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hitekmastr

St. Clair Trip & Crackerjack Fossil

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hitekmastr

St. Clair Trip

Nan and I took a trip to Deer Lake and we managed to squeeze in a couple of hours at the end of the day to visit the St. Clair fern site - which we consider to be our "home site."

We always see animals there - a bear and cub were there last year, an 8 foot long black snake (it was really that long!) and this time we saw a dozen male and female turkeys.

The site has been pretty well picked over by a season of fossil hunting so there aren't as many good finds lying scattered around on the ground but we don't normally scavenge these shards anyway - we either excavate the open pits left by previous fossil hunters, or we find promising looking pieces that have been discarded and crack them open with chisels. We also have gained a good sense of what kinds of fossils are located in various places on the site and we visualize in our mind's eye what this Carboniferous site must have looked like, 308 million years ago.
This is Nan showing the width of a giant Calamites tree trunk that has been eroding slowly out of the ground substrate. The tree was squashed flat and people walking over it have begun to destroy and flake off what was previously a perfect large tree trunk embedded in the ground.
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I always say that cracking open fossil rocks is like opening a box of crackerjack. Here's a great example of a crackerjack fossil:
Opening a Crackerjack Fossil
This fossil looked very ordinary and not at all promising. However, it was thick and easy to crack open so I gave it a whack with my hammer and chisel. The results unfolded exactly as you see here - revealing a nice section of Cordaites (a very large leaf with close-together grooves, that looked like a corn leaf) and other fern leaves.

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We looked for a display piece for a colleague and Nan found this nice specimen:

This will look nice in our friend's office, placed on a tilted rack we bought from Michael's craft store:

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We also found this sphenophyllum (a small plant that grew like a vine in the coal swamps):

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Edited by hitekmastr

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Jeffrey P

Congratulations!! Even just a couple hours will yield some worthy fossils at this amazing site. I spent a whole day there in June and failed to find a Sphenophyllum like the one you collected, but did find a heck of a lot of other good stuff. Definately must go back there. You've reminded me why. Best of luck hunting and hope you get back to St Clair again sometime soon.

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Plantguy

Nice finds! Regards, Chris

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MakoMeCrazy

Very nice find and great trip report.

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RickNC

Wow. Some great finds. That place is definitely on my list.

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Ludwigia

Very nice finds! Congratulations! The plants and preservation at this spot reminds me very much of the German carboniferous site at Piesberg where one can also make some great finds.

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gdarone

Great looking finds! St. Clair is only a 2.5 hour drive from my home. I think I'd like to take a trip up this fall. Would you please mind PMing me the details? It would be great to know where to go, where to park, fees, etc. Would anyone like to join me?

Edited by gdarone

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Fossildude19

PM Sent. :)

Regards,

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Scylla

... Would anyone like to join me?

Yes, always.

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