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RainBoKatchr

Astoria Formation Fossils From Oregon Coast

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RainBoKatchr
I have been an avid collector of Astoria Formation fossils from the Oregon coast for a number of years, and plan on putting up a web page that shows every known invertebrate species from the Newportian stage of the Astoria formation (plus as many vertebrate and plant species as possible).  In my collection I am still short by a dozen or so invertebrate species out of the nearly-100 described in the literature, although I have also found a dozen or so that AREN'T in the literature, and plan on describing and naming them if they are indeed "new" species.  So I was wondering if there were any fellow collectors that have unusual stuff that they could share photos of.  One of my recent finds was a conifer cone (shown below), although I don't know what genus and species it belongs to (does anybody know?).

010.JPG

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Kane

I wish I knew... This one looks somewhat carbonized? A really neat piece.

 

And best of luck on your ambitious goal to formally describe and name a dozen new species! Getting that through the peer-review process is not an easy, or quick, task!

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caldigger

That is a really beautiful specimen Rain.

 

We would love to see some more of your collection.    ( not the undescribed ones of course!) 

We just don't often see too many items from Oregon.

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KimTexan

I second Caldigger’s wish to see some of it. Cool cone or seed pod fossil.

I know nothing about fossil seed pods, but it reminds me a bit of a modern magnolia seed pod.

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Wrangellian

Newportian stage... that one is not familiar to me. Where does it fit into the Cenozoic strat. column? Or are you referring to a member of the Astoria Fm?

Nice cone. Good luck in your website and all. Should be interesting to peruse once you get it together.

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RainBoKatchr

The Newportian Stage is a member of the Astoria Formation.  Its type locality is Newport Oregon, but it is exposed (though not continuously) from several miles south of Newport, north to Tillamook Bay.  It is 15 to 18 million years old, whereas the sediments in the type locality of the Astoria Formation (in Astoria Oregon) are older, 18 to 21 million years, but they are no longer accessible for collecting due to development (so I had no ability to include that stage in my collection).  Other stages of the Astoria Formation are exposed in Washington state, but that's a bit far from home to do in-depth collecting.  So I figured the best choice was to be a specialist and collect in the Newportian Stage.

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Wrangellian
On 7/31/2018 at 11:54 PM, RainBoKatchr said:

The Newportian Stage is a member of the Astoria Formation. 

Aha...

PNWMolluscStages.jpg.ee80ef52aad7d798d56a9d1cd24e9b63.jpg

5b62b0f190810_PNWMollusc2.jpg.cacaa48c48285b73c4086e7f935377d8.jpg

 

from Pacific Northwest Cenozoic Biostratigraphy, Issues 184-185

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RainBoKatchr

Yes, the Newportian Stage (full name Newportian Molluscan Stage) is more a characteristic species assemblage than a timeframe, but it happens to correspond to around 15 to 18 m.y. ago, which is more recent than the species assemblage that is present in the Astoria Oregon deposits, where the formation was originally described.

 

As shown in the illustration above, the scallop Patinopecten propatulus is an important index fossil for the Newportian Stage.  Below is one of my better specimens, which has the two valves together.  The third photo shows another specimen which has the interior of the shell on display.

coast 180.jpg

coast 181.jpg

016.JPG

Edited by RainBoKatchr

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KimTexan

Very nice! That gastropod is huge! I like it. Thanks for sharing it with us. Do you have more to show?

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piranha

The cone is: Pinus berglundii

 

text and figure from:

 

Miller, C.N. 1992

Structurally preserved cones of Pinus from the Neogene of Idaho and Oregon.

International Journal of Plant Sciences, 153(1):147-154

 

DIAGNOSIS -Seed cone narrowly conical, at least 12 cm long and 5 cm in diameter at its base.  Axis about 2.0 cm in diameter; pith 4-8 mm in diameter, constructed of parenchyma cells; vascular cylinder appearing as a continuous cylinder with narrow medullary rays in basal sections but as distinct strands in apical sections; secondary xylem with an inconspicuous growth ring about one-third of the distance from the pith to the cortex, a ring of resin canals present in early wood of second growth increment.  Cortex with an inner layer of thin-walled parenchyma cells and an outer zone of sclereids, a ring of small resin canals in the inner zone, each canal with 3-4 cell layers of thick-walled epithelial cells.  Vascular traces to bract and associated ovuliferous scale diverging close to but separately from one another.  Bract at least 5 mm long, vascular strand fading out in basal region of free part of bract, resin canals not observed.  Ovuliferous scale at least 3 cm long, about 1 mm thick for most of length, expanding to 4-5 mm thick forming a pronounced pointed umbo.  Scale base with resin canals abaxial to vascular tissue.  Seeds ovoid, 5-6 mm long and 2.5 mm in diameter; wings at least 8 mm long and 5 mm wide. 

