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Paleoworld-101

2 Day Expedition- Hunter Valley Fossils

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Paleoworld-101

Hi everyone,

Just got back from a 2 day fossil hunting 'expedition' to the Hunter Valley, about 2 hours from Sydney and 3 hours from my house. I went fossicking at two different sites with the Fossil Club Of NSW, who kindly organised the weekend and provided good company and also directions. Fellow fossil forum member Rick_Jo also came along for the weekend.

After an early start on Saturday morning (5AM), I drove most of the way to Cessnock and got some good hours for my learner drivers logbook. We met the rest of the Fossil Club Of NSW at Mcdonalds (about 20 other people) and headed off as one big convoy to the first locality, which was situated on a private property on the edge of Lake St. Clair. The club had obtained permission from the owner and we spent the day at the locality from 9AM all the way to 3PM looking for Trilobites, Brachiopods, Nautiloids, Gastropods and other marine invertebrates. The site dates back to the Carboniferous. The Trilobites proved to be very elusive, only one person out of the group found part of a Trilobite (a Pygidium). The rest of us found mainly shells although I managed to snag a nice Gastropod and possible Nautiloid on the same rock as well (see photos below on next post). Also got a nice bit of Lepidodendron stem. The site can be seen below and some pics of the fossil finds on the next post.

The site- post-5373-0-61446500-1376213364_thumb.jpg

On the Sunday, the club once again met up and travelled to Mulbring Quarry, a highly fossiliferous locality just south of Cessnock. This quarry is probably the best fossil locality close to Sydney so many great finds were made by all club members. It is Permian, about 270 million years old in age. Fossils to be found here include LOTS of Bryozoans on just about every rock, most commonly Fenestella, as well as Brachiopods, Crinoids, very rare Trilobites, and the occasional Gastropod. Arriving at the quarry again around 9AM, we spent the day digging into the ground and splitting rocks all the way to 3PM until it was time to start heading home. The quarry provided little shelter from the hot sun and not surprisingly I got sunburnt. My find of the weekend was probably a nice, large section of Crinoid stem from Mulbring Quarry. My eyes popped out of my head when I split the rock to reveal it, couldn't be happier. Photos of the site are below and photos of the finds are pictured on the next post. A third site, Kitchener, was also visited by the club late Sunday afternoon but I unfortunately didn't go as we didn't have enough time to get home otherwise.

The site- post-5373-0-51768900-1376213874_thumb.jpg post-5373-0-34054200-1376213901_thumb.jpg

Just after finding the Crinoid stem- post-5373-0-79768600-1376213947_thumb.jpg

All in all a great fossil-filled weekend with the club and a much welcomed break from school. I'm already looking forward to the next trip!

Edited by Paleoworld-101

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Paleoworld-101

Site 1 Fossils

Lepidodendron Stem- post-5373-0-06715200-1376217278_thumb.jpg

Gastropod (left) and possible Nautiloid (right)- post-5373-0-73571300-1376217335_thumb.jpg

Site 2 Fossils

Crinoid Stem (positive and negative, 10cm long)- post-5373-0-93306400-1376217403_thumb.jpg

Crinoid Stem (positive side close up)- post-5373-0-70505400-1376217434_thumb.jpg

Large Slab Of Fenestella- post-5373-0-05976300-1376217456_thumb.jpg

Various Brachiopods (and unknown fossil bottom right)- post-5373-0-91757900-1376217620_thumb.jpg

There's a lot more fossils than these ones (3 buckets full infact!) but the limit of 2MB per post means I cant fit many onto just a couple posts. These are some of the more easily seen ones on camera.

Edited by Paleoworld-101

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Batty

Looks like you had a fun weekend paleo, nice finds.

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Down under fossil hunter

What a blast, that crinoid stem is very cool.

Now to go back and find its head.

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vertman

Nice report! Looks like a great time. I liked the locality images a lot.

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Auspex

Sounds like you had a swell time!

I'm almost as excited reading about it as you must have been doing it: Thank you!

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Canadawest

Thanks for sharing. That's a super Crinoid stem. Rarely seen one that long...he must have been a biggie in life. Hard to tell from the photos, but looks like evidence of inarticulate brachs in some of the matrix.

Too hot! Isn't it winter in Australia? I sure wish it was too hot in our winters.

Curious...I like insects but do you have to watch for any spiders, etc. when you turn the rocks over?

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Paleoworld-101

Thanks guys, yeah It would have been great to find the head that the stem was once attached to, but it was a loose rock on the surface that I just picked up, split it and tada! Beautiful Crinoid stem inside. If it was straight from the bedrock i would have dug more of the same layer out trying to find more. I think I heard one of the other club guys saying that only a few Crinoid heads have ever been found at the quarry.

It's quite rare as one of the more experienced club members, who is quite familiar with the quarry, said that that about 90% of the Crinoid stems you find there are just impressions or have decayed away leaving a powdery kind of dust that fills the space. This one is preserved quite differently. It is also very large, 10cm long. You rarely find stem sections over a few cms at this quarry so that makes it extra special. It has arms wrapping around the stem and continuing on either side, which would look fantastic if I could clear the rock that is covering it in different areas, but im scared ill damage the specimen. Probably best to leave it as is.

@Northstar- Yes it is winter in Australia, but our winters tend to be very mild and somewhat unpredictable. One day its freezing the next its boiling hot.

I often forget that there could be spiders or other things hiding under the rocks, and occasionally I did come across silken webs underneath the rocks but no trace of the spider. There were lots of bull ants though, so wearing gloves is definitely the safe way to go.

Edited by Paleoworld-101

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Ludwigia

Thanks for sharing your experiences. Your report inspired me to delve into the background on the Permian epoch in Australia, of which I knew hardly anything up until now, and I see that you have lots of exposures in the east which allow for detailed research and abundant collecting. The fauna which you found caught my eye as well, since it's quite similar to that which can be found in the much older upper Devonian layers of the Ardennes in Belgium. It's almost as if evolution was on hold in certain niches of the marine environment until the catastrophe at the end of the Permian.

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squalicorax

Nice finds thanks for the share!

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Foozil

Hey Nathan,

Was I on that trip for lake saint clair and mulbring? If i remember right Rad found the trilobite pygidum at lake saint clair.

It was a great trip!

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Paleoworld-101

Yes one Pygidium did turn up at Lake St Clair. I'll check the fossil club magazine issue for that month, I remember there was a group picture of everyone that attended that trip. I wonder if you're in it? That would be funny lol.

Edited by Paleoworld-101

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Foozil

Yes one Pygidium did turn up at Lake St Clair. I'll check the fossil club magazine issue for that month, I remember there was a group picture of everyone that attended that trip. I wonder if you're in it? That would be funny lol.

Not even knowing each other… LoL

I am almost certain I was…

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paleozoo

Hi Everyone

Just to let you know that the Fossil Club of NSW Inc. has change its name to The Fossil Club of Australia Inc. and the new web site is now www.fossilclubaus.org.au.

 

 

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