Jump to content
AmmoniteDelight

My first trip to North Sulphur River 1-10-18

Recommended Posts

AmmoniteDelight

:ammonite01: Hello fellow creek crawlers and rock hounders!:ammonite01:

 

I am not dead LOL! After a 3 year hiatus I am happy to be back here on the first forum I have ever
joined posting my secret guilty pleasures which are of course...fossils. So
the reason I am back is I finally found a peer here in Texas who is a
Biologist with a huge love for paleontology to go on trips with (remember
I'm from Indiana) and we have always wanted to go to the North Sulphur
River in the middle of Texas winter, arguably the best season for fossiling
here! No venomous snakes out and no bugs. 

So we made an impromptu trip from Princeton to Ladonia on the tenth because
my friend and I were craving an adventure for a chance to find mosasaur
bones. I was so surprised it now takes literally 1 hour to get there versus
about 8 years ago, when I first moved here, I swore google maps said it
took almost 3 hours! I was so happy to read that and we arrived there in
what felt like only a 20 minute drive. No fast food places or Walmarts on
the way, just really old towns lost in time and country fields. After
almost a decade of wanting to see this place I finally saw the river!

 

yyteaZ1l.jpg

 

HPfHEQjl.jpg


The stairs absolutely killed me, let me tell ya! I'm in my late 20's and
pretty active but those stairs made my legs  and knees so sore I had to crawl up
and down them and days later still in pain. Each step is nearly half a
meter tall and there are no rail guards on top of it being muddy and
slippery. It was far easier to use the mess wire to climb up and down the
cliff bank. I'm glad I decided not to bring my family with me because I can't imagine them trying to go down the stairs,

it was so hard to get down even for 3 adults!

8PeJsDKl.jpg

 

ivdMLPrl.jpg

 

Look at this cool ammonite impression in the shale! It was too crumbly and
wet to extract so we just left them because they would break.

26rmStbm.jpg

 

lMuynnhm.jpg


We decided to stay near the bridge in case of rain and hugged the exposed
silt beds and gravel bars in the middle. We knew it was probably over-picked
but I had hope. I tried to stay close to the "red zones" instead of the
muddy shale.  So we didn't go far from the stairs, just under the bridge in
the pictures. The river was super low in fact there was little water but
anything wet was near freezing temperature. We got stuck in the mud and I
even had no choice but to walk through the ice water to retrieve my shoes
LOL next time I'm bringing the high wader rubber boots because it was the worst
having near freezing wet socks for hours. I was stupid and didn't bring my
sieve or trowel so we picked from on top. Honestly I really didn't know
what to look for except for black bone and baculite pieces as I have no
experience with the Ozan formation or shale. I'm used to picking for shark
teeth in gravel at Post Oak creek up in Sherman, Texas or
coral/ brachiopods in limestone or silica in Indiana. Everything here was
different colors in the dirt and it was overwhelming but useful. I had this
instinct to stick to the gravel beds in the middle (where I found all of my
finds!) although I was interested in the exposed red walls of the river
bank. I was wondering if a sieve and geologist hammer would be a good idea
and have a go at the walls next time we visit. Any pointers where to look
for next time would be kindly appreciated!


I7l2kUcl.jpg
Omanyte with an ammonite aka Helix Fossil 
Moving onto my finds!

My colleague found these massive baculites, some pretty black internal
moulds of shells, and shark teeth.
22eI78cm.jpg

 

My finds! I think I did okay for a picked over location at the
entrance and no sieve. We only stayed for maybe two hours at most and
again I had no idea what to look for. I need help with some IDs! I have 7
pieces of bone I am interested in, they look like marine reptile bones
which is exciting! I'm sorry if my pictures are bad or need resized! I haven't 

been on a forum in years and I forget how to do everything. I am also

uploading from my phone so I might have to edit photo or text spacing later. 


zEOwvohl.jpg

 

qww0mxml.jpg

 

jF97kLBl.jpg

 

8G5bLi5l.jpg

n70iR39l.jpg

G. Please tell me this is something cool! I'm hoping this is a sea turtle shell piece with tooth marks on it!

 

 

DZia6zQl.jpg

WTH is this......?