 

HOLOTYPE -U.O. 33537. Lincoln Co., Oregon; NE 1/4 section 19, T10S, R11W; about 150 m north of the mouth of Schooner Creek; U.O. Loc. 2792.  PARATYPE -U.S.N.M. 274202. Lincoln Co., Oregon; Emlong Collection, Loc. 544, location not precisely given but from the "Iron Mountain Bed" which extends from the mouth of Schooner Creek north along beach to about 400 m south of Moloch Beach Park.  OCCURRENCE -Both specimens are from the Middle Miocene Astoria Formation (Snavely et al. 1980).  ETYMOLOGY -The holotype was found by Marion and Ross Berglund, Bainbridge Island, Washington, and the new species is named in their honor.

 

image.png.7db652338bcb4b967075547959d23bf4.png

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RainBoKatchr
Cool, thanks for the research and identification!  I found my cone just a short distance from where the above-pictured "holotype" was found.....just south of Schooner Creek, whereas the holotype was found just north of the creek (I also found a partial cone almost exactly where the holotype was found, but the one I found the other day was my first photogenic, reasonably complete specimen).
 
My wife and I do much (or even most) of our collecting north and south of Schooner Creek (which is to say, north and south of North 68th Street, just north of Newport and Yaquina Head).  And we had our biggest adventure there when we collected a large fossil whale skull.  I'd previously written an account of that, so here it is in case someone might find it interesting:
 
NOTE: I was told that the embedded photos weren't showing up for some folks, so I downloaded them as files from scratch in a later posting.

 
FOSSIL WHALE SKULL RESCUE NEAR NEWPORT OREGON
 
During the summer of 2011, I found a fossil whale rostrum (upper jaw or beak) in a hard, concretionary boulder on south Mollock Beach (just north of Newport), and at the time I thought it was too large for my wife and I to collect, and figured it would require a bunch of guys and a vehicle that could drive out on the beach.  And I tried to get the Hatfield Marine Science Center (in Newport) interested in collecting it, but they said they didn't have the resources to deal with it.  And so I was left trying to decide what to do, because I didn't think it would survive the winter (at one point it actually got covered up by sand and I temporarily lost it). 
 
Well in November, on the day before a big storm with 30-foot swells was due to come onshore (which no doubt would have put the fossil in a rock tumbler and either destroyed it or caused it to be buried), I decided it was a do-or-die situation.  So what I did was chip away at the boulder with a sledge hammer and chisel until we were just able to roll it down the beach (I figure the final weight was around 400 lb, and by the way, NO damage was done to the bone in the process).  And we had to roll it over a quarter mile, which took four hours in the darkness between 8 PM and midnight, with the incoming tide lapping at our feet, and strong gale-force winds beating on us and stinging our faces with raindrops and salt spray and sand grains.  And we had to take it over and around various obstacles, including a rocky promontory and a creek (Schooner Point and Schooner Creek), but we finally got it up the hill to the parking lot at 68th street, and got it into our truck using an expedient ramp (made from junk lumber sitting around).
 
I hadn't planned on trying to get the block that day, and had made no preparations, so when my wife asked me how I intended to do it, I said I was going to take a page from Indiana Jones' playbook in "Raiders of the Lost Ark," and just "make it up as I go"....and it worked!
 
A while back I bought a very informative fossil-collecting-locality DVD from Tim Fisher (OreRockOn.com), and it turns out that the locality that the rostrum was from, is a historically known marine vertebrate collecting locality called the "Iron Mountain Bone Beds" (so-called because it's adjacent to a hill in the coast range called Iron Mountain, where they have a quarry, not to mine iron, but basalt for road gravel....I found this out by checking it out myself, and I have no idea why it was named Iron Mountain).  In any case, that same beach may have been the source of the type specimen of the well-known Miocene whale Cophocetus oregonensis from the Astoria Formation.  And that suggests that my rostrum is probably the same species, especially since the size and shape match pictures I've seen, plus it was identified as a Cophocetus rostrum by California paleontologist Frank A. Perry (who has some familiarity with fossil whale digs) on the basis of photos I sent to him (when I first found it, I knew it was bone, but wasn't familiar what a rostrum in cross-section looked like, so I didn't know what part of the anatomy it represented until he interpreted the photos I sent him).
 
