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bigred97

Hello everyone! I've been inspired by so many good Mazon Creek topics in this forum, I thought I would start my own. I'll post my own finds, which so far don't include anything as exotic as a Tully Monster, but maybe I'll get lucky on page 134 or so...

 

I have to credit my kids with getting me interested in fossil collecting. I was always interested in rocks and fossils but when my 10 year old son had his dinosaur phase it really sparked my interest again. I wondered if an ordinary person like me could go out and find fossils? So I Googled fossil collecting and found out that not only could I search on my own, one of the world's best sites for amateurs was just 3 hours away! The date I discovered Mazon Creek existed was 9/10/2017. I know that date because earlier in the day was the last ESCONI trip to the Braceville spoil pile for the year - I just missed it!

 

So in May 2018 I finally went on that trip and was hooked. Since then I've gone to Braceville several times, the I&M Canal trip once, and a handful of trips on my own into Pit 11.

 

I want to thank too many people to list for helping me learn about this new hobby. Everyone I've met on the field trips has been so friendly and helpful. And if you have posted something about Mazon Creek on this forum, I've read it. Special thanks to Nimravis for his Sometimes You Have To Whack It thread, which he started the day after my first trip to Mazon Creek - it has taught me so much and I'm so impressed at what a genuinely nice person he is. And Andrew Bach's book from his American Fossil Hunt site is wonderful, so so helpful.

 

With that, onto the fossils (and lots of questions from me). I thought to start I would show some of my jellyfish, all Essexella asherae, I believe. I find it interesting that they are all so different, although they tend to fall into various "types" - some have a distinct "head", others are just faint outlines, some are just cylindrical shapes. #1-3 below are all from Pit 11 - the first two have a distinct head and the other is  more cylindrical.

 

For anyone who hasn't heard of Mazon Creek, these fossils are found in siderite concretions from the mid-Pennsylvanian epoch of the Carboniferous period, from roughly 305-310 mya.

 

Cheers! Chris

 

1Essexella710Pit11.thumb.jpg.1098978257ba121900dc80a608452884.jpg5cf4594220b10_2Essexella656Pit11.thumb.jpg.1b22eec8e95ab66d904a55fae2db3c90.jpg

3Essexella903Pit11.thumb.jpg.2ee1aedb8520e2a3ea8d67ecced2d009.jpg

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bigred97

Here are three more from Pit 11. #5 is the faint outline kind.

4Essexella907Pit11.thumb.jpg.21a71c1afcb1a7a7efb5875931d39225.jpg

5Essexella638Pit11.thumb.jpg.df3108ba6b3e556d22d433117d9dc9f3.jpg

6Essexella697Pit11.thumb.jpg.20c20c51896a12e34af6275858824e1f.jpg

 

 

 

 

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bigred97

#7 below is also from Pit 11. I suppose I could try to clean it with a vinegar/water solution, but I kind of like it the way it is. #8-10 are from Braceville. #10 is a little unlike any other I have seen - a little rougher somehow. I'm pretty sure it is a jellyfish, but I could be mistaken.

7Essexella812Pit11.thumb.jpg.8630eea2e0425b6ee07323e6ba1b60f1.jpg

8Essexella639Braceville.thumb.jpg.eb301f65dfcc1ee4e233720b5b228920.jpg

9Essexella935Braceville.thumb.jpg.2f7b47aa070e27c6ec9d0fa459bce58d.jpg

10Essexella691Braceville.thumb.jpg.a3f4240358a55b9c0c99572fc5bd75f1.jpg

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bigred97

#11-14 are all from Braceville. #11, probably with #1 and #4, is one of my favorites. #13 didn't photograph very well. Again I'm pretty sure it is a jellyfish but I could be wrong. It's also different than the others because it's in a more reddish rock that I find sometimes. I don't know why it's different, but I usually don't have good luck with those kinds of concretions. #14 is from Esconi Hill, the only fossil I found when I hiked back there last Sept after a day on the Braceville spoil pile.

11Essexella780Braceville.thumb.jpg.f6c5fddaffef9604a3f2eb0808f3651f.jpg

12Essexella549Braceville.thumb.jpg.699fc8607a7e3f8974709c6afbf40557.jpg

13Essexella698Braceville.thumb.jpg.22620fef93b7b1fe2d61444832e68cf1.jpg

14Essexella694EsconiHill.thumb.jpg.244cb98bb47fb0488dd802dd1d92889e.jpg

 

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bigred97

Final post for tonight. From Pit 11. I thought #15 was a jellyfish the first time I saw it. It's very small, but it seemed to have the right shape. Now I'm not so sure. Any ideas?

15Unknown692Pit11.thumb.jpg.56f5ed73748d83ca8f2e8ab48ba38654.jpg

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Wrangellian

Nice ones so far!

I think you'll be told they are all Essexella asherae and that it is a variable taxon, but I seem to recall someone here saying a while back that he suspected there were several species represented but no one has done any work yet to split them (ie. describe them).  Wish I could find that post... Maybe you recall it if you've read everything to do with Mazon on TFF!

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bigred97

Thanks, Wrangellian! I may have used a little "poetic license" when I said I've read everything to do with Mazon on here. But I have read quite a bit, all posts back to early 2017 or so. I don't specifically recall the post that talked about there possibly being several species, but that seems to make sense from what I've seen.