 

TCd6i15l.jpg?1

 

Kp1qQFSl.jpg

 

7p1rLa8l.jpg

 

gmn724ql.jpg

 

ZSgVIW2l.jpg?1

 

JAzkfeDl.jpg?1

 

LruUGJ1l.jpg?1


Here is what I think they are.... 
A. Mosasaur "wrist" bone?
B. Mosasaur or other marine reptile "finger" phalanges bone
C. Mosasaur or other marine reptile "finger" phalanges bone
D. marine reptile bone- possible tooth?
E. unidentified marine reptile bone
F. Marine reptile bone? (one of the curved bones near the eye socket?)
G. Cretaceous sea turtle shell fragment!? (Has predator tooth marks!)
H. ??? marine reptile tail bone piece?

I. Fish vert

J. Fish or small marine reptile vert

K.Leptostyrax tooth

L. Squali tooth

M. Arrowhead Fragment

N.??? Internal mould of a tree branch? It has a branching structure but it doesn't look like coral to me

O. Corprolite? :D 

P.??? Help me with this one! Is it a rudist?

Q. Baculites baculites baculites. 

R. Fossilized mouse incisor (recent)

S. Cretaceous tube worms? They were everywhere to I stopped picking them up.

T. ??? Coral?

U. Petrified Wood

V. Ammonite impression on shale

W. internal snail shell mould

X. Plicatula shell? 

 

RGz9jchl.jpg

 

:hammer01: Overall I loved the whole experience and when it warms up a little bit I will definitely head back out here! This is my new favorite fossil spot I have ever been to! I love the Cretaceous life fossils and the arrowheads found here are also very nice. Even if you don't like fossils there are neat stones, artifacts, and animals to find! 

 

Things I learned to help others plan a trip here:

-The "Fossil Park" entrance to the river in Ladonia, Texas is the best place to park since it's FREE and open 24 hours/all days of the year.  

- Come here in Winter so there aren't any snakes or bugs

-Make sure to bring your own food and water bottles as there are NO restaurants or stores nearby for 13 miles. Also bring TP in case you need to "go" in the woods.

- IT WILL BE MUDDY! Bring an extra pair of clothes, shoes, socks, towels, etc if you plan on staying the day there. WEAR RUBBER BOOTS! I ruined my running shoes completely and had to fish them out of mud. I recondmend steel toe high-wader boots, after this trip I went to walmart and got a pair of tight fitting 16" wader boots for only $20 to use for next time! Also helps protect your legs from bugs, briar, snake bites, etc. 

- If you are like me and kneel in dirt or lay on gravel looking for fossils on the top exposed earth- bring some knee pads! 

- The stairs are very steep and will make you sore so be sure to do stretches and go down slowly

-Use a long walking stick to test which parts of the river you can walk on. Example is that there are areas of one inch water you can walk across, but be careful as its tricky! Sometimes the shale is solid rock and other areas where it is just straight-up mud inches down and you will sink. 

- I recommend bringing a sieve and trowel! 

-Bring first aid kit and medicines like epipen if you have bee allergies. I also brought asprin, allergy pills, tums, etc. 

-There are wild pigs in this area, I saw boar or even javelina (not actually a pig) foot prints in the mud! 

-There are arrowheads, beads, and mammal fossils here! Not just marine Cretaceous fossils! Bring a backpack or container for your cool finds.

- Do not go here if there is rain in the forecast or if it has recently rained a lot. The river cliff banks look like they could easily make mudslides and the river may fill up fast. 