As far as other vertebrate fossils from the "Bone Beds" area, my wife and I have only found a rib (probably from a seal or sea lion), plus two tiny shark's teeth.  And it appears that one reason for that scarcity is that most of what's there is only visible at minus tides when the sand is mostly gone from the beach (a rarity), and I have never been there under those conditions.  I intentionally only go around Schooner Point when there is enough sand to make a dry foot crossing at low tide, especially since there was a time the previous year when I got in trouble with an unexpectedly high wave and may have come close to drowning (I can't swim, and even someone who could, could easily be killed by being knocked against the rocks, as I was to a minor degree).  So dozens of times I've been walking right by something (the "Bone Beds") that I didn't even imagine was there, but which it is going to be very difficult to investigate thoroughly.
 
Below I have included several photos of the block with the rostrum.  The first pic shows the boulder in our truck, and the third is a closeup of the rostrum on which I drew its shape for clarity....it's been cut by erosion in such a way as to display its cross section on both sides of the block, but the one face is a much cleaner and more photogenic cut....the depth of the boulder is 17", and the total width of the rostrum is 20"). 
 
getPart?uid=31452982&partId=1.2&scope=STANDARD&saveAs=Untitled.jpg
 
 
getPart?uid=31452982&partId=1.3&scope=STANDARD&saveAs=Untitled.jpg
 
getPart?uid=31452982&partId=1.4&scope=STANDARD&saveAs=Untitled.jpg
 
getPart?uid=31452982&partId=1.5&scope=STANDARD&saveAs=Untitled.jpg
 
Several months after I posted the above account in the NARG forum, a fellow NARG member informed me that he had found an even bigger section that appeared to be from the same skull fossil, specifically the brain case (together with the base of the rostrum), very close to where we collected the rostrum section.  But he didn't have the means to collect it, and so my wife and I headed over to Newport, and did successfully find it, and it did perfectly match the rostrum section we had collected earlier (the two sections had been separated by a vertical fracture).  But in the case of this larger block, we initially estimated the weight to be at least 600 pounds, as we were unable to budge it by hand.
 
But I am happy to report that, by carrying out a lot of planning and preparation (unlike with the first and smaller section) and by bringing supplemental equipment to the beach, we were able to successfully collect it, and bring it home to be with its partner!
 
From where it was located just north of Schooner Point, we got it strapped onto a heavy-duty (1,000 lb capacity) appliance dolly we rented (and even that was no easy task, as the boulder was so heavy that I could barely tip it over, even with the chipping away of extraneous weight).  And so we started down the beach, rolling it on 8-foot planks (we'd pull it while continually repositioning the planks ahead of us).  And it took us several hours to get slightly over halfway through the 1/4-mile to the parking lot, and then we got stuck in a trough that was not filled with sand, and the boulder came unstrapped from the dolly just as the tide started coming in.  And I frantically used a five-foot pry bar to get it moved out of the trough and onto flat ground, but by then it was too late, the incoming waves were washing away the boards that we needed to roll the boulder, and as we continued to struggle to get the bolder strapped back on the dolly, the height of the waves was getting to the point where we were drenched and our lives were being put in danger, and so we had to grab the hand truck and planks, and exit in defeat. 
 
And while we planned on coming back the next day (again, three hours before low tide), I was horribly worried that the boulder would either be gone, or the exposed brain case damaged by being bashed against the other rocks.  Well there was no reason to worry, because when we got there, we had the pleasure of seeing the boulder only moved by a couple of feet from where we had left it, and with no damage! (in fact, it was better positioned than when we had left it, in that the waves had "floated" it out of the trough it had gotten stuck in).  
 
So we got to work again, and moved it out of harm's way well before the tide came back.  But next we had the challenge of getting across Schooner Creek, and to do that we had to manually move the larger cobbles out of the way so as to make clear tracks for the planks.  And after that, we got it up the ramp to the parking lot by hooking a long chain from the dolly to our truck and pulling it up the hill.  And then we set up a loading ramp using the planks, starting with the boulder and dolly placed on a mound of earth that resulted in a mild angle to the ramp, such that I could roll it into the truck bed by hand. 
 
