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Barerootbonsai

Aust, Triassic hunting with John Brewer

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Barerootbonsai

Aust is a small village in South Gloucestershire, England, about 10 miles (16 km) north of Bristol and about 28 miles (45 km) south west of Gloucester U.K. It is located on the eastern side of the Severn estuary, close to the eastern end of the Severn Bridge, now part of the M48 motorway. The river bank, which is sometimes flooded due to the high tidal range of the Severn joins Aust Cliff, above the Severn, located about 0.5 miles from the village.

Aust.jpg

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Barerootbonsai

I have been to the south side of Aust cliffs before over the last 4 years to look at and collect fossils and stone although really I had no idea what I was looking at or for.

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Barerootbonsai

Through various Websites and chatting to John I now understand about  251 to 200 million years ago a period called the Triassic, the world looked something like this below the red arrow is roughly where the UK would be.

Triasic world.jpg

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Barerootbonsai

The UK was in the middle of a super land mass called Pangaea.  The rocks at Aust Cliffs show us what it was like at this time to the Jurassic.

During the Triassic period Britain had mountains that were worn down the Mendips being one of them.  This is the red stone that can be seen at the cliffs.  It was a very arid desert time. I know now the red stone has no fossils what so ever.

image007.jpg

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Barerootbonsai

During the late Triassic, the sea began to invade parts of the UK, producing the greenish-grey rocks of the Blue Anchor Formation at the top of the Mercia Mudstone Group and the fossiliferous mudstones and limestones.

Then rest the darker, then lighter, grey beds of the Penarth Group: the Westbury Formation and Cotham Member, (formerly called Rhaetic Beds) from the Late Triassic or Rhaetian (206 – 210 Million years ago). At the cli top are the light brown beds of the Blue Lias Formation from the Early Jurassic

As the sea advanced and sea life moved in highly productive bone bearing bed at the very top from the Rhaetian Penarth series was created. This bed is full of teeth, reptile and fish remains and is I am lead to believe a very productive Triassic site in the UK.

 

I have heard and read that fossils are regularly found at Aust in the bone bed, such as shark and fish teeth and fish scales, coprolites and bone fragments.  I could only see plenty of fossils I know to be of carboniferous mollusc’s clams, and oysters.

 

I spoke to John Brewer on the Fossil forum and he said the blocks of Aust bone bed are highly collected, so are usually quickly broken down by collectors.  However as I did not have a clue as what it looked like and he was down this way he would meet up and a hunting trip with his help would astound me.

 

Plans for a trip slowly formed and I was very excited, the thought of finding teeth etc. when I have seen what is shown on the forum was too much to anticipate.

 

 

Apparently even Ichthyosaur and Plesiosaur remains can be found, but identifiable bones are less common such as large vertebrae’s and leg bones.

 

Aust fossil hunting

 

The interpretation panel at the end of the concrete causeway to the foreshore informs us that Aust Cliff is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and, of course, a RIGS.

 

 Aust is a very popular place for collecting fossils and because of this high competition means that the bone bed blocks are becoming harder to find.

 

The South side of the Severn Bridge the cliff gets cleaned out regularly by the tides, with fresh cliff falls and a good amount of material to search through.  I had never been to the North side and apparently it is not eroded as fast.

 

I had been to Aust south beach a month or so earlier July 2016.  However Workmen had told me that it was closed for over a year as the Electrical Pylon before the South beach was being worked on as seen in the picture below.

Pylon.png

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Barerootbonsai

I was walking with a Mentee I was with for the day. We made our way to the Aust services on the M48 at the Severn Crossing and walked along the coast heading north.  We found 2 fields over we were at sea level and were able to walk south to the bridge.  We found nothing I recognised and it was disappointing.

 

When John said lets meet and I will show you how great Aust is I jumped at the chance so the Sunday before Lou and I did a test run and I found a way around the bridge foundations to the South beach.

 

While we were there I spotted what looked like bone rock John had described.  Not wanting to carry rock that may be rubbish I made a pile of the 3 rocks and hid it under some stone and wood.  I Spoke to John and gave him all the news and then had to wait a long 3 days. 

 

John and I met up on the Wednesday and like a kid brought a show and tell LOL. John was very understanding let me show my beginning of a collection in the carpark drinking a coffee.