-Don't go alone! Safety in numbers! I still can't decide if this is a good place to bring children or not, personally I wouldn't,  but if you are an adult at least take another adult with you! There is no hospital nearby and I had poor cell phone service. You will need to fend for yourself with wild animal encounters and the geology here. It is very steep and muddy. In case of wild animals (wild pigs specifically) if you don't have a gun at least bring something to scare off animals and defend yourself with. I brought bear mace, airhorns, flares, and a hunting knife just in case. You will probably never use them but better safe and prepared! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
digit

Welcome back to the matrix (um, I mean, forum). Glad to have another enthusiastic member join the collective. I know possibly less than zero about NSR though it is on my fossil bucket list as soon as I find the time to make it to Texas. In the meantime I expect you to become a local expert so that you can guide us around when we finally make it out there. ;)

 

Loved the style of this trip report and look forward to seeing many more in the future.

 

 

Cheers.

 

-Ken

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Fruitbat

Welcome back to The Fossil Forum!  Great trip report  It looks like you found a nice assortment of typical North Sulphur River fossils, though I'm a little surprised that I don't see any examples of the great Exogyra clam shell fossils that practically litter many places along the river.  The specimens you designated with the letter 'S' are indeed worm tubes, specifically from the genus Hamulus which, as you noted, are abundant on the NSR.

 

I'll add another suggestion for potential NSR explorers:

 

Don't go alone!  There are plenty of places along that river where the mud is significantly more than 'inches' deep.  I had the displeasure of finding one of them...literally sinking up to my waist in thick, gooey mud.  I never would have been able to get out of it on my own.  Fortunately I was there with a couple of buddies who retrieved a long rappelling rope from my truck and used it to haul me rather unceremoniously out of the muck!  If they hadn't been there, I might still be...and that was back in the 1980s!

 

-Joe

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
digit
12 minutes ago, Fruitbat said:

Don't go alone!  There are plenty of places along that river where the mud is significantly more than 'inches' deep.  I had the displeasure of finding one of them...literally sinking up to my waist in thick, gooey mud.  I never would have been able to get out of it on my own.  Fortunately I was there with a couple of buddies who retrieved a long rappelling rope from my truck and used it to haul me rather unceremoniously out of the muck!  If they hadn't been there, I might still be...and that was back in the 1980s!

Well noted warning. Be safe out there.

 

Cheers.

 

-Ken

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
AmmoniteDelight
9 minutes ago, Fruitbat said:

Welcome back to The Fossil Forum!  Great trip report  It looks like you found a nice assortment of typical North Sulphur River fossils, though I'm a little surprised that I don't see any examples of the great Exogyra clam shell fossils that practically litter many places along the river.  The specimens you designated with the letter 'S' are indeed worm tubes, specifically from the genus Hamulus which, as you noted, are abundant on the NSR.

 

I'll add another suggestion for potential NSR explorers:

 

Don't go alone!  There are plenty of places along that river where the mud is significantly more than 'inches' deep.  I had the displeasure of finding one of them...literally sinking up to my waist in thick, gooey mud.  I never would have been able to get out of it on my own.  Fortunately I was there with a couple of buddies who retrieved a long rappelling rope from my truck and used it to haul me rather unceremoniously out of the muck!  If they hadn't been there, I might still be...and that was back in the 1980s!

 

-Joe

Thank you very much for the info fruit bat! Yikes i didnt know the mud got that deep in certain areas! Can I ask where from the Fossil Park enterance I might start to find exogyra? Like so and so meters left or right from the stairs if you know? ;P Someone may have took home all the shells they could find, oh no! We really didnt see a single one! 

 

Do you also have any tips where to look for mosie teeth either in the red zone walls or gravel? I want to go back soon with a fruitful haul! 

