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A surprising day in a surprising spot (10/29/2023)


Jared C

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Yesterday, Pita and I found an amazing spot.

 

We pulled into a shopping center so I could pick up some cleats (for fossil hunting steep, marly slopes), and I noticed a small patch of limestone next to the curb. We parked by it so I can poke at it for a minute or two before going in, and Pita, never one to be bored while I look at rocks, walked into the tree line nearby. 

 

A sudden noise of amazement brought me over to where she was, just a few paces away, and our jaws dropped. Below us was an incredibly massive drop, easily more than 100 feet. A creek was at the bottom, birthed on the spot by springs. This little canyon was so unexpected and hidden that you would have no idea it's there until you're on top of it, like we found ourselves then. 

 

We wanted to find our way down, so we bushwhacked for a while, snuck around some questionable tents in the woods, and after ample muck, green briar, and frigid cold, we were met with the face. Huge walls of untouched comanche peak limestone, from the upper albian stage of the Cretaceous period. 

 

 

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Neither of us were prepared for a fossil hunt, so we just had the day clothes we were going to go shopping in. I had to wrap myself in a blanket from the car to stay warm.

 

 

The comanche peak formation is known for echinoids, namely Heteraster, Phymosoma, and Tetragramma or Leptosalenia if you're lucky. It's also rife with bivalves and gastropods, and sometime the ammonite Oxytropidoceras

 

Unlike the Glen Rose below it and Walnut + Edwards formation that bound it, I have never heard of vertebrate material being found in the Comanche Peak fm. A search here on the forum also yielded no results, so I thought it fit to make this trip report to document what seems to be a rare occurrence, because vertebrate material we found (humble as it may be).

 

The first "keeper" find was actually a Pycnodont tooth, found in a rich pocket of Gryphaea oysters. (Below)

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I also found some of the usual keepers more characteristic of the comanche peak, including the Phymosoma below and a few Heteraster specimens below.

 

Phymosoma

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One of a few Heteraster

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Big (Tapes?) bivalve

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The most surprising find of the day came near the end, when Pita spotted a shark vertebra in the limestone above. It was high up, so pardon the blurry photo.

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And so concluded a pleasant, athletic visit to the Comanche Peak formation, at a spot brand new to me (and to I think anyone... I seriously doubt this spot will get found, and it it's found, the physical exertion to access it through all the rocks we had to climb and bush we had to smack away would probably scare off most :P)

 

 

I would love to see reference to y'all's lower cretaceous vertebrate finds below, especially if it's from the Comanche Peak!

As always, happy hunting.

 

Edited by Jared C

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