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Kane

First time in Penn Dixie

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Kane

I've had a lot of help from members on this site with how to tackle PD. This will be my first go at it, and I want to come away with a lot of trilos to prep. More importantly, my partner - a recent convert to fossils who has a hunger for trilos after a year of me taking her to Arkona - is gung-ho on this full weekend trip. Yes, both Saturday and Sunday at PD. If anyone here wants to come, please say hello and we can go out for dinner on Saturday night. I'd be pretty easy to spot:tall, bald Canadian. I'll be making benches in the morning and splitting all afternoon. I've only met a few of you on TFF, so would love to meet more. Feel free to join me. I'll be keeping the crazy Canadian reputation going, even if I don't have a rock saw :D

 

I'll be keeping this thread going to post what I hope will be some nice finds. 

Edited by Kane

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Fossildude19

Wish I could make it.  :(

Good Luck Kane. 
Regards,

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Malcolmt

Also wish I could be there with my saw but unfortunately its not happening this weekend. I will be at my normal spot up north Saturday and perhaps even Sunday.

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Kane

The one downside is that I foolishly assumed I would be able to just find a motel on the fly, given that it is just Hamburg, NY. I forgot about the long weekend. I just barely found a room at less than an ideal price, and it is regrettably a "smoking" room (even before I quit smoking, I hadn't smoked in my bedroom for over six years!). :( But I guess we're not there to sleep, and I just hope it doesn't smell like the inside of an old smoker's lung! I didn't think smoking rooms existed anymore. Maybe they'll have an 8-track player and wall carpets, too :P

 

I feel like a kid on xmas eve. The tools are ready, the devices charged, the yankee dollars obtained from the bank (at an awful exchange rate), and some provisions shopping to fill the cooler with fruit, water, and sandwiches. Tonight we pack the car and I just hope we can get on the road extra early. It's 2 hours 40 minutes in ideal traffic (and an ideal border). The weather looks like it's going to be perfect - not too hot. Hopefully the next update will be tomorrow night from the smoker's lung suite.

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Fossildude19

:dinothumb::fingers crossed::fingers crossed::fingers crossed::1-SlapHands_zpsbb015b76:

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DevonianDigger

Hey Kane! I'm a volunteer at Penn Dixie and I'd love to try and meet up with you at the site if you're there during the day tomorrow! Let me know!

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Kane

Absolutely! I remember reading you were a volunteer, but didn't want to presume too much. Me and the missus are there tomorrow, hopefully even before the morning ends! Would love to meet up! Maybe PM me with details so I can identify you and vice versa?

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DevonianDigger

Some pre-game reading materials that might be interesting regarding the site. (The second half of it is irrelevant and is just outdated newsletter information basically, but the first portion is a really nice summation of the site.)

 

Penn Dixie Site

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Kane

Had an incredible full day at PD. It was great to meet @DevonianDigger who was amazingly helpful and fun as we hunted the day away. Of course, he could probably say a few things about my beginner's luck at the site. I've got buckets of rollers and a few multi-plates already, if not also a full Greenops (just have to uncover the head from the matrix). There's a lot of prep work to do, and this was just our first day of gathering materials. We'll be going back tomorrow for another round of hauling out big slabs. There are so many trilos that it impossible to squeeze them all into one pic.

 

One of the highlights of the day was in finding one of the largest nautiloid specimens ever found at the site (thanks to  DevonianDigger and Dr Phil for the confirmation). Of course, pictures soon - motel wifi is not exactly high bandwidth. 

 

Fortunately, there was already a bit of a bench started, and I went in deep and wide, wrenching out "yuge" slabs that would later succumb to the repeated blows of my 4lb sledge alternating with the rock pick. As I said, I'll post some pics when I can - which may be when I get back to Canada tomorrow night. The staff there are incredible, it wasn't too hot or packed, plenty of room, and such an abundance of fossils I've never hitherto experienced in any collecting trip. 

Edited by Kane

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Kane

Typical haul of trilobites (1/4), many in matrix. Upper left is a Greenops boothi

IMG_2806.JPG

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Kane

Trilos, 2/4 with more promising ones to prep out.

IMG_2807.JPG

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Kane

Trilos 3/4

IMG_2808.JPG

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Kane

And the last shot of the cluster of them. I have another bucket of mostly fragments that I'll be using for prep practice and possibly splitting down further.

IMG_2809.JPG

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Kane

A small, but busy trilobite plate

 

IMG_2813.JPG

Edited by Kane

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Kane

And here is the big nautiloid fragment. I'm hoping Jay has a better picture of it to post.

 

I'll be posting a few more of the more intimate/high res trilobite and site shots on my blog in the next few days. So Deb and I are off to the site shortly. Wish us luck!

IMG_2801.jpg

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Fossildude19

Hope you have good luck again out there today, Kane! 

:fingers crossed::fingers crossed::fingers crossed::fingers crossed::fingers crossed::fingers crossed::fingers crossed::fingers crossed:

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DevonianDigger

Had a blast! Definitely very sore today though. That was quite a carry back to the cars. I haven't even unloaded the trunk of my car yet! I brought the Spyroceras in to try and clean it up a little. Definitely going to be posting some photos of it! Hope you guys have another great day today, sorry I could only join for one :/ You've definitely got a few trilobites to play with this winter, lol.

 

Looking forward to the next time!

Edited by DevonianDigger

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Malcolmt

Looks like you got a good haul there.. wish we could have joined you... I suspect from what I was seeing of your haul that you were at the bench we were working last weekend.