 

Thank you for the ID on the tube worms! I want sure f thats what they were but I'm glad I have confirmation! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Fruitbat

Actually...when I'm on the North Sulphur River, I spend more time in the area around the Hwy 24 bridge (N of Commerce, TX) and in the area around Ben Franklin, TX than I do near Ladonia.  The major disadvantages of both of those places are the lack of anyplace to park (except along the side of the road) and the lack of any hint of easy access.  Those disadvantages can also be advantages because they definitely cut down on the number of people who go there.  The Hwy 24 locality produces Exogyra in abundance!  You can pick and choose the ones that you want (I used to use them for ashtrays back in the 'old days').

 

Interestingly, I've never found an intact mosasaur tooth in all of the miles of riverbed that I've walked up there.  I did manage to find this jaw section near the Hwy 24 bridge.

 

med_gallery_330_106_69896.jpg

 

There are plenty of TFF members who HAVE found mosasaur teeth on the NSR.  Perhaps one or two of them will chime in with some suggestions.

 

-Joe

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
caldigger

Do you always carry paleo squeaky toys with you on your hunts?  Looks like you did alright for a picked over area.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Tidgy's Dad

Really enjoyed this report, could actually imagine being there getting frozen, covered in mud, loosing my shoes and hurting going up and down the steps. 

Sounds just my sort of day out! 

Seriously! :D

Good finds, too! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Fruitbat

Personally...I LIKE the Omanyte!  bcbd5848fe998255a1f0be6e8fb352934f5ec0ed  It seems appropriate for the North Sulphur River!

 

-Joe

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
AmmoniteDelight
10 hours ago, caldigger said:

Do you always carry paleo squeaky toys with you on your hunts?  Looks like you did alright for a picked over area.

Haha yea! I always bring pokemon toys or a maud pie (my little pony geologist character) toy with me for my instagram since i live a dual life as a toy collector! I love pokemon so much and there are so many pokemons based off of fossils. It makes it so much more fun! :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
KimTexan
12 hours ago, AmmoniteDelight said:

Thank you very much for the info fruit bat! Yikes i didnt know the mud got that deep in certain areas! Can I ask where from the Fossil Park enterance I might start to find exogyra? Like so and so meters left or right from the stairs if you know? ;P Someone may have took home all the shells they could find, oh no! We really didnt see a single one! 

 

There are Exogyra ponderosa at the bridge off of 2275 outside of Cooper. There are lots of them. I believe there may be 2 varieties there. I think it is “The Geology of Texas vol. 1” section on the Ozan Formation that says there are 3 varieties Exogyra ponderosa is one and has a smooth shell that is very thick. The other is  Exogyra ponderosa var erraticostata is a bit ornamented with raised costae.

Here is a picture that includes both varieties. I put a penny on one of the Exogyra ponderosa regulars. All the ones I saw were light colored and smooth, but I thought they were just water tumbled until I read about them in the Ozan section. 

32843280-6706-4FE6-9A3B-1D3A0B39605D.thumb.jpeg.b534c0595cf995971f9166e0aad7e1f2.jpeg

Here is one I believe is the erraticostata. I found them in black, gray and tan variations in color. Someone told me they have seen red ones too. They are quite large. They have a slightly higher profile and a different curve and shape that the Exogyra ponderosa.

3C3EC57F-F413-4D40-95F4-5C348A294A4B.thumb.jpeg.a2b3ec43e3b111a2ca08b293ff891b3c.jpeg

I have never seen any Exogyra ponderosa out by Ladonia. 

I go out to the NSR, usually on my own, but you do have to go prepared and know how to take care of yourself. I like adventure, but I tend to be cautious of getting myself in bad situations when alone. I’ve had a few adventures that got my heart racing, but all has always turned out well.

One acquaintance who goes out there frequently also said he has found himself waist deep in mud. He said his walking stick helped him get out. 

If that happened to me I’d probably get stuck there for a few hours at least. I always let someone know exactly where I’m going, provide them the location and share it in advance and tell them if I don’t let them know I’m ok by a specific time that they need to call for help or come looking for me. 