 

Bags were then hoisted and off we went.  John letting me know a few facts. 15 minutes later we were on the beach walking south.

 

 

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Barerootbonsai

I pointed out a few bits of stuff I had hidden.  John confirmed it was bone rock.  When I knew what it was John and I spent a good hour finding over two sacks full.

It was then decided to wander over to the South side which proved to be disappointing.

 

 

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Barerootbonsai

 I picked up a couple of rocks and we headed north again.

 

 

A spot of lunch, more bone rock found and packing up we had too much and had to leave some behind I wanted to cry LOL.

 

 

We eventually made it back to the car, I don’t know about John but I was done in come the end.  My eyes were bigger than my back.

 

 

My rock is safely tucked away and I hope to dowse it in vinegar soon to work on it but I am in no hurry at the moment as a novice I don’t want to destroy my treasure.

 

 

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Edited by Barerootbonsai
for some reason a message came up on the original post stating i had excedded the 2MB. upon edditing it allowed me to upload the original plus 2 more go figure.

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Barerootbonsai

 A block from the Pre-planorbis beds found on the south side.  i found last year.

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Barerootbonsai

I have only just started prepping small ones in vinegar, and sifting all the dust.  John has already been hard at work though and will let him tell you the results. He did send me this though. Vinegar working on the rock.

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Manticocerasman

Great report you have here. thanks for taking us along on your adventure :)

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Strepsodus

Hi.  You found some good pieces of bone block- well done.  John kindly gave me some pieces of bone block he found.  I'm looking forward to seeing what's inside them.

 

 

Thanks,

 

Daniel

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JohnBrewer

Slowly getting through my pile, lots of micro stuff and coprolite which this rock is always full of. I have found what I think is a (damaged) humerus and associated bone, ichthy I think.  Needs some prep to get a better ID. 

 

By the way, I'm the good looking guy :rofl:

Edited by JohnBrewer
Grammar

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JohnBrewer

Oh, a great report Nick!

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Twinlukers

Nice reports as well!! Now for the prep work!!! You can do it!!! Nice finds

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Barerootbonsai
On 30/08/2016 at 11:41 AM, Kevin H. said:

Great report you have here. thanks for taking us along on your adventure :)

Thanks Kevin, it was great fun.

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Barerootbonsai
On 30/08/2016 at 0:19 PM, Strepsodus said:

Hi.  You found some good pieces of bone block- well done.  John kindly gave me some pieces of bone block he found.  I'm looking forward to seeing what's inside them.

 

 

Thanks,

 

Daniel

Hi Daniel liked your info on your trip.  Hope the rock gives you some cool stuff.

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Barerootbonsai

Thanks for your help and guidance John, I would never have seen it.  look fwd to some pics.  :D

 

however I need to take you to task I beleive I am better looking although my best side was not seen LOL

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Barerootbonsai
18 hours ago, Twinlukers said:

Nice reports as well!! Now for the prep work!!! You can do it!!! Nice finds

Twinlukers, I am progressing fine at the moment and have about 30 teeth already very small and thats just from the dust.  Yippee!

I have too much rock so was thinking of selling a bit on eBay  when I figure out how to do it LOL.

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Strepsodus
1 hour ago, Barerootbonsai said:

Hi Daniel liked your info on your trip.  Hope the rock gives you some cool stuff.

Thanks.  I'll let you know what's inside the rocks.

 

 

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Paleowhatonist?

A truly wonderful report! I look forward to seeing what you got hold of in the end :D

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Barerootbonsai

A start is made a good tip don't buy cheep vinegar it does not work as well.  I need to find ascetic acid I think once I am a bit better at it.  

 

I started on on the dust and small bits in my bag and wheelbarrow.  Started picking stuff out.  I thought I was picking to much out so awaited my new lamp and magnifying glass to come.  Resorted and removed 90% of my pickings lol.  I am still on the small bits really but to date this is it.  Thanks Paleowhatonist :D I was looking at places up near you and the Cotswolds not really found a good place to go looking.

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Edited by Barerootbonsai
adding edited photo

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Paleowhatonist?

Tell me about it! Lol. There is a few hundred years old chalk pit in my village, I'm hoping to have a look at soon, but doesn't seem to be much else around here.

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Barerootbonsai

Ashton Keynes near you.  Trying to find out about it.

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