations and get lucky enough to find a good location that isn't already trampled with footprints of previous hunters, you're going to be rather protective of the investment (time and money) that you've made to discover the spot.

Part of the excitement and enjoyment of this hobby/passion/recreational activity is the research and effort that goes into finding such spots. Once you've done your research and road trips, then more research and more road trips, and you finally find a spot that produces nice fossils and isn't covered with footprints of previous hunters, you'll experience a tremendous high and a great sense of satisfaction that can't be beat.

Based on my experience in the DFW area, most of the areas within the Metroplex itself are faily picked over. I assume because of the high concentration of people in the area. Most of the known fossil producing sites within the Metroplex are common knowledge and get trampled very quickly after a good rain. For example, I haven't been there in a couple of years, but there used to be a big area on the north side of I-820, north of Ft. Worth, just east of Lake Worth. They had started a large construction project before the economy tanked, and when that happened, the construction site sat empty for a long time. The last time I was there, they had added a few businesses, but most of the area was still wide open. I don't remember which formation it was, but I was able to pick up some beautiful pieces of ammonites, but only pieces. The ground was covered with footprints because it is a commonly known area in a densely populated area.

I prefer to stay away from the Metroplex itself and hunt on the fringes, in less populated areas. These spots may require a bit more effort to get to, but because of this, they're not going to be as well known or as heavily hunted.

For some of your research tools, you have already found an excellent tool right here in the forum. But, as you have seen, most hunters aren't going to just give you directions to excellent hunting spots. Another tool that I find useful is Google Earth. Once you've determined an area that you want to research a little closer, check out Google Earth to see if you can find any creeks running through the area, road-cuts, etc. Here's a sample image showing a creek bed:

post-6450-0-37627000-1364746015_thumb.jpg

This website also offers geo maps for each state. http://tin.er.usgs.gov/geology/state/. You can download the .kml files into Google Earth, and the overlay shows the differet formations, such as the Eagle Ford formation.

Once you've found some possible locations, it's time to go check 'em out. This is going to be a hit-or-miss propostion. Some of the spots you check will not pan out for you. It may have been already searched, no fossils are evident, etc.

Another tool is just taking the time to stop and check out road-cuts that you may pass every day on your way to work, or just driving around while doing errands.

Most of the spots you end up checking out may not deliver the rewards you're looking for. However, after you've done lots of research, driving around following-up on that research and you finally find a spot that produces nice fossils for you, and is not trampled from previous hunters, it's a rewarding feeling that can't be beat.

Keep exploring and there's no telling what you may come across. Keep us posted on how you're progressing. As you've already seen, there's a bunch of knowlegable, friendly people on this site whose goal is to help you succeed. They're just not going to give you the information that you're looking for freely.

Edited by sward

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vertman

Steven, Very nice, well-thought out and well-articulated message. Nicely done!

Mark, Good luck as you work on tackling the Eagle Ford Group. It is difficult but can be very rewarding. Remember the "Eagle Ford" is loosely used by a lot of people to describe several different formations including the Arcadia Park, Kamp Ranch, and Britton formations. Each of these formations have zones that are very rich in megafossil content and other zones that are completely devoid of any fossils at all.

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Uncle Siphuncle

yes and the various members of the eagle ford look lithologically different within the dfw area, and each can vary a bit in appearance laterally as you get outside dfw. we even have isolated little exposures of it down here in san antonio with a few vert finds... spotty proposition though.

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sward

Here's a location that I had posted about in the past. I don't know if it's still available since it was road construction at the time. They may have the construction complete by now. I haven't been over there in a whiile.

http://www.thefossilforum.com/index.php?/topic/30872-construction-site-west-side-of-ft-worth-tx/

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Fruitbat

Wow! This original topic is so old that ITis nearly worth collecting! Interesting that it would spring back up now.

The Dallas area is RICHLY fossiliferous, at least as far as Cretaceous and Pleistocene fossils are concerned. There is a massive unconformity between those two time periods...with everything from the Paleocene to the Pliocene completely absent. The Cretaceous layers are so thick that anything older is buried far out of reach in thise area.

That being said, almost anyplace where the bedrock is exposed (creek banks, road cuts, construction sites, etc.) will likely produce SOME sort of fossils! The thick Austin Chalk (white limestone that is all over the place) is generally the LEAST productive in my experienc

Edited by Fruitbat

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Boneman007

Do not write off the Austin Chalk. It is like some of the Niobrara formation more North and West in Kassas. Fewer fossils, but much better preservation.

The 12 year old son of a friend of mine pulled a complete fish as well as a complete protosphyraena skull out of an Austin Chalk creek in the middle of western Plano.

You have to have a "If I find one good fossil today, it's a good day" attitude in most of the Austin Chalk, however.

That said, there are parts of the Austin Chalk that produce very nice ammonites as well.

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BobWill

And I believe Post Oak Creek is Austin Chalk to the south and Eagle Ford to the north.