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deutscheben

Thanks for sharing! I love the diversity in preservation that is possible with Essexella too, and you have a very nice selection. 

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Wrangellian
18 hours ago, bigred97 said:

Thanks, Wrangellian! I may have used a little "poetic license" when I said I've read everything to do with Mazon on here. But I have read quite a bit, all posts back to early 2017 or so. I don't specifically recall the post that talked about there possibly being several species, but that seems to make sense from what I've seen.

If I ever come across it (and if I don't lose this thread in the meantime) I'll point it out, or the name of the guy who said it. Could have been @RCFossils ..?

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bigred97

Thanks, deutscheben!

 

And Wrangellian, I'll post that if I come across it as well.

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Mark Kmiecik

All Essexella with the possible exception of #15. The preservation is typical of a sea cucumber as well as a jelly -- it may be one of each overlaid. Would need a photo with much better focus.

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bigred97

Thanks, Mark! I was wondering if that could be a sea cucumber myself - those white lines remind me of sea cucumber pics I've seen. I'll see if I can get a better picture, but not sure if that's possible with my iPhone. I have another concretion that I think may also be a sea cucumber, I'll post that when I get a chance.

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Tidgy's Dad

Nice jellyfish! 

I love Essexella. :)

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bigred97

Thanks, Tidgy! It's a good thing I love Essexella, too! So many of the concretions you find are duds, it would be a shame to be disappointed with the one you find the most!

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bigred97

Mark, here are a few more pictures of #15 but I don't know that they are much better. Might never really know what this is, I think. Just not enough detail. My guess now is that it's an Essexella with slightly unusual preservation.

16Unknown705bPit11.thumb.jpg.be71377a73cd3e1840e2b73512c1b1ce.jpg

17Unknown723Pit11.thumb.jpg.3f6818eb9352114861804210bffde383.jpg

 

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bigred97

Here is another Essexella, I believe, just opened from Pit 11. Not very interesting preservation but the tiniest one I've ever found, just about a centimeter long. Maybe a baby?

18Essexella463Pit11.thumb.jpg.63cef49f5f90f04cd27cd54144b92734.jpg

 

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deutscheben

Nice leaf, what a lovely piece for your first Mazon find. I remember finding my first fern fossil and feeling something very similar- the way its preserved, it really looks like it was frozen in time. 

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bigred97

Thanks, deutscheben! I remember I imagined this being on a living plant and then falling off and being swept into the water and buried and waiting some 300 million years for me to find it. It's such a staggering concept. I felt privileged beyond measure to be holding it in my hand.

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Mark Kmiecik
On 7/1/2019 at 8:18 PM, bigred97 said:

Followed up with many minutes of searching for the other side, which I never did find.

Often, when the fossil is this close to the surface of the concretion, the very thin "flake" that has split off crumbles into very many small pieces with each time the temps drop below freezing. By the time you find the main part the rest has crumbled beyond recognition. Sometimes, though, you may get lucky if you search directly "downhill" (where the water would flow as it rains) all the way to where the ground becomes flat. Moving water can carry a thin flake like that a surprising distance. And you have to be careful where you step too. Your weight would definitely crush it.

 

Beautifully detailed specimen. You might try to ID that down to specie. Hint: it's not scheuchzeri or clarksoni. Check here:   https://www.georgesbasement.com/LesquereuxAtlasP/EUNEUROPTERIDS-to-PACHYDERMATE-Lesquereux.htm

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bigred97

Although I'm far from an expert on these matters, I am leaning toward vermicularis. Description of the shape seems to match. Besides the link you provided, Mark, I looked in my copy of Jack Wittry's The Mazon Creek Fossil Fauna and it says the count of veins per centimeter should be 20-40, which seems about right (I think this specimen is on the high side). Lesquereux says the size varies from 3 mm to 4 cm which would make this a larger specimen. I suppose when you find a whole "branch" with many leaves attached, each one is likely to be smaller, but if you find a single leaf it will probably be on the larger side.

 

If you disagree, I'd love to hear what you think it is!

 

I did try looking downhill for the second piece but I was in a very steep section of Pit 11, right near the right side bottom part of the "L" of Monster Lake. The slope seems to get steeper the further one travels to the east on the lower part of the "L". I looked for awhile some 10-20 feet below where I found this but then was uneasy about trying to go further down (and still feel confident about getting back up!)

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RCFossils
On 7/1/2019 at 9:04 PM, bigred97 said:

Mark, here are a few more pictures of #15 but I don't know that they are much better. Might never really know what this is, I think. Just not enough detail. My guess now is that it's an Essexella with slightly unusual preservation.

 

 

This is likely a poorly preserved sea cucumber

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RCFossils
On 7/1/2019 at 8:18 PM, bigred97 said:

This next one is one of my favorites, because it's the first Mazon Creek fossil I ever found, on my first trip to Pit 11 in May of last year. I found this Neuropteris leaf already open and just couldn't believe it. If I wasn't hooked already, I sure was then! I love the detail in fossils like this. I remember just crouching there with it in amazement. Followed up with many minutes of searching for the other side, which I never did find.

19Neuropteris779Pit11.thumb.jpg.62a6da81bd524aaf9341b766117ebe75.jpg

Beautiful fern!

i would agree that it is likely Vermicularis.

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bigred97

Thanks, RC!

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Mark Kmiecik

Vermicularis is a good bet.

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