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Fossil Hunting In Wayne, Monroe And Washtenaw Counties


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#1 fossils by great lakes

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Posted 06 June 2011 - 03:01 PM

If you read a lot about Michigan paleontology, you often hear about or see fossils from Monroe (Sibley quarry near Trenton) or around Ann Arbor, or even in Wayne county. I believe the formation is the same as Sylvania, and placoderm plate may also belong. Info please!
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#2 crinus

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Posted 06 June 2011 - 09:35 PM

If you read a lot about Michigan paleontology, you often hear about or see fossils from Monroe (Sibley quarry near Trenton) or around Ann Arbor, or even in Wayne county. I believe the formation is the same as Sylvania, and placoderm plate may also belong. Info please!


The three counties you mention are actually lousy for fossils. I know of no surface exposures in Wayne County. You have the Sibley Quarry in Monroe along with several other quarries but all are off limits. No one has been in them in eons. The Sibley quarry is not Silica shale as at Sylvania. It is Dundee Limestone, Anderdon Formation and Lucas formation. The quarry has brachiopods and coral. In Washtenaw Co. you have the old abandoned quarry at Milan, MI. The site is a Super Fund Site and access is limited. The rock here is the same as Sylvania. Our fossil club (Ann Arbor) got access last weekend. We get in about twice a year. Othere than that there is nothing else in Washtenaw unless you are looking at glacial drift and those fossils would be from northern Michigan. You can try Jackson Co for some Mississippian exposures. I personally have never collected there but have seen some nice stuff. Best place in Michigan to collect is in the Alpena area. Southern MI had too much glacial drift and very few natural exposures.

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#3 fossils by great lakes

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Posted 07 June 2011 - 02:07 PM

Thanks for the info. Yes, I know that the stuff is Dundee fm. etc. But the U of M website has a lot of pictures of fossils from Southeast MI, including trilobites and some other things. Anyways, Detroit/Winsor/Ann Arbor residents can always go down to Sylvania (it's way closer than Alpena!). One more question, though: is the Sibley quarry still active and if so, how can one gain access? Same with the other quarries. Thanks for your help!
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#4 crinus

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Posted 07 June 2011 - 03:06 PM

Thanks for the info. Yes, I know that the stuff is Dundee fm. etc. But the U of M website has a lot of pictures of fossils from Southeast MI, including trilobites and some other things. Anyways, Detroit/Winsor/Ann Arbor residents can always go down to Sylvania (it's way closer than Alpena!). One more question, though: is the Sibley quarry still active and if so, how can one gain access? Same with the other quarries. Thanks for your help!


Yes, there are a lot of pictures on the FUMMP Michigan Basin website are from southeast MI. Since I am the individial that entered all the museum specimen I can speak for them. Most, if not all the Wayne Co. specimens were collected when the Detroit Water intake tunnel was dug. Nothing from the surface, I think! Most of the Washtenaw Co. specimens are from the Milan Quarry or glacial drift. The glacial drift specimens were collected in the early 20th century before all the developments and population influx. Back then you had a chance of collecting many nice specimens in the glacial drift. Not so today but that doesn't mean it is not possible. Always expore construction sites for glacial drift fossils.

I do believe the Sibley quarry is still active but good luck getting in. Even with university Id it is difficult. You can't legally get into the Sylvania quarries either. You can only collect the dump piles south of the quarries. Even that will soon be gone as they are actively trying to seed it and cover it over.

I hate to sound so negative about collecting in SE Michigan. But frankly, it sucks. I have lived here all my life and to get fossils I almost always had to travel. One way to see the good old USA in my pick up. I envy cities like Cincinnati, St, Louis where you can probaly walk to the nearest road cut and find tons of fossils. Not here. How many road cuts do you see in SE Michigan.

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#5 art

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Posted 08 June 2011 - 10:04 PM

Anyways, Detroit/Winsor/Ann Arbor residents can always go down to Sylvania

Problem with sylvania is the stuff is trucked in....and gets picked over fiercely..

#6 crinus

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Posted 08 June 2011 - 10:58 PM

Problem with sylvania is the stuff is trucked in....and gets picked over fiercely..


I was referring to the actual dump piles south of the quarries and not the fossil park. The park does get picked over quickly and not much new stuff added. The dump piles are better as long as they are still accessible.

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