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buckwood4

Trilobite Ridge, Montague, Nj

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buckwood4

Hello all,

My name is Jeff and I live in Montague, NJ, about 500 feet from the fabled "Trilobite Ridge". I have lived here 17 years, and have been collecting the ridge the entire time. I stumbled upon this forum while doing a google search, and I feel that there are a lot of questions and mis-information that need to be cleared up concerning the ridge and where and how to collect it. I have found precious little on the 'net about this ridge and its fossils.

First, in 17 years of collecting the ridge, I have NEVER found a complete trilobite. You can find numerous exoskeletons, heads, tails, eyes, and various other body parts, just never connected.

There are many fossil varieties that are found together with the trilos. You can find crinoid stems, several brachiopods, gastropods, corals, sponges, and more. The limestone that the fossils are found in is dense and dark, and weathers quickly into a white cement-looking matrix. It is not layered, heavily crystalized, and is difficult to break. Fossils are plentiful in the limestone, and trilos are scattered throughout in no particular order. I have found that the very top of the ledge produces the most specimens, but I have found fossils scattered throughout the layers and at the base of the cliffs. Sizes of the trilos vary, from 1/2" to over 3" wide. I have a head and tentacles specimen that measures 3.75" across. The most common size is 1" across.(see attached picture)

About 7 years ago, 2 homes were built directly on the ridge, and when the rock was blasted for the foundations, a mother lode of fossils was unearthed. Several groups of collectors visited the site during the construction period, and these collectors went home with carloads of fossils. One woman and her son loaded so many rocks into her car, that it was literally dragging on the ground, and she had to leave 5 buckets of rock and come back to get it. I collected the ridge during this time as well, and got many great specimens.

So, needless to say, the most productive area in the past is now underneath houses, and is not collectable. However, one of the owners realizes the importance of the ridge and its fossils, and occasionally allows geologists and collectors to access the remaining portion of the exposure if asked nicely.....More later..

The ridgeline runs for about 2 miles from the northernmost point, where it meets Clove brook, to the southern end, at New Mashipacong Road, where it disappears underground, then reappears breifly at Overlook Road, Rubin Hill Road, and again in the southern end of Montague, behind the Montague School. But the most productive area is the northern half mile, though numerous trilos were found during a recent excavation project behind the school at the south end. (where the students were allowed to search the broken rock for fossils, and keep whatever they found.) Collecting opportunities here are few (The entire ridge is private property), and the ridge can be tricky to locate. It is actually the easternmost ledge on a hogsback formation between Clove Brook and the Delaware River.

There are 2 ways to access the ridge now. One involves getting permission from the owner of one of the new homes I spoke of earlier. The other way is to access it from the back side, by driving into an abandoned housing development, parking, and hiking 100 yards through the woods to the ridge. Either way, you will be on private land, and discretion will be required to explore the ridge.

If you are seriously interested in collecting Trilobite Ridge, I will PM you the info.

Jeff

Montague, NJ

post-14754-0-80612300-1395258131_thumb.jpg

Edited by buckwood4

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Scylla

Thanks for all the info! I have heard of this site many times and have wanted to explore it, but as you have said there is little info on it. More pics of the trilobites from there?

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buckwood4

A large trilobite body found at the base of an uprooted tree in 2011 on Trilobite Ridge in Montague. More to come.

post-14754-0-40951800-1395270745_thumb.jpg

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buckwood4

A very large tail section found on a NoJMS Field Trip to Trilobite Ridge in 2012. Both halves present.

post-14754-0-47497600-1395271864_thumb.jpg

post-14754-0-67891400-1395271879_thumb.jpg

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buckwood4

Large head section complete w/antennae and other body parts. Found April 2009.

post-14754-0-95892200-1395272004_thumb.jpg

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buckwood4

Tail section with numerous other marine fossils. Found 2004 Trilobite Ridge

post-14754-0-82297100-1395272056_thumb.jpg

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buckwood4

Numerous body parts including complete head section found March 2013 Trilobite Ridge. I have piles of rocks in my garden with numerous segments throughout. This is the type of rocks commonly found on the ridge.

post-14754-0-22866100-1395272146_thumb.jpg

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buckwood4

Body section. These fragments are very common and rarely complete. Found on NoJMS Field Trip October 2012.

post-14754-0-28940200-1395272396_thumb.jpg

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buckwood4

Body section nearly complete found on NoJMS Field trip, March 2012. I have led several club field trips to the ridge over the years, but recently, hosting a club trip is no longer possible. The owner will only allow 1, 2 or 3 people at a time.....

post-14754-0-34473500-1395272753_thumb.jpg

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Scylla

How about 2 adults and 2 kids? ;)

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Fossildude19

Thanks for posting these. :)

Any Idea of ID's?

Looks like mostly Dalmanites pygidiums and cephalons.

The large one in post #4 is not something I recognize, however.

Regards,

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jpc

Nice post. This part made me say Hmmmmm..."I have a head and tentacles specimen that measures 3.75" ... Tentacles?

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piranha

showtrilos2014 014.JPG showtrilos2014 011.JPG IMG1.jpg

These two dalmanitids appear to be Phalangocephalus dentatus.

showtrilos2014 012.JPG showtrilos2014 013.JPG IMG2.jpg

 

The large trilobites are the early Devonian homalonotid: Trimerus vanuxemi.

 

Whiteley, T.E., Kloc, G.J., & Brett, C.E. (2002)

The Trilobites of New York.

Cornell University Press, 380 pp.

 

 

 

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Fossildude19

Thanks for the info, and straightening me out, Scott! :)

I fear I will never understand the different trilobites morphology as well as you do.

