Cluros

Two Week Collecting Trip: Idaho, Utah and Wyoming

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I got back last week from a two week collecting trip in Idaho, Utah and Wyoming with my wife and our two friends Bill and Jean. In addition to collecting, sunstones, topaz, agates and fluorescent minerals we collected Cambrian,Silurian, Jurassic, Cretaceous and Eocene fossils. We collected trilobites outside Delta, Utah and Liberty, Idaho, Marine fossils in Emigration and Riley Canyons in Utah and fossil fish in Kemmerer, Wyoming. The results of the trip was 15 boxes shipped home and many hours of preparation ahead of me. My friends came away with 13 boxes of fossils. If anyone wants tips for successful shipping of fossils please PM me as I learned a lot shipping with both USPS and UPS. Perhaps a post about shipping might be valuable. Photots from the trip will be posted at the end.

Our first fossil excursion was to U-Dig quarry. Within ten minutes of arriving my friend Bill found a beautiful Asaphiscus wheeleri molt. That was the start to a great day of collecting. By the end of the day my wife and I had a table covered with trimmed examples of all of the common trilobites. The highlights were Bill's Asaphiscus, a huge 2 inch Asaphiscus I found, two brown trilobites and a 1 3/4 Asiphicus my wife found in the discard pile as we were getting ready to leave. We left with four flat rate boxes in total.

 

After collecting in the Delta area for fossils and minerals we went back to our condo in Park City, Utah and visited Emigration Canyon for Jurassic marine fossils in Salt Lake and Riley Canyon, near Jericho, Utah. We found some brachiopods in Emigration Canyon but the fossils were not abundant. Our next stop was Riley Canyon for agatized horn coral. After a hike that resulted in a 3000 foot elevation change from 6000 to 9000 feet we eventually found the horn coral site. It wasn't what I expected. The searching involved looking for loose rock on the mountain among vegetation. While we found pieces of red agate, the agatized horn coral was elusive until my friend Bill found a nive 3 inch horn coral. We continued to search the area with little luck. By the time we left I found one small agatized horn coral and several chuncks. I did find one fossil that was mostly buried in matrix. At the time I thought it was a horn coral but imagine my surprise when I started prepping it and found that it was a large brachiopod. I do want to say that Riley Canyon material is one of the hardest materials I've ever prepped. The matrix is very stick and doesn't want to release from the fossil. It is also extremely difficult to remove with micro-abraision.

 

Our next excursion was to Spence Gulch outside of Liberty, Idaho for Cambrian fossils. Fortunately I had read many different directions to this locality, otherwise we wouldn't have found it. It was a solid miles walk from where we had to abandon our rental vehicle. My wife and I found the matrix at the site to be very similar in consistency and friability to Spring Creek material in Alden, New York. You definitely want to bring cyanoacrylate (super glue) or some other stabilization agent as well as foil to wrap your fossils in so that they dry slowly. Otherwise your prized fossil may be dust by the end of the day. As soon as we arrived at the site I found what looks like a partial Zacanthoides trilobite. By the end of the day our party had found three partials. Bill and I started the morning climbing the slope and excavating pieces where someone had exposed a flat section of rock outcropping. We were rewarded with trilobite pieces and a few hyoliths. We then moved to the base of the outcrop and started splitting small pieces of shale. By the end of the day we found about 20 complete Achlysopsis (at least that's what I think they are). By the end of the day we had a good representation of the Spence Shale.

