thez_yo

In San Diego - thinking of SoCal/Utah trip

22 posts in this topic

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

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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

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

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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

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Ok, I went!

The good:

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

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

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(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.

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The bad:

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

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-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?

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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

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-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!

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Just the kind of place I gravitate to B)

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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.

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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,

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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.

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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.

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Thanks!!

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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

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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

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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.  

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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.

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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

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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.

 

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

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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.

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Good luck on your trip @thez_yo:)

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

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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!

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