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Looking for fossil hunting MO


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Hi! I wonder how can I improve my fossil exploring trips. Let's say I go to the abandoned limestone quarry and it has 3 floors.

How can I be sure that this is the right spot? Am I supposed to look around for "highest concentration" of fossils or maybe for some distinctive looking rocks?

For now I've been running from one place to another and spending half an hour here, another there :unsure:

Edited by Mcmaker
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The best thing you can do before you go looking for fossils is learn a little about the geology of where you are going. That will tell you which layers are more or less likely to produce fossils. Otherwise, it is a very hit or miss kind of thing where you need to look for fossils in a rock and try to correlate that with other rocks in the quarry  to see if you can find more.  Are there any clubs in your area that have field trips?

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FranzBernhard
4 hours ago, Mcmaker said:

For now I've been running from one place to another and spending half an hour here, another there

That´s basically prospecting. Sometimes, this is the only way to find the right layer.

However, search the internet for specific papers on specific localities / quarry names. You may find a detailed stratigraphic colum of the specific site, maybe you may find a detailed description, where the fossil-rich spot or layer is located. Then you have to hope that this spot is not totally exploited...

Franz Bernhard

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Okay, that's wise way to start :) But what about real hunting, is it better to hammer and excavate quarry wall or search for fossils in a rock debris? Or maybe it depends? I'm curious what are your experiences ;)

Edited by Mcmaker
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If this is a standard sized quarry with tall, vertical walls, it is not recommended to excavate the wall for risk of personal injury or death.

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FranzBernhard
2 hours ago, Mcmaker said:

Or maybe it depends?

Yes!

 

Debris are easier and faster to examine, fresh rock may yield less weathered fossils. But weathering may expose fossils naturally in the debris.

If you find a fossil in a rock wall, hammering it out could be difficult to near impossible - it all depends on the rock! Sometimes, they are cut out with diamond blade or chain saws.

 

@Ludwigia works in outcrops with rocks of different hardness. 

 

Personally, I am mainly a debris collector, I don´t like hammering very much and mostly it is not necessary. Except for soft, sandy-silty rocks. But there, a screwdriver is usually enough :D.

 

Franz Bernhard

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3 hours ago, Mcmaker said:

 I'm curious what are your experiences ;)

 

I have collected in Derbyshire UK limestone quarries with 3 levels and my best finds all came from the top level there were finds in the lower levels in harder limestone but the fossils were harder to extract.

I also don't approach the walls of the quarry i have witnessed limestone rockfalls :( all my finds have come from debris in the quarry.

I found reef limestone to be softer and easier to extract the fossils from.

 

John

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If you know exactly where to extract fossils from a wall, the stone is in such condition (i.e. priable cracks in limestone, soft shale, easy to remove overburden, etc.) that it can be worked, and the work area is safe enough, then it's worth the effort, since the fossils that come directly out of the outcrop are usually in the best shape.

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The most recently worked/created debris is the best place to start. It will have the least weathered material if it has any fossils at all. The best way to find fossils is to read the information available for your area. All the work has already been done, and the strata which contain fossils have already been listed. You only need to read and choose the one you want to collect, find an exposure of that stratum, whether it's a roadcut, quarry, riverbank or other and go get them. Random exploration is generally a fun way to kill time, but it will only be killing time most of the time. Geological maps of the area will show you where your best chances are of finding exposures of the stratum you want.

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On 2/6/2020 at 9:51 PM, b. bartron said:

Missouri is full of fossils. What area are you in? 

I made the same mistake. He's referring to modus operandi.

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