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Fossil-Hound

Since my move to Utah two weeks ago I have been dying to return to U-Dig. My wife allowed me to go on one condition, that I would be back home by 3:30 in time for her brothers farewell party as he is going on his Mormon mission next Wednesday. I ended up calling Shayne the quarry owner, explaining my dilemma and asked him if I could start digging at 7:00 am, two hours before the site opened. Surprisingly he approved and I called Bevan. Bevan was going to man the station at U-Dig so Shayne wanted me to give him a heads up. I awoke on Saturday morning at 3:30 am and hit the road at 3:45. I was at the site by 6:45 and digging by 7:00 am just in time to see the sun come up over the hills and the sun rays radiate off of the storm clouds from an early morning storm. Had a phenomenal trip. Dug up fifteen Asaphiscus wheeleri, eight Elrathia kingii, and one Perenopsis. If you ever get the chance to dig here do it. You will not come away disappointed. I met a gentleman named Nick from Syracuse, New York and we talked about all the neat sites in western New York, primarily Penn Dixie. Bevan volunteered me to show three guys who had never dug the Windom shale on how to find good trilobites. We all walked away with some great finds.

 

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Breathtaking view at sunrise. Notice the dispersing rain clouds. An omen for a perfect day.

 

 

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I certainly miss Calvert Cliffs in Maryland along with some other eastern coast marine fossil locations but the view here in Utah is absolutely sublime. The nothingness of the desert has a certain beauty to it. Witnessed two antelope on my way out and one of them was matching the speed of my car at 40-45 MPH these amazing animals can top out at 55 MPH and they need to be that fast because Mountain Lions also referred to as Cougars or Puma top out at 50 MPH. I was certainly on the lookout for scorpion, rattlesnake, and Cougars but didn't see any. Rattlesnake seem to be the most common and dangerous.

 

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An assortment of Asaphiscus and Elrathia. Most are molts but some are complete or near complete. The bottom left is complete (2 inch) and bottom right is near complete. Both are Asaphiscus wheeleri and large for their size.

 

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This is the find of the day and more uncommon than Elrathia kingii. This is a prone two inch Asaphiscus wheeleri. Bevan noted there is some oxidation but that could be prepped off. Not sure what to do with it. Might need to send this one to a professional *cough* @Malcolmt *cough* though I do owe some of these to my other Canadian friend *cough* @Kane *cough

 

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Disarticulated Elrathia kingii. I normally don't see them like this and there are some orange flakes where the top side broke off. I believe this one is a complete specimen and not a molt. Interesting preservation for this specimen.

 

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Found this large Elrathia kingii out in the open next to a bunch of rock with hammer marks. Someone must have been splitting rock and this specimen popped out.

 

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Not the best Asaphiscus but should make for some good preparation practice.

 

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Large Asaphicus wheeleri molt. For most of the day I was targeting these as opposed to the more common Elrathia kingii and found a really good location where a bunch of Asaphiscus where colocated.

 

 

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1.5 inch Elrathia kingii. Should prep out nicely from a gentle dremmel brush.

 

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Another near two inch A. wheeleri. This one appears to be a molt.

 

 

 

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The disarticulated E. kingii.

 

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A collection of E. kingii. Most are molts. One large slab contained about fifteen of these but I didn't want to haul it back to the car. It was a great day.

 

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E. kingii. Should be complete. Needs some prep work.

 

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Close up of the big one.

 

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Large Asaphiscus molt and there appears to be another inverted over to the left.

 

 

 

 

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The yellow color on this Asaphiscus is interesting and I believe Bevan said this was oxidation. I'll need to do some more research as to why this happens.

 

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This would have been a phenomenal specimen but the glabella is missing. I'll give it to a friend.

 

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Disarticulated Asaphiscus molt.

 

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Elrathia that should prep nicely.

 

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This one is interesting. It appears to be a complete Asaphiscus but is inverted revealing the ventral side. If anyone is up for a prep challenge let me know and I'll send this to you.The color is a dark brown and should make for a very nice specimen.

 

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Love the brown color on this Asaphiscus. They usually don't come in this color and the brown is a result of oxidation.