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MFowler

Mark,

Most hunters guard their fossil hunting spots as if they're death-row inmates at Huntsville...very closely. Some will tell you general areas to hunt such as Tony mentioned in his post ("...i.e. west of the tollway...").

However, if you've put in several hours of research about formations that you're interested in and their locations in the region, maybe a few more hours on Google Earth exploring satellite images of those areas, a few more hours and lots of $$$ for gas exploring potential locations and get lucky enough to find a good location that isn't already trampled with footprints of previous hunters, you're going to be rather protective of the investment (time and money) that you've made to discover the spot.

Part of the excitement and enjoyment of this hobby/passion/recreational activity is the research and effort that goes into finding such spots. Once you've done your research and road trips, then more research and more road trips, and you finally find a spot that produces nice fossils and isn't covered with footprints of previous hunters, you'll experience a tremendous high and a great sense of satisfaction that can't be beat.

Based on my experience in the DFW area, most of the areas within the Metroplex itself are faily picked over. I assume because of the high concentration of people in the area. Most of the known fossil producing sites within the Metroplex are common knowledge and get trampled very quickly after a good rain. For example, I haven't been there in a couple of years, but there used to be a big area on the north side of I-820, north of Ft. Worth, just west of Lake Worth. They had started a large construction project before the economy tanked, and when that happened, the construction site sat empty for a long time. The last time I was there, they had added a few businesses, but most of the area was still wide open. I don't remember which formation it was, but I was able to pick up some beautiful pieces of ammonites, but only pieces. The ground was covered with footprints because it is a commonly known area in a densely populated area.

I prefer to stay away from the Metroplex itself and hunt on the fringes, in less populated areas. These spots may require a bit more effort to get to, but because of this, they're not going to be as well known or as heavily hunted.

For some of your research tools, you have already found an excellent tool right here in the forum. But, as you have seen, most hunters aren't going to just give you directions to excellent hunting spots. Another tool that I find useful is Google Earth. Once you've determined an area that you want to research a little closer, check out Google Earth to see if you can find any creeks running through the area, road-cuts, etc. Here's a sample image showing a creek bed:

attachicon.gifGoogle Earth.jpg

This website also offers geo maps for each state. http://tin.er.usgs.gov/geology/state/. You can download the .kml files into Google Earth, and the overlay shows the differet formations, such as the Eagle Ford formation.

Once you've found some possible locations, it's time to go check 'em out. This is going to be a hit-or-miss propostion. Some of the spots you check will not pan out for you. It may have been already searched, no fossils are evident, etc.

Another tool is just taking the time to stop and check out road-cuts that you may pass every day on your way to work, or just driving around while doing errands.

Most of the spots you end up checking out may not deliver the rewards you're looking for. However, after you've done lots of research, driving around following-up on that research and you finally find a spot that produces nice fossils for you, and is not trampled from previous hunters, it's a rewarding feeling that can't be beat.

Keep exploring and there's no telling what you may come across. Keep us posted on how you're progressing. As you've already seen, there's a bunch of knowlegable, friendly people on this site whose goal is to help you succeed. They're just not going to give you the information that you're looking for freely.

sward,

Thanks for the advice I really appreciate it. I never thought anyone on here would tell me (or anyone else) about a secret 'honey hole' they knew of...if they did, it wouldn't be a honey hole very much longer. I just figured that there's a lot of spots, besides the NSR and Post Oak Creek, that are common hunting grounds that I just don't know about that people may be willing to share. If (when) I find my own sweet spot that nobody else seems to know about there's no way I would share it on here. However, I would be more than happy to tell a rookie about the NSR and POC and even give them some specific tips of where to go and what to look for. Which is exactly what I have received on this forum from all of you nice people. I actually was able to help (I hope anyway) a new member who just moved to N Texas recently and wanted to know about spots in the area. Someone recommended NSR and I shared all that I had learned both from being there (once) and being on this forum so he could hopefully hit the ground running. I was amazed at how much you all have taught me already and think I gave him some pretty solid advice.

Anyway, I don't expect anyone on here to give any information or advice that I wouldn't give myself. I'm an Investment Adviser when I'm not digging in the mud looking for fossils and I get asked ALL the time for tips and advice regarding the stock market because people know I know what I'm talking about and follow it closely. I'm happy to talk with them about generalities, but when they ask about a 'hot stock' tip (and they always do) I politely tell them that information is reserved for my clients. I see myself as the person asking the questions and you all as the experts on this forum...I don't expect you to tell me about your special hunting spot (hot stock) but you are all great educating me on the generalities and pointing me in the right direction if I want to learn more. That's more than enough and any new person (like myself) should be very grateful. I haven't had a question posted on here yet that I was disappointed with the answers...so thanks to you and everyone else on this forum :-)

-Mark

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MFowler

Wow! This original topic is so old that ITis nearly worth collecting! Interesting that it would spring back up now.

The Dallas area is RICHLY fossiliferous, at least as far as Cretaceous and Pleistocene fossils are concerned. There is a massive unconformity between those two time periods...with everything from the Paleocene to the Pliocene completely absent. The Cretaceous layers are so thick that anything older is buried far out of reach in thise area.