 

Our last fossil excursion was to Forum member Sseth's fish quarry in Kemmerer, Wyoming. I want to start off by saying that the people working at his quarry are some of the nicest people I have ever met. They were very friendly and always checking in to see if we were having a successful trip. If you ever make it to Kemmerer to collect I have the following pieces of advice. Visit Fossil Butte National Monument Visitors Center first so you know what things look like. Bring boxes and packing material. Bring lots of water. Four people can drink a case of water by early afternoon. Bring sunscreen. Be ready for the dust. You will be covered in dust as will the interior of your rental vehicle or personal vehicle. We had such a good time at Sseth's quarry we actually went back a week later for another day of collecting. We had a lot of fun at his quarry. We came away with many individual fish and several plates of multiples. Most of the fish were larger than three inches and we came away with at least five different species of fish. Our largest fish were a 10 inch Diplomystus my wife and I extracted from a very large rock and an 8 inch Phareodus my friend Bill found in the discard pile splitting discarded rock. While we were there Sseth was excavating a turtle and while excavating it they found a second one. 

Photos will follow.

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Our finds at the end of the day.

IMG_20170627_140600313_HDR.jpg

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Posted (edited)

UDig Trip Photos

Please see photos later in the post. I was having internet issues apparently yesterday.

Edited by Cluros

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Posted (edited)

Riley Canyon, Utah

Please see photos later in the post. I was having internet issues apparently yesterday.

riley brach prep

riley brach

riley canyon (1)

Edited by Cluros

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Posted (edited)

 

Please see photos later in the post. I was having internet issues apparently yesterday.

 

Edited by Cluros

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Posted (edited)

Please see photos later in the post. I was having internet issues apparently yesterday.

 

 

Edited by Cluros

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Nice trip report.Did you get a chance to hunt the spence shale in Utah or no?  Unable to view any of the pictures that are downloads. 

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So glad you had a great time at the quarry.  We enjoyed having you there.  We managed to get the turtles both out.  They will each be about 4-5 feet long.  The first is a Chisternon undulatum fully articulated, and 7 inches above it was a Trionychid sp?  My father also found another turtle that weekend which appears to be a new species.  It is only 6 inches long.  Great weekend.

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Great report.  I cakn't see the pix either.

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Nice report.

I also can not see the pictures.

 

Glad You had a good time and found so much material.

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Would love to see your pictures especially since I will be visiting Seth's quarry in August.

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Just now, minnbuckeye said:

Would love to see your pictures especially since I will be visiting Seth's quarry in August.

When?

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1 minute ago, Raggedy Man said:

When?

 

Just before the solar eclipse. We will stay in Jackson for the eclipse.

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6 minutes ago, minnbuckeye said:

 

Just before the solar eclipse. We will stay in Jackson for the eclipse.

Any plans on being in Utah or Idaho? I actually have almost the same trip as Cluros planned at the same time for the eclipse, but I have a few different sites for the Spence shale. 

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We fly in to Salt Lake City, then drive to Wyoming. So that is the extent of Utah that I will be seeing.Other than 2 days at Seth's quarry, I am spending my time with Jeanette on non fossiliferous ground doing a few things she wants to in and around the Tetons. When will you be at Kemmerer?

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Here are the Delta, Utah photos finally. Not sure why they wouldn't load yesterday. The first photo is my friends Asaphiscus trilobite. The second  is of the crew collecting and the last is my 2 inch Asaphiscus trilobite.IMG_20170627_100542168-567x1008.thumb.jpg.3875921f5d85fde7ab20a092cfe9b953.jpgIMG_20170627_092711962_HDR-1008x567.thumb.jpg.9008b6466167d8810277eb0a41f40145.jpg

IMG_20170717_081104285-1008x567.thumb.jpg.53328a7de9537038a3f2aa63e9951b00.jpg

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The first photo is of the group heading up Riley Canyon for agatized horn coral. The second is of the fossil I originally thought was a buried horn coral and the third photo is of the same fossil partially prepped. Obviously my field I'd was wrong.

IMG_20170629_102343714-1008x567.thumb.jpg.d1c313eaa5beef0526308a711a5f118b.jpgIMG_20170629_191259929-567x1008.thumb.jpg.422688c76797b5f87a8644ecb9d71eb9.jpgIMG_20170717_081022398-567x1008.thumb.jpg.c7697f331d526f42d8f9edb34d7d81d8.jpg

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Below are photos from Spence Gulch near Liberty, Idaho. I believe the first trilobite is Achlysopsis and the second is Zacanthoides. Any thoughts on ID would be appreciated. Both trilobites are 15-20 mm long.

