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Necrocanis

Prospecting Great Falls, Mt

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Necrocanis

I know I live in Montana, but I am not origionally from here. I am wanting to do a lot of prospecting this spring and summer as I think a lot of fossils could have become uncovered. Problem is that I have never really full heartedly went fossil hunting. I have an idea of where I want to look that is very local to me. It is right below Rainbow Dam on the missouri river here in Great Falls, MT. On the western side there's a nice spot that you can hike down into to fish or walk on this trail. You have to go off of the trail a way to make it to the water's edge. There is a very promissing looking rock face with layers upon layers of what appears to be shale, sandstone, and mudstone. I'll go get some pics as it's only 15 mins from my house, but probably not til tomorrow or the day after. I am no Geologist, but I'd love to look for some fish or mammal fossils. The rock is exposed and looks like sandwhiched layers of sandstone to me. You can break some sheets less than a half a cm thick. Does this sound promissing to anyone? I hate to waste my time looking if there's nothing to be found. I went barehanded one day and didn't find anything cept a couple prarie rattlers, and many layers of sandstone. I once found a seashell and that's about it. Any help is greatly appreciated.

My other hobby of articulating the skeletons of modern animals is much easier in terms of finding nice specimens lol.

:mellow:

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Uncle Siphuncle

Hello

Best bet is methodical approach. Get a geo map of your area, follow the steps laid out in our recent thread on site prospecting, divide and conquer. A map and a basic, general book on fossils of your state will let you know what age the rocks are around you and what types of critters are typically preserved in them. A little research will let you eliminate thousands of square miles of rock from your search and concentrate only on formations/zones of interest.

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Necrocanis
Hello

Best bet is methodical approach. Get a geo map of your area, follow the steps laid out in our recent thread on site prospecting, divide and conquer. A map and a basic, general book on fossils of your state will let you know what age the rocks are around you and what types of critters are typically preserved in them. A little research will let you eliminate thousands of square miles of rock from your search and concentrate only on formations/zones of interest.

Sounds like a plan. Are there maps online? I saw the large one in the maps section of this forum, but is there anything that I can get that breaks it down region by region? I'll have to check out the book stores in town to see if there is anything on local fossils. I'm sure I've seen one before. I feel so braindead when it comes to fossils nowdays. It's been forever since I was studying paleontology seriously. I kinda shifted focus to modern animals since they are more abundant and easier to obtain. Modern animals was supposed to be my gateway to fossil mammals, or that was the plan in high school. Nowdays I keep tons of live fish, and have a semi-impressive collection of modern skulls and skeletons that I have cleaned myself. Thanks for the insight. I can travel outward, but looking for something close by and I know Montana is crawling with fossils. lol.

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Maryland Mike

Here's a couple of links to maps online.

http://www.mbmg.mtech.edu/gmr/gmr-statemap.asp

http://pubs.usgs.gov/sim/2004/2829/

http://pubs.usgs.gov/imap/i-2634/downloads/I-2634_plate.pdf

Tons of technical stuff from the USGS Type in Montana in Search in title box and choose Any Series

http://pubs.er.usgs.gov/usgspubs/index.jsp?view=adv

You'll probably have to download the free Internet Explorer plug-in to view the various reports and plates.

Hope this gives you a start.

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Boesse

Hey Necrocanis,

You might try a locality I found on the Missouri River at Fort Benton. Across the river from the fairgrounds, there are exposures of the Kevin(?) Member of the Marias River Formation. You can crack open large septarian nodules, and you will come across Inoceramid clams, and eventually Baculites sp., and I found a nice Belemnite with the guard and part of the rest of the shell, too (forgetting my cephalopod anatomy).

Bobby

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geofossil

There's a book that should help:

'The Rockhound's Guide to Montana' by Robert Feldman

Page 98 has a blurb on the Great Falls area. We collected some Tempskaya (agatized fossil wood) on the west side of the Missouri R. just south of Great Falls across the river from Cascade.The book is limited in scope but gives a few leads. I used the book to find fossils at one site that gave me 'the eye' to look out for them elsewhere. East of Great Falls is a town called Winnet (half way to Jordan) where the book mentions fossil shark teeth...we found the site and a couple of teeth, but a few kms further we hiked in a ways and found a similar exposure that yielded couple hundred nice ptychodus specimens.

In general most of Montana east and north of Great Falls has fossil potential. The good part is that a lot of exposures along the backroads hasn't been explored all that much.

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