 

 

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Another E. kingii in need of some prep love.

 

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Sometimes you'll find what I call ghosts where the specimen is preserved under a thin layer of shale. These generally prep out well albeit this one is a partial molt. Saving it for some prep practice.

 

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Some more molts.

 

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Partial Asaphiscus that will make for some good prep practice.

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Fossil-Hound

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A personal favorite is the tiny Peronopsis. Not sure what the exact species is but these look really neat. Found one slab with five a few months ago and was trying to find some more of these. I'll probably send this beauty off to @Kane but it's on a large slab of shale so I need to figure out how to carefully extract it. These are very tiny trilobites.

 

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Close up of the near complete Asaphiscus. Beautiful brown color.

 

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Close up of one of the larger Elrathia kingii. I'll need to get a cheap dremel and brush off the top.

 

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Molts aren't complete but they do look pretty. Gave some large Asaphiscus molts to a few guys that where really struggling. They were so excited to get them. By the time I left at noon about three new cars full of families showed up for a day of digging. Good times all around.

 

 

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Looks like You had a good trip to the u-dig site!

I like digging in the wheeler shale, it has such nice preservation. (and lots of trilobites!)

I use a dental pick and a pin vice to do the prep on these bugs, then finish with a toothbrush and some toothpaste.

See this thread...

 

 

  • I found this Informative 1
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Fossil-Hound

@ynot that does look good. Bevan recommended a light dremel brush along with buffering the Fossil with some mineral oil. Perhaps I'll get a dremel for Christmas. That should keep me away from boredom Island this winter.

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Great stuff! I've ordered shale from them and have nothing but good things to say. Can't wait to get out there myself.

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Looks like an amazing day.... sure wish my wife would take a trip out west someday instead of always going to sunny Mexico.....

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Fossil-Hound

@Malcolmt tell her it's sunny in Utah. :D I need to send you some of these! After I move I'll mail some out. Should be fun to prepare some of these out. How do I remove the iron or oxidization without damaging the fossil? I was thinking about purchasing a dremel 8820 (they are about $100) and doing some light preparation with a brush bit and some mineral oil. I wonder if that will wash off the oxidation. Perhaps I could use a tooth brush with some baking soda to remove it but I don't want to ruin that large Asaphiscus nor am I confident enough to apply @ynot usage of dental picks as the last time I did that it ended up damaging the glabella.

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Ptychodus04

Very nice @Fossil-Hound! They will certainly give you something to play with this winter!

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Nothin like going fossil hunting and bringing home a bunch of new rocks to play with.  Nice haul.

 

RB

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  • 2 weeks later...
Sagebrush Steve
On 7/31/2017 at 7:59 AM, Fossil-Hound said:

@Malcolmt tell her it's sunny in Utah. :D I need to send you some of these! After I move I'll mail some out. Should be fun to prepare some of these out. How do I remove the iron or oxidization without damaging the fossil? I was thinking about purchasing a dremel 8820 (they are about $100) and doing some light preparation with a brush bit and some mineral oil. I wonder if that will wash off the oxidation. Perhaps I could use a tooth brush with some baking soda to remove it but I don't want to ruin that large Asaphiscus nor am I confident enough to apply @ynot usage of dental picks as the last time I did that it ended up damaging the glabella.

I think you meant a Dremel 8220, as I can't find an 8820.  Did you get it?  If so, how do you like it?  I'm trying to work out a way to get to U-Dig before they close for the season.  Last time I was there was over 10 years ago.  Would be nice to do the prep with something better than a handheld wire brush.

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Fossil-Hound
2 hours ago, Sagebrush Steve said:

I think you meant a Dremel 8220, as I can't find an 8820.  Did you get it?  If so, how do you like it?  I'm trying to work out a way to get to U-Dig before they close for the season.  Last time I was there was over 10 years ago.  Would be nice to do the prep with something better than a handheld wire brush.

Yeah I'll setup a nice prep lab this winter and skip the 8220. It's a great place to find trilobites.

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Fossil-Hound
18 minutes ago, Darktooth said:

Great finds! Nice report!

 

Thanks man!

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Glad to see you are enjoying brand new fossil opportunities in your new location.:)

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