IMG_20170702_140105226-1008x567.thumb.jpg.bd17ddbbdde2ab2e704df2fac9740dc6.jpgIMG_20170710_162415042-567x1008.thumb.jpg.a488ac9690ffafe77f79a03b14559c32.jpgIMG_20170717_080911219-567x1008.thumb.jpg.4cf7fe7b69564f228e983eb224e8b84a.jpg

 

 

 

IMG_20170702_140105226-1008x567.jpg

IMG_20170710_162415042-567x1008.jpg

IMG_20170717_080911219-567x1008.jpg

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Below are photos of the group collecting fossil fish at Seth's quarry. The second photo is of my wife with one of her fish.The third photo is of Bill's Phareodus he found splitting rock in the junk pile. The fourth photo is of random pieces on the quarry floor. The fifth photo is of a small percentage of our finds. Certainly not our best. Some we're damaged during transport. The last photo shows where I stepped out of my shoes and left dust foot prints. I was not prepared for the dust.

IMG_20170630_100503991-1008x567.thumb.jpg.e91f38fbcf46ed775d16582a935665f6.jpg

IMG_20170630_131220372-567x1008.thumb.jpg.70f861a8d94437dd762f91b881cfbfa7.jpgIMG_20170630_180422058-1008x567.thumb.jpg.c6280fa1d701aee906e8bb3c6d5eb4b6.jpgIMG_20170630_121900982-1008x567.thumb.jpg.6caf31847b23eed68ee0b5dbe356cd98.jpgIMG_20170716_180056440-1008x567.thumb.jpg.55c638fee610d01b58d891eca0536217.jpgIMG_20170630_212912670-567x1008.thumb.jpg.41a6a672e9d948bd0019effac06bb85e.jpg

IMG_20170630_121900982-1008x567.jpg

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On 17/7/2017 at 10:21 AM, Cluros said:

I got back last week from a two week collecting trip in Idaho, Utah and Wyoming with my wife and our two friends Bill and Jean. In addition to collecting, sunstones, topaz, agates and fluorescent minerals we collected Cambrian,Silurian, Jurassic, Cretaceous and Eocene fossils. We collected trilobites outside Delta, Utah and Liberty, Idaho, Marine fossils in Emigration and Riley Canyons in Utah and fossil fish in Kemmerer, Wyoming. The results of the trip was 15 boxes shipped home and many hours of preparation ahead of me. My friends came away with 13 boxes of fossils. If anyone wants tips for successful shipping of fossils please PM me as I learned a lot shipping with both USPS and UPS. Perhaps a post about shipping might be valuable. Photots from the trip will be posted at the end.

Our first fossil excursion was to U-Dig quarry. Within ten minutes of arriving my friend Bill found a beautiful Asaphiscus wheeleri molt. That was the start to a great day of collecting. By the end of the day my wife and I had a table covered with trimmed examples of all of the common trilobites. The highlights were Bill's Asaphiscus, a huge 2 inch Asaphiscus I found, two brown trilobites and a 1 3/4 Asiphicus my wife found in the discard pile as we were getting ready to leave. We left with four flat rate boxes in total.

 

After collecting in the Delta area for fossils and minerals we went back to our condo in Park City, Utah and visited Emigration Canyon for Jurassic marine fossils in Salt Lake and Riley Canyon, near Jericho, Utah. We found some brachiopods in Emigration Canyon but the fossils were not abundant. Our next stop was Riley Canyon for agatized horn coral. After a hike that resulted in a 3000 foot elevation change from 6000 to 9000 feet we eventually found the horn coral site. It wasn't what I expected. The searching involved looking for loose rock on the mountain among vegetation. While we found pieces of red agate, the agatized horn coral was elusive until my friend Bill found a nive 3 inch horn coral. We continued to search the area with little luck. By the time we left I found one small agatized horn coral and several chuncks. I did find one fossil that was mostly buried in matrix. At the time I thought it was a horn coral but imagine my surprise when I started prepping it and found that it was a large brachiopod. I do want to say that Riley Canyon material is one of the hardest materials I've ever prepped. The matrix is very stick and doesn't want to release from the fossil. It is also extremely difficult to remove with micro-abraision.

