Jump to content
thez_yo

In San Diego - thinking of SoCal/Utah trip

Recommended Posts

thez_yo

Last year, I was hoping to find some friends to go out to the Marble Mountains and/or possibly one of the U-dig type sites in Utah in the summer because I love Cambrian critters. Plenty said 'that sounds cool, but can't go sorry' because of funds or other plans, or they just aren't really that into fossils, so I'm thinking I may just go by myself early this year. I want to find me some Trilobites! I'm thinking a long weekend somewhere between late March and mid-April.

Is anyone else planning a similar trip then? Maybe we could meet up. I don't have any field experience yet, but there's only one way to fix that :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
trilobite tim

Hi,

I don't think I will make it out this year. But I have lots of info on the area around the House Range. Lots of places to collect out there! Let me know if you need info. If you search the House range on this site you will find lots of posts. Please remember this area is pretty "out back" and you need to be prepared and careful driving/walking.

Tim

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
jpc

And that part of UT gets really hot in the summer months...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
thez_yo

Thanks! I'll get back to that offer for House Range after the weekend..

I've decided to go up to the Marble Mountains this weekend. I have time, and might as well get that newbie do-it-all-wrong experience out of the way now before hitting Utah in a few months. I have small garden tools/gloves/buckets already (plant hobby), so I think I'm going to hit Home Depot to buy a masonry sledge and/or similar before going and see how I do with everything the first time around. If I find something good, because they have that 1 trilo/day limit, I can hit it again on the way up to Utah assuming I drive.

I'm excited :D :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
thez_yo

Ok, I went!

The good:

-5hr workout in the form of climbing mountains in the Mojave.

P2140005_zpsmrvyjsgu.jpg

P2140003_zpsw5ezytec.jpg

P2140006_zpsrnsbitbf.jpg

IMG_0830_zpszaietyx1.jpg

IMG_0831_zpscxa1bq7f.jpg

IMG_0833_zpsf38hfinw.jpg

IMG_0835_zpswaajscfm.jpg

IMG_0837_zpsk9qrbns2.jpg

-The drive out and back is nice from San Diego.

IMG_0838_zpsevqjn3j5.jpg

(salt flats)

-The tools and gear I brought worked out well!

These forum post was my guide for tools. I got the Estwings, a small pry bar, some Dacor chisels, and a big brush for rock-things. Otherwise, eye protection, hiking boots with good insoles, a good hat and scarf to keep the sun off, a whistle, compass, and a couple other incidentals (chapstick. Oh so important in a desert!) http://www.thefossilforum.com/index.php?/topic/60352-just-getting-started/?p=644237 and http://www.thefossilforum.com/index.php?/topic/44892-new-to-fossil-hunting-what-gear-to-have/?p=486649

-I found some nice rocks, too. Maybe I'll get them tumbled.

P2150008_zpsabr8tngx.jpg

The bad:

-No clue which mountain top(s) were the right ones.

P2140002_zpsim8peqaj.jpg

-In fact, no clue what we were doing at all (I managed to get a friend in on this folly) including how to get to the mountains. Needles BLM map still doesn't elucidate the dirt roads towards the mountains so we sort of wing'd that. Here's the BLM page http://www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/fo/needles/rock.html

-and of course, didn't find any fossils. These rocks were interesting though.. what is it?

IMG_0829_zpsykmfv5rb.jpg

What I learned!

-When people recommend a guide who is familiar with the dig sites, there's a good reason.

-The small gardening tools I brought were useless unless I planned on digging underneath all the rock chips covering the mountains from all the collecting over the years. I'd want a regular big shovel for that though, because there are literally TONS of chipped rock all over.

-Chug some water before setting out.

-Obnoxious neon pink backpack is the way to go

DSC_6042-1_zpstkmzsprl.jpg

-Put knee pads on at the start of the hunt, not after you've already bruised at least one knee (lol).

Once the Utah sites open up in about a month, I'll head out there. I think to the paid places at least until I figure out what/how/where. Regardless, this was still a great trip!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Auspex

Just the kind of place I gravitate to B)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
trilobite tim

Great pictures! Terrain is just about what you will see in the House Range. The more time you spend researching (internet mostly) the closer you will be to the "right spot". But I have spent plenty of time walking/driving around, trying to find the fossils.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Fossildude19

I always say that they call it fossil hunting for a reason.

If it was fossil finding, everyone would do it! :)

Great pictures.

You will find the right spot eventually, and that will be a great payoff for your hard work.

Regards,

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
thez_yo

Ok, I think I'm going to go up to the U-Dig site over a long weekend of April 1st - 3rd and drive up and back. I'm wondering if anyone had good advice on hotels in Delta, or wherever is closest? I'm going to spend the night someplace around Vegas Thursday night March 31st, and plan to spend the 1st and 2nd April somewhere around dig sites in Utah and drive back down to Sandy Eggo the 3rd.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
jhw

I've made 2 or 3 trips up to the Marble Mountains/Latham Shale. It is not the easiest spot to find! I heard of a few different outcrops around that area, but here's where we have always gone. Can't really give you good directions other than say take the dirt road to your left around Cadiz! I'm sure someones got GPS coordinates, but we never did. You kind of get in as far as you can by car (4WD better) and hike in. The site runs on a diagonal up the side of the mountain. If you find the right spot you can usually do pretty well just surface collecting, and kind of picking through the loose shale that is everywhere around there. Whole ones are harder to find (but there!) Very well preserved cephalons, spines and such are almost a guarantee. That is, IF you're in the right spot! Good luck.

post-2182-0-12014100-1458687173_thumb.jpg

post-2182-0-29450900-1458687181_thumb.jpg

post-2182-0-28563100-1458687191_thumb.jpg

post-2182-0-83665900-1458687201_thumb.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sagebrush Steve

I know everybody seems to go to the Marble Mountains in the Mojave Desert for trilobite hunting, but according to the geologic map for Needles, California, there are also some Cambrian marine outcrops in the nearby Ship Mountains.  Has anyone tried looking there?  Here's a snip from the geologic map.  The town (hamlet!) of Cadiz is at the left, and the Marble Mountains are just northeast of it.  The Ship Mountains are due east.  The Cambrian marine outcrops are the orange hatched regions marked with what looks like an epsilon or a C with a line through it.  I'm thinking of checking it out either on the way over or back from the Tuscon show in February.  I'm fairly familiar with the area, I've driven the dirt roads there many times but never to look for fossils.