I take one of these with me.

06D9D18B-C9C1-48A4-B7AF-C5CA1F099DAA.jpeg.552781db9864ab46cc17d43ac1b03f3e.jpeg

You need something to break up the clay. A rock hammer does ok, but this works better in the hard clay. I also have a folding shovel/pick.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
AmmoniteDelight

Thank you so much KimTexan! I found your post very informative! I am going to hit the hardware store and garden centers looking for that tool, that would have worked wonders!!!! 

 

And if you ever have the middle of the week off maybe we can meet up so you won't be alone! :) I can bring two strong guys with me  too ;) 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
caldigger
8 hours ago, KimTexan said:

 

3C3EC57F-F413-4D40-95F4-5C348A294A4B.thumb.jpeg.a2b3ec43e3b111a2ca08b293ff891b3c.jpeg

Now thats a Texas size shell.

 Sure would take up a lot of shelf space if you collect many of these.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Nimravis

Great finds and report- thanks for sharing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Jakuzi

As fruitbat said the 24 bridge has mollusks in abundance I picked up a ton of them there to use as center pieces for my wedding.  Also calcite geodes can be found out there as well if you’re into that sort of thing.  Mos teeth can be found all over but I tend to stick to other bridges and steer clear of the Fossil Park.  All the bridges along NSR can produce fossils.

 

I belive F is part of an enchodus jaw bone.  It’s hard to tell for sure without a better pic.  Below is one I’ve found

779FE7AD-339F-47A4-A432-C45FD26C5B17.jpeg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
NSRhunter

Good finds and glad you guys had a fun trip, love the pokemon btw! :) Here are the identifications

A. Worn mosasaur bone, probably worn vert?

B. Worn mosasaur bone, Not sure, maybe a phalange piece?

C. Worn mosasaur bone, Not sure, maybe a phalange piece?

D. Worn mosasaur rib?

E. Worn fossil bone

F. Enchodus petrosus jawbone

G. Big piece of turtle plastron

H. Believe it or not, a coprolite! Only have seen a few others this shape so definitely a nice find :)

I. Shark/ fish vertebrae( leaning towards shark) 

J. Fish vertebrae, probably enchodus?

K. Carcharias sp.

L. Squalicorax kaupi

M. Not sure but looks like chert?

N. Chunk of red zone something( found many of these but never know what they are)

O. Rock?

P. Big chunk of mammoth tooth enamel( good find!) 

Q. Bacculites segments( straight shelled ammonite)

R.  Need a better picture probably?

S. Hamulus worm tubes

T. Piece of a rudist clam

U. Petrified wood chunks

V.  Ammonite section from the gray Ozan fm., 

W. Phosphatized gastropod from the Red Zone 

X. Not sure

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
oldtimer

Very nice write up.  Enjoyed the reading and feel like I was there with you negotiating those steps.

Nice finds for what sounds like a spectacular and fun day.  Love the photo props.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
JarrodB

The 24 bridge between Paris & Commerce also has a nice variety of Exogyra and other fossils. Here's a few I picked up there for my rock garden. 

 

download.jpg

med_gallery_19191_2362_350941.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
JarrodB
On 1/15/2018 at 10:41 AM, Jakuzi said:

As fruitbat said the 24 bridge has mollusks in abundance I picked up a ton of them there to use as center pieces for my wedding.  Also calcite geodes can be found out there as well if you’re into that sort of thing.  Mos teeth can be found all over but I tend to stick to other bridges and steer clear of the Fossil Park.  All the bridges along NSR can produce fossils.

 

I belive F is part of an enchodus jaw bone.  It’s hard to tell for sure without a better pic.  Below is one I’ve found

779FE7AD-339F-47A4-A432-C45FD26C5B17.jpeg

I've found some beautiful Mosasaur teeth at the fossil park. You just have to get there at the right time. I've also seen a Clovis artifact that came from there. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×