Best regards,

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squalicorax

Very nice!

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piranha
On 3/20/2014 at 1:00 PM, Fossildude19 said:

Thanks for the info, and straightening me out, Scott! :)

I fear I will never understand the different trilobites morphology as well as you do.

Best regards,

 

 

I just happen to spend a lot of my spare time working on trilobites! emo73.gif:P

 

While digging through the references I did manage to find a good photo plate with examples of Phalangocephalus dentatus from Trilobite Mountain. emo71.gif

IMG1.jpg

 

Campbell, K.S.W. (1977)

Trilobites of the Haragan, Bois D'Arc and Frisco Formations (Early Devonian) Arbuckle Mountains Region, Oklahoma.

Oklahoma Geological Survey Bulletin, 123:1-227

 

 

 

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Jeffrey P

Hi Jeff;

Thanks for the wonderful thread. Really nice specimens. I haven't seen too much Trilobite Ridge material so whatever you've got I appreciate seeing. I would really love to come out your way and check it out. Let me know if that's possible. I'll PM you when I'm available. Thanks again. Great thread!!!

Regards,

Jeff

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erose

Do you know how this compares to the fossils and formations from "Trilobite Mountain" just above Port Jervis, NY? I had been to the old collecting site at Rubin Hill with the NYPS many times. Trilobite parts were not unheard of, but also not common. At that site we were pretty sure we were in the Glenerie Limestone based on the "large" fauna and a few specific species.

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rocksnstuff

Do you know how this compares to the fossils and formations from "Trilobite Mountain" just above Port Jervis, NY? I had been to the old collecting site at Rubin Hill with the NYPS many times. Trilobite parts were not unheard of, but also not common. At that site we were pretty sure we were in the Glenerie Limestone based on the "large" fauna and a few specific species.

I'm very interested in this as well. I went on a hike on Trilobite Mountain in the middle of March but a lot of it was still covered in snow so I couldn't find anything. I read the 1909 paper written about the mountain but with a lot of layers covered by snow so I have no idea where the prime collecting spots might be. I keep getting confused between Trilobite Mountain and Ridge. One website said that the 1909 paper was written on the ridge in Montague but it's clearly about the Port Jervis location. When trying to find parking in Port Jervis near the trail head, I turned around on a street (Woodland Dr. off Minisink Rd) and it looks like you can walk northeast along the northwest facing side of the mountain. It's probably private property but if you are just going for a walk to look at the strata I wouldn't worry. If anyone could clarify and provide more info for Trilobite Mountain I would greatly appreciate it!

Our school's geology club loves to go on trips like this so checking out Trilobite Ridge/Mountain would be perfect for us!

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buckwood4

Thanks, all for responding to my posts. One thing I did not make clear is that I am not a fossil collector. I am not at all familiar with the species, names, etc. I found this site while I was trying to investigate the fossils I had found. So, this is all a learning experience for me :-)

That being said, I truly appreciate the ID help you folks are providing!

The area where I am finding the fossils is in Montague, NJ. However, from what I understand, during the early 20th century, and late 19th century, this entire area was embroiled in a "border war" where the state lines between NY and NJ were in dispute. Many local historical documents refer to this area being part of NY, and some areas north of Port Jervis as being part of NJ. There is even a historical placque along Rt. US209 telling of the border dispute. The "Trilobite Mountain" in the 1909 paper refers mostly to a ridge northeast of Port Jervis. I have hiked that ridge before, and have never seen anything. There are marked and maintained hiking trails on that ridge, and are accessed from the trailhead on Old Greenville Turnpike. The trails are marked with white or red blazes. Supposedly, the fossil ridge is on the white trail, but I have seen no evidence of it. Info on these trails can be found on the NY/NJ Trail Conference website.

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miketarullo

Jeff,

I think we exchanged emails about a year ago. You provided me with information on Trilobite Ridge. I am a geology professor at Monmouth University in Monmouth County NJ,

With the information you provided I was able to find the location without a problem. I stopped at the last house on the road at the top of the ridge and asked the owner for permission to collect. I believe his name was Leon, is that correct? He was very friendly and invited me to bring other professors and students up to the ridge to collect. I am mentioning this for two reasons; first in one of the threads on this topic you mention that the owner was limiting the number of collectors in a group and second, because a fellow professor would like to bring members of her earth science club up to collect.

Is this limit on the number of collectors something new? When I spoke to Leon last spring he sounded very open to professors and university groups. The earth science club has only about 10 or 12 members and all might not participate. A small van and my Jeep would be used to access the area, so we are not considering bussing in 50 or 60 people. Any thoughts on this? Would it be possible for you tocontact Leon, since you live in the area, and find out if such a trip as I described here would be allowed?

I thank you in advance for your help once again with this very important collecting site here in the state of NJ!

Mike Tarullo

Adjunct Professor of Geology

Monmouth University

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buckwood4

Mike,

Glad you got up here to explore the ridge! Leon Smith is a very nice man, and I'm sure he will accomidate a group of 10-12. I was up there last year with a group of 16 and we had a nice time and found some great specimens. As far as limiting the number of people, I have been contacted by schools and groups looking to bring up to 30 people up there, which just would not work, plus I would never wish to burden Leon with that many people. You never know what can happen when you post a location online, know what I mean? Anyway, He is welcoming to geologists and collectors. You should have no problems. You can contact me if you pick a date, and I can let him know you are coming. Jeff

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miketarullo

Jeff,

Thanks once again for all your help!

I will let Professor Condie know about the good news. I believe she is interested in heading up some time in April. As soon as I get the details from her I will either post something here or send you a message from the forum.

And hopefully you will be able to join us that day.

Mike

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