 

Ship Mtns.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
thez_yo

Ok, I guess a year late, but I've just booked a hotel for Utah for the weekend of April 15/16.  I kept trying to find buddies to go with me, but apparently hitting a pile of rocks with a hammer out in the burning sun isn't everybody's cup of tea?

 

Just hitting the mountain like I did here in California, I'm too much of a newbie to find anything.  So, I think I'm going to hit U-Dig for at least half a day, and figure out my head from my tail there if someone rubs my nose directly in the payload... If anyone's in the area that weekend, maybe we can meet up :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sagebrush Steve

I would love to go but my wife is recovering from some major surgery and I won't be going anywhere for a while.  U-dig fossils is a good place to go, you are certain to find fossils and they supply tools. It has been several years since I was there and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  Not sure what the weather will be like in April, I was there in June.  Good luck and let us know how you do.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
jpc

Keep in mind also that if you do go past and beyond u-dig, the productive layers will likely look different than what younwill se in the quarry.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Plax

the picture just above your selfie with pink pack looks like stromatolites or stromatoporoids. Perhaps we can get some experts for a more positive ID

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sagebrush Steve
26 minutes ago, Plax said:

the picture just above your selfie with pink pack looks like stromatolites or stromatoporoids. Perhaps we can get some experts for a more positive ID

 

I believe they are a blue-green algae called Girvanella.  Here is a snip from this link that looks similar.  If she was here she would have been very close to the trilobites.

 

58d01a3ae2809_Marble1.thumb.JPG.29245743d2b3a9a01068e74e75b21988.JPG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Plax

so; would the structure be identified as a stromatolite? Or perhaps algal colony/mat? Those are as interesting as an Olenellid cephalon to me

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sagebrush Steve
27 minutes ago, Plax said:

so; would the structure be identified as a stromatolite? Or perhaps algal colony/mat? Those are as interesting as an Olenellid cephalon to me

From what I've read, Girvanella is an oncoid, which is similar to a stromatolite but is roughly spherical in shape rather than forming a column.  But I've also seen an oncoid defined as a spherical stromatolite so perhaps someone with more expertise can clarify.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Darktooth

Good luck on your trip @thez_yo:)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
JohnBrian

I'd love to go but I have no one to babysit my 84 year-old Mom!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Plax
18 hours ago, Sagebrush Steve said:

From what I've read, Girvanella is an oncoid, which is similar to a stromatolite but is roughly spherical in shape rather than forming a column.  But I've also seen an oncoid defined as a spherical stromatolite so perhaps someone with more expertise can clarify.

thanks for the education Steve!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
thez_yo

Thanks guys, T minus 2 weeks to go and I'm excited!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
JohnBrian

As the song says, "the waiting is the hardest part"!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
thez_yo

I'm back and the trip was great!

 

I got in my car Thursday night for a long weekend, and drove halfway there from SoCal (to Primm, just across the NV border).  Friday morning I did the other half of the drive including through Las Vegas (yuck)

IMG_4320_zpsf1jfwnxt.jpg

 

And then finally hit the open country :D

IMG_4322_zpsyq2coa6n.jpg

 

Utah!

IMG_4325_zpszt5c5fmo.jpg

 

IMG_4330_zpsuv0mvjbh.jpg

 

Checked into my hotel in Fillmore, got my gear together

IMG_4356_zpsqips2ptb.jpg

 

And headed out towards Delta

IMG_4336_zpsxep9ngwa.jpg

 

 

Just before the right turn...

IMG_4341_zpslsugfc84.jpg

 

YAY!

IMG_4344_zpsohgukl4l.jpg

 

Seeing Marjum Pass written on a sign was pretty unreal

IMG_4357_zpsiqzzmz0r.jpg

 

The last couple miles are a little rough.  I only fishtailed once...

IMG_4358_zpsjemsgvbw.jpg

 

IMG_4348_zpsrvdqjiva.jpg

 

Finally, after 2 years of planning on it I got there!

IMG_4349_zpsvegaimhv.jpg

 

P4140013_zpsdlkenba5.jpg

 

Let the digging begin..

P4140014_zpssf7jw7lp.jpg

 

So I got there about 3:30pm Friday, went until the ~6pm closing time, and then did all day long Saturday from ~9:30AM until they wanted to pack it up after 6PM.  I definitely found some nice stuff, including the view coming back down the mountain:

IMG_4351_zpsz3jcs5vr.jpg

 

They said it was 7,000ft above sea level there, and as a resident of near-sea-level it was pretty rough going.  Bringing my chunks of rock up to the booth because they're wonderful and polish up your trilobites for you with a dremel a bit, I was completely out of breath and needed to take a seat for a bit.  I'm *so* sore all over still, but it was definitely worth it, and it was good exercise anyway.  Pro tip- put a couple of your water bottles in the fridge/freezer the night before to stick behind your back in your car seat on the drive back out, and one or two to hold in your hands.  Boy do I wish I could eat NSAIDs.

...to be continued...

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×