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DevonianDigger

Here's a better picture of it. Anyone have any thoughts as to the best way to prep this guy so that he stands out from the matrix more? (This picture has been color-corrected in order to highlight the fossil.)

 

20160904_224233.jpg

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Kane

Fantastic pic of the spyroceras! I find that nautiloids in shale rarely show much colour unless they're pyritized. 

 

@Malcolmt Definitely indebted to you and the other intrepid Canadians for getting that bench going. There were a few isolated "mini-benches", too (about 1-2 feet wide). I managed to pretty much connect them all, shovel out copious amounts of overburden, and applied my ineloquent solution of moving in/across to haul out more. I generally would look for a crack (superficial or otherwise) at about two feet in, and three feet across. I'd plant my cold chisel at one of three spots (underneath, and, if necessary at both spots 2 feet in), drive it with the sledge. If I could widen the crack, I'd switch to the pry-bar and drive that in. And then it was wiggle to extract, which also entailed hoisting the slab right out of the way for splitting. I found extracting slabs larger than 2-3' x 2-3' x 8-10" made for ineffective splitting, which meant sometimes having to break off splintered edges or split right in half vertically to have two separate, smaller splitting slabs.

 

I would discard some fairly decent-sized slab fragments in a very wide circle around me that would have contained trilobites, but I was focusing on assemblages and not singles. It wouldn't be long until I had a lot of people in that circle going through the discards (they were polite and sheepish at first until I said, "go for it! Some good stuff is still in there!"). It was great to see everyone, young and old, having a fantastic time with the occasional jubilant cry from a child, "Wow! Look at this coral!" or "Mama, look, I found a trilobite!" - and, of course, the very predictable, "but I wanna stay ten more minutes, please? I don't wanna go yet!"

 

I did, however, find that despite following along the initial bench, sticking close to the water table, the trilobite concentrations started thinning out, which made Sunday less productive (but more work intensive with slab-extracting). A slight dip or rise was showing more evidence of clusters of horn coral layer or brachiopods.

 

The volunteers really make the place. If they aren't right there poking around the discards, they are answering questions and giving people some nice finds. They are very engaging and helpful. It is also the most easily accessible place I've ever collected (those who hunt along the river in Hungry Hollow are well acquainted with the steep/slick slopes, thick underbrush and fallen trees, forcing one to be both a kind of mountain goat and a limbo artist). 

 

Although I can say I'm pretty impressed with how much I could extract, lift, and split, two days of that reminds me I'm not 20 any more. Back and arms feel pretty bashed up! Maybe hammering for hours subconsciously keeping rhythmic pace with the shooting range next door wasn't the greatest of ideas! That being said, PD is definitely a place I would return to again and again.

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Malcolmt

Yes we (Dave and I) did the run of about 20 feet by two feet on the very right hand side of the area that you could do a bench in. We removed two rows for most of that length that you could see. We had one area that was impossible to break out so we used the diamond saw for that area, but could only do it for a very short period of time when basically we were the only ones there. Can't use a saw when the kiddies are around. In previous years the trilo bearing layer had been much thicker this year in that area it was only about 18 inches and of that the first one or two inches had greenops and Phacops and the bottom two inches had phacops (I know its the old name but it is easier to type). The stuff in between was fairly devoid of anything other that isolated tails and heads.  The best assemblages are under the dome like structures in the matrix. From our weekend we probably got 25 to 40 complete trilos best plate probably has 5 on it. Dave and I do not take anything home anymore that does not have the potential to be 100% complete. We gave pretty much every kid there on our day at least one almost complete trilo.

There is one greenops with a damaged cephalon but the rest is likely there will know as I get around to prepping it. Be careful prepping your greenops they are far more fragile (flakey and softer) than the phacops that you can be pretty rough with,

 

Dave and I are thinking about going again sometime before the snow comes if you are interested.

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Kane

Definitely would be interested in coming along.

 

I did notice the "blank" space of mostly head and tails litter. Deb was working in the upper part above the compact slabs I was taking out closer to the bottom and was finding a bit more by volume. For me, the slabs were most productive in the upper 7-8th inch or the lower 1-2nd inch. The domed "floor" for us was blank when we chipped it up - just not great luck on those this time. And, yes, I know to be VERY careful around Greenops. They are as flaky and delicate as their Widder cousins. I once left some little hash plates of broken heads and tails out in the garden, and after a rain they were pretty much toast.

 

And speaking of prep, attaching some pics of my very first attempt at prep ever. I don't have the space or ventilation for an air scribe set-up, so I'm using dental picks, a Dremel engraver with a wide range of attachment bits. Not ideal, but thankfully the shale is very forgiving. Been focusing on getting excess off and getting a bunch of them into "stage 2."img-1468_orig.jpg

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Kane

Sorry, meant to post a before and after (or so far)

image.jpeg

image.jpeg

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DevonianDigger

Those are looking great! I'm still sorting through my finds as well. Found few interesting guys I'm working on now. Found a cephalon inside of another cephalon, proving to be a nightmare to prep out, lol.

 

@Malcolmt, @Kane, I've already spoken with Sarah, the head of the education department at the site about setting up a date for the group prior to winter. I will make a post about it.

 

 

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Malcolmt

Penn Members have access to the site anytime you just have to call the hot line and let them know you will be there even if its a day that they are closed. My very best days are when they are closed and can use the heavy duty tools.

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