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Trilobites In Iowa


Melodee

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Can anyone tell me where any good sites are for trilobites in Iowa? My kids and I have recently caught the fossil "bug." (pun intended. :) Thanks for your help!

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Hi Melodee,

First- welcome to the forum! Second- let's try to get you and your kids pointed in the right direction to find trilobites in Iowa. There are a few dozen genera of trilobites that span almost the entire range of the Paleozoic which is Cambrian-Permian. You did not mention where you are located although the Ordovician Maquoketa Formation of Fayette County is one of the prime localities for Iowa trilobites. Follow the two attached links for more in depth information and I would also recommend networking with a good local rock and fossil group to really get familiar with the lay of the land. Perhaps one of our members here that collects in Iowa can offer a few starter sites as well but be prepared to do a little homework and research as the sweet spots are regarded generally as "TOP SECRET" classified data.

Good Luck with your Iowa Trilo-Quest! :)

Trilobites of Iowa PDF

Maquoketa Trilobites PDF

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You may find the Fossils in my Backyard website use-full. It's an interactive bedrock map of Iowa broken down into counties. I would also recommend joining a local rock club. The Cedar Valley Rocks and Mineral Society is a good one if you're near Cedar Rapids. They do a few field trips every year into quarries normally closed to collecting.

Good luck.

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  • 2 years later...

Can anyone tell me where any good sites are for trilobites in Iowa? My kids and I have recently caught the fossil "bug." (pun intended. smile.gif Thanks for your help!

The Ordovician in general has good trilobites in it - but as mentioned above, the Maquoketa Fm has some of the best. The Ordovician crops out mainly in northeast Iowa - there are countless roadcuts, natural exposures, and old quarries in that area.

Iowa State Bedrock Map: ftp://ftp.igsb.uiowa.edu/igspubs/pdf/ofm-2010-01.pdf The Maquoketa Fm is the dark pink color marked Om.

As Caleb mentioned, the Cedar Valley Rocks and Mineral Society does some field trips to Devonian quarries in east-central IA - trilobites can definitely be found on those trips, though they are not particularly abundant. Membership in that is only $10 or $15 per year for a family - if you are close to the Cedar Rapids - Iowa City area CVRMS is certainly worth joining. Another 2 clubs which I belong to are the Black Hawk Gem & Mineral Society (BHGMS) and the Mid America Paleontology Society (MAPS). The BHGMS club does field trips in the Waterloo, IA area, and you might occasionally find trilobites on one of their trips. MAPS has more widespread membership but does a combined field trip with either CVRMS or BHGMS once or twice a year.

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  • 7 months later...

All good info for you Trilo-hunters. If anyone is interested, I am willing to personally take you to spots that have been documented trilobite producers and hunt with you (if you can tolerate my poor humor) ... ;-) Lets do it !!

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