The session that night took up about eight hours (from 6 PM to 2 AM), the one the day before about five hours, with several hours prep work prior to that (knocking extraneous material off the boulder and getting other boulders out of the way), and together with the driving times, I estimate we spent almost 40 hours getting this specimen!  And based on how the presence of the boulder affected the operation of our truck, I think we seriously under-estimated the weight!  Because I have hauled 1,000 lb loads of sand in our truck, and I can tell you that the truck was having to work as hard to get up hills as when it carried the sand, so I would estimate that the final weight of the boulder was between 800 and 1,000 lbs! (whereas we initially had figured it was 600 or so). 
 
We are still missing the 2 feet or so of the end of the rostrum (its front tip), and maybe that's still lurking somewhere in the sand....or maybe it's long-since eroded away....or maybe someone collected it....who knows.  But the blocks we have collected were originally separated along calcite veins (which represented weak points), and the front end that is missing also separated at a vein, so that provides hope that the missing piece is also in a concretionary block and so would be resistant to weathering and erosion.
 
Although it might be possible to grind away the hard matrix so as to fully expose the bones, I am not the one to do that, because I not only don't feel qualified and am afraid of ruining the specimens, but I also like the aesthetics of the "marine" quality these boulders possess, with their abundant fossil shells.
 
I do need to make arrangements to (eventually) donate this skull fossil to a museum or other institution, as I don't want it to end up as someone's yard ornament (or worse, as landfill) once my wife and myself have no further use for it.
 
Below are several photos chronicling our adventure with the brain-case section:
 
 
getPart?uid=31452982&partId=1.6&scope=STANDARD&saveAs=Untitled.jpg
 
getPart?uid=31452982&partId=1.7&scope=STANDARD&saveAs=Untitled.jpg
 
getPart?uid=31452982&partId=1.8&scope=STANDARD&saveAs=Untitled.jpg
 
getPart?uid=31452982&partId=1.9&scope=STANDARD&saveAs=Untitled.jpg
 
getPart?uid=31452982&partId=1.10&scope=STANDARD&saveAs=Untitled.jpg
Edited by RainBoKatchr

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ynot
1 hour ago, RainBoKatchr said:

FOSSIL WHALE SKULL RESCUE NEAR NEWPORT OREGON

Real nice story, but the pictures did not load.

Can You please reload them>

 

Regards,

Tony

 

 

PS @Boesse would like to see this.

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RainBoKatchr

The pictures show up at this end, on the Fossil Forum page.....what I did was copy and paste the account with the pictures embedded with the text and their appropriate places, rather than download the picture files from scratch (which would result in their all being at the end of the story, and also I would probably exceed the maximum download size).  I wonder if some browsers show them but not others?  Also, try reloading the page and see if that makes any difference.  If things still don't work, I'll have to think about what the options are.

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piranha

Some devices will show them and others will not.  Ask one of the mods for assistance with embedding the photos.

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ynot

All I got is a file name, no picture.

 

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piranha

<<...Jeopardy theme music plays in the background...>>  :P 

 

 

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RainBoKatchr

OK, here's the pics as downloaded files.

The first four are of the smaller (rostrum) block, the rest of the larger brain-case block.

I formatted them as smaller files, so that I won't run into the problem of exceeding the file size limit for this website.  I'll do that henceforth rather than try to embed photos.

 

Dave

 

 

SKULL1.jpg

SKULL2.jpg

SKULL3.jpg

SKULL4.jpg

SKULL5.jpg

SKULL6.jpg

SKULL7.jpg

SKULL8.jpg

SKULL9.jpg

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ynot

Thanks!

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KimTexan

If the pics had already been posted on TFF you only need to click the “Insert other media” button on the bottom of the window, to the right of “Click to chose files.” 

After clicking it select “Insert existing attachment.” It will then pop up a gallery of all pictures you’ve previously posted.

 

My goodness! What an adventure! Thanks for sharing it with us.

I thought I created drama for myself, but I see I’m not the only one. Your tale is a really good one though. That is a feat I could not have accomplished. Impressive work and accomplishment.

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Wrangellian

I don't think I've ever hauled home a chunk that large! (close, several times)

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Boesse

Looks like a cross-section through a baleen whale rostrum - and that gastropod is an absolute stunner!

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FossilDAWG

What a herculanian effort to get that boulder off the beach! :fistbump:  Just a suggestion for next time, you could consider replacing those small solid wheels with larger inflatable ones.  Larger tires will have less of a tendency to sink in sand or get caught between rocks.  Also even if they are properly inflated they will tend to cushion the shock when going over bumpy terrain, which is easier on the fossils and also on you.

 

Don

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