That being said, almost anyplace where the bedrock is exposed (creek banks, road cuts, construction sites, etc.) will likely produce SOME sort of fossils! The thick Austin Chalk (white limestone that is all over the place) is generally the LEAST productive in my experienc

Do not write off the Austin Chalk. It is like some of the Niobrara formation more North and West in Kassas. Fewer fossils, but much better preservation.

The 12 year old son of a friend of mine pulled a complete fish as well as a complete protosphyraena skull out of an Austin Chalk creek in the middle of western Plano.

You have to have a "If I find one good fossil today, it's a good day" attitude in most of the Austin Chalk, however.

That said, there are parts of the Austin Chalk that produce very nice ammonites as well.

And I believe Post Oak Creek is Austin Chalk to the south and Eagle Ford to the north.

Here's a location that I had posted about in the past. I don't know if it's still available since it was road construction at the time. They may have the construction complete by now. I haven't been over there in a whiile.

http://www.thefossilforum.com/index.php?/topic/30872-construction-site-west-side-of-ft-worth-tx/

Ya'll are GREAT!!! Thanks

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MFowler

Mark,

Most hunters guard their fossil hunting spots as if they're death-row inmates at Huntsville...very closely. Some will tell you general areas to hunt such as Tony mentioned in his post ("...i.e. west of the tollway...").

However, if you've put in several hours of research about formations that you're interested in and their locations in the region, maybe a few more hours on Google Earth exploring satellite images of those areas, a few more hours and lots of $$$ for gas exploring potential locations and get lucky enough to find a good location that isn't already trampled with footprints of previous hunters, you're going to be rather protective of the investment (time and money) that you've made to discover the spot.

Part of the excitement and enjoyment of this hobby/passion/recreational activity is the research and effort that goes into finding such spots. Once you've done your research and road trips, then more research and more road trips, and you finally find a spot that produces nice fossils and isn't covered with footprints of previous hunters, you'll experience a tremendous high and a great sense of satisfaction that can't be beat.

Based on my experience in the DFW area, most of the areas within the Metroplex itself are faily picked over. I assume because of the high concentration of people in the area. Most of the known fossil producing sites within the Metroplex are common knowledge and get trampled very quickly after a good rain. For example, I haven't been there in a couple of years, but there used to be a big area on the north side of I-820, north of Ft. Worth, just east of Lake Worth. They had started a large construction project before the economy tanked, and when that happened, the construction site sat empty for a long time. The last time I was there, they had added a few businesses, but most of the area was still wide open. I don't remember which formation it was, but I was able to pick up some beautiful pieces of ammonites, but only pieces. The ground was covered with footprints because it is a commonly known area in a densely populated area.

I prefer to stay away from the Metroplex itself and hunt on the fringes, in less populated areas. These spots may require a bit more effort to get to, but because of this, they're not going to be as well known or as heavily hunted.

For some of your research tools, you have already found an excellent tool right here in the forum. But, as you have seen, most hunters aren't going to just give you directions to excellent hunting spots. Another tool that I find useful is Google Earth. Once you've determined an area that you want to research a little closer, check out Google Earth to see if you can find any creeks running through the area, road-cuts, etc. Here's a sample image showing a creek bed:

attachicon.gifGoogle Earth.jpg

This website also offers geo maps for each state. http://tin.er.usgs.gov/geology/state/. You can download the .kml files into Google Earth, and the overlay shows the differet formations, such as the Eagle Ford formation.

Once you've found some possible locations, it's time to go check 'em out. This is going to be a hit-or-miss propostion. Some of the spots you check will not pan out for you. It may have been already searched, no fossils are evident, etc.

Another tool is just taking the time to stop and check out road-cuts that you may pass every day on your way to work, or just driving around while doing errands.

Most of the spots you end up checking out may not deliver the rewards you're looking for. However, after you've done lots of research, driving around following-up on that research and you finally find a spot that produces nice fossils for you, and is not trampled from previous hunters, it's a rewarding feeling that can't be beat.

Keep exploring and there's no telling what you may come across. Keep us posted on how you're progressing. As you've already seen, there's a bunch of knowlegable, friendly people on this site whose goal is to help you succeed. They're just not going to give you the information that you're looking for freely.

sward, I'm trying to open the .kml file and wanted to know if you knew of a program to do it that won't screw up my computer? I downloaded it and Microsoft said it couldn't open file and sent me to a web search. There's all kinds of "open .kml file now for free" results and I've been burned by those before with hidden viruses. Any suggestions?

Thanks,

Mark

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MFowler

sward, I'm trying to open the .kml file and wanted to know if you knew of a program to do it that won't screw up my computer? I downloaded it and Microsoft said it couldn't open file and sent me to a web search. There's all kinds of "open .kml file now for free" results and I've been burned by those before with hidden viruses. Any suggestions?

Thanks,

Mark

Nevermind...just realized I didn't have Google Earth downloaded. Thought I did...sorry.

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