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Sacha

Yankeetown after the storm...September 7, 2016

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Sacha

I needed to break the monotony of waiting for the rivers to go down after the storm, so I thought I'd go to the spoil islands near Yankeetown, FL to see what the storm surge churned up. I'm always looking for sea urchins, but usually find the normal sea biscuits (Eupatagus antillarium) and small sand dollars instead. This spot is Eocene Inglis formation, and a pleasant spot to spend a sunny morning.

 

I felt pretty guilty that I didn't even think of how the village of Yankeetown faired during the storm until I got there and saw everything piled by the road for trash pick-up. Looks like everything on the first floors got flooded. Lots of trees down as well. They are only a couple feet above sea level so the surge really did a number on them.

 

So the spoil islands were freshened up allot, so the sea biscuits were everywhere. I tried to stop picking them up, but I don't have allot of control over my actions. Here's a shot of the beach showing the rubble contain the echinoids.

 

DSCF1196.jpg

 

and here's a close-up of a small section showing the quantity of sea biscuits in the mix.

 

DSCF1203.jpg

 

The highlight of the day was when a pod of dolphins were herding a school of mullet up nearly to the beach. I missed all the good shots of the fish jumping and the dolphin scooping them up, but they got very close to me in as little as a foot of water.

 

DSCF1199.jpg

 

Very cool.

 

I do have a couple items from this morning that I need help identifying. I'll add them in following entry.

Edited by Sacha

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Sacha

Here are the items I picked up thinking at first that they were the outer whorls of large gastropods. After the third one, that seemed unlikely, but all of them do have an identical feature you can clearly see on the underside of the rightmost rusty colored example. It looks like a bivalve shell embedded in the whorl.

 

DSCF1206.jpg

 

DSCF1208.jpg

 

I hope someone familiar with this formation can give me some insight.

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Pagurus

Wow. What an experience, especially the dolphins. That beach full of echinoids is incredible. I guess there is a bright side after a storm, though I do feel sorry for the local residents.

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digit

I still haven't gotten out to those offshore spoil piles and sometime soon looks to be a good time to be there with the turnover in materials due to the storm.

 

I'm wondering if your mystery items are internal casts (steinkerns) of larger gastropods--something the size of a modern day conch?

 

Any echinoderms other than our illustrious nearly-official state fossil found on the newly churned spoil islands?

 

 

Cheers.

-Ken

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Sacha

 I felt like an idiot, Mike. DeLand got so little from the storm, it didn't even cross my mind.

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Khyssa

Looks like you had a pretty good day minus overlooking the possibility of encountering storm damage.  I too need to get out there particularly since it's located so close to me.

 

Kara

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old bones

Those echinoids look like they were planted there, they are so well preserved. ... they look like plaster casts.  The beach looks like an ankle twister. It's so neat that you got so close the feeding dolphins. :) 

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FossilDudeCO

No prep needed on those bad boys!

Glad you made it through the storm safe John.

I was thinking of everyone down there. Thankfully it seems the storm wasn't too terrible for most!

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Sacha
14 hours ago, digit said:

Any echinoderms other than our illustrious nearly-official state fossil found on the newly churned spoil islands?

 

 

Cheers.

-Ken

 

Nothing out of the ordinary Ken. This day was all about quantity, not variety.

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Coco

Hi,

 

Sacha, may we see a pic of your sea urchins found ? Please ! :P

 

Coco

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ynot

Nice day on the beach. Love it when extant life shows up and puts on a show while fossil hunting!

Thanks for sharing the adventure.

Tony

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Sacha
6 hours ago, Coco said:

Hi,

 

Sacha, may we see a pic of your sea urchins found ? Please ! :P

 

Coco

 

 

Your wish is my command Coco:

 

DSCF1210.jpg

 

And here is another shot of my unknowns with the common feature I described more apparent in the sun.

 

DSCF1212.jpg

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Coco

Woh ! All these little biscuits ! Miam ! :P

 

Thanks for these pics (I can't help you on the other things).

 

Coco

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FossilDudeCO

Hey John,

How do you go about cleaning those biscuits?

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Sacha
1 hour ago, FossilDudeCO said:

Hey John,

How do you go about cleaning those biscuits?

 

Blake, if I need a perfect one I soak them in bleach for a while. That's it. Some still have a little matrix on them, but I leave them alone now, since so many are perfect when they are found on the beach. The limestone is very soft and the biscuits are a little harder so the wave action works like a tumbler and does the prep for me.

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digit

The tests of the echinoids seem to be made of harder stuff than the softer limestone matrix. I've managed to clean the matrix off some Yankeetown echinoids by using a toothbrush with some acid. I experimented on ones that were a bit crushed and had bits of matrix hanging off them. I tried different acids from pretty mild white vinegar to lemon juice to stronger stuff like muriatic acid (hydrochloric acid) used for washing down bricks to remove excess mortar, among other things. You'll get quite the carbon dioxide fizz when brushing with muriatic (use gloves) just like when you were a kid and you learned in science class on how to mix acids and bases by tossing in some baking soda into vinegar.

 

Even the stronger muriatic seemed to work well to soften and remove external matrix when brushed onto problem areas. I'd not recommend long soaks in any acids as the test is really only a thin "eggshell" and the internal volume of the fossil is filled with the same limestone matrix as you are trying to remove from the outside. A prolonged soak would likely start attacking the matrix from both sides resulting in a fragile fossil.

 

If you do try acid cleaning echinoderms, do it on your less perfect specimens first to test the process. Also, the acid will stay in the porous material long after a quick rinse and your echinoids will develop a white powdery fuzz if you don't soak them for some time in several changes of fresh water. A little baking soda in the water wouldn't hurt to neutralize the remaining acid.

 

Like John says, the Yankeetown echinoids separate out from the matrix pretty cleanly and require little if any post processing.

 

 

Cheers.

 

-Ken

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hoffy

Sacha,

 

I've been wanting to check those spoil islands for years and you've motivated me to go maybe even as soon as this week. Did you use the boat ramp at the end of Hwy 40? I was looking at that ramp or the one at US19 at the canal.  What is the water depth, can I use a full size boat or should I take a canoe?

 

Thanks,

Dave

Quote

 

 

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Al Dente

I think your gastropod steinkerns are from more than one species. The one in the lower left is probably Velates.

 

I've been to these spoil islands several times and have seen the dolphins feeding on mullet. I have also seen an otter there. Fun place to collect.

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Sacha
7 hours ago, hoffy said:

Sacha,

 Did you use the boat ramp at the end of Hwy 40? I was looking at that ramp or the one at US19 at the canal.  What is the water depth, can I use a full size boat or should I take a canoe?

 

Thanks,

Dave

 

 

Dave, I take a kayak from the boat ramp at the end of 40. The water on the north side of the islands is shallow and generally calm while the deeper water south is the channel that gets allot of traffic so a bigger boat is more work (anchoring and keeping it off the rocky beach). You could do either though  if you wanted to. Check the tide tables for the mouth of the Withlacoochee and shoot for low tide. Take a camera.

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hoffy

Sacha,

Thanks for the info.

Dave 

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Sacha

 

Man o man! Thanks Mike. I had given up on getting an ID on these.

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MikeR
46 minutes ago, Sacha said:

 

Man o man! Thanks Mike. I had given up on getting an ID on these.

 

I've been offline quite a bit lately and just now catching up on what I've missed this weekend.

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