 

Our next excursion was to Spence Gulch outside of Liberty, Idaho for Cambrian fossils. Fortunately I had read many different directions to this locality, otherwise we wouldn't have found it. It was a solid miles walk from where we had to abandon our rental vehicle. My wife and I found the matrix at the site to be very similar in consistency and friability to Spring Creek material in Alden, New York. You definitely want to bring cyanoacrylate (super glue) or some other stabilization agent as well as foil to wrap your fossils in so that they dry slowly. Otherwise your prized fossil may be dust by the end of the day. As soon as we arrived at the site I found what looks like a partial Zacanthoides trilobite. By the end of the day our party had found three partials. Bill and I started the morning climbing the slope and excavating pieces where someone had exposed a flat section of rock outcropping. We were rewarded with trilobite pieces and a few hyoliths. We then moved to the base of the outcrop and started splitting small pieces of shale. By the end of the day we found about 20 complete Achlysopsis (at least that's what I think they are). By the end of the day we had a good representation of the Spence Shale.

 

Our last fossil excursion was to Forum member Sseth's fish quarry in Kemmerer, Wyoming. I want to start off by saying that the people working at his quarry are some of the nicest people I have ever met. They were very friendly and always checking in to see if we were having a successful trip. If you ever make it to Kemmerer to collect I have the following pieces of advice. Visit Fossil Butte National Monument Visitors Center first so you know what things look like. Bring boxes and packing material. Bring lots of water. Four people can drink a case of water by early afternoon. Bring sunscreen. Be ready for the dust. You will be covered in dust as will the interior of your rental vehicle or personal vehicle. We had such a good time at Sseth's quarry we actually went back a week later for another day of collecting. We had a lot of fun at his quarry. We came away with many individual fish and several plates of multiples. Most of the fish were larger than three inches and we came away with at least five different species of fish. Our largest fish were a 10 inch Diplomystus my wife and I extracted from a very large rock and an 8 inch Phareodus my friend Bill found in the discard pile splitting discarded rock. While we were there Sseth was excavating a turtle and while excavating it they found a second one. 

Photos will follow.

Hi, im going in november to utah, can you tell me more where can I find fossiles? Im from Argentina. Thank you

 

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Wow truly amazing stuff. I wish my health was better so I could get back out more often. But being able to see the items being found is refreshing. Continued luck in future hunts.

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Hi Navajo,

You don't say where you are going in Utah. Here is a link to a Google Map that should help you. https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?mid=1u68C4Yn5MDqdj2ojV5hV9bmX4Fs&hl=en_US&ll=39.75599654365696%2C-111.60724149999999&z=6 I would recommend that you visit the U-Dig trilobite quarry and if you are in northern Utah, take a trip to Kemmerer, Wyoming for fossil fish. Hope this helps. In November many places may be closed or covered in snow at the higher elevations.

Andy 

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Hi Andy,

Great trip report. Sounds like you, your wife, and your friends had an exceptional time. Love the photos of the locales and your finds, especially the two trilos from Spence Gulch. EXCELLENT!!!! Congratulations and thanks for sharing.

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@Cluros excellent report. Been meaning to hit that Idaho site. Your Asaphiscus is a large molt but your friends appears to be complete. Very large, nice specimens.

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Thank you for posting this great trip report and pictures, Andy!

Looks like you did really well, and found some amazing treasures. 

Everything a fossil adventure should be. :) 

Regards,

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