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ArtsyAxolotl

I'd really like to get more into fossil hunting and rock hounding after how much fun I had at the beach. Are there any good sites I can access around Eastern PA? Specifically up to an hour or two of driving distance from Berks County. When I search for sites in PA I usually see suggestions for Central and West PA. I'm not looking to join any groups atm for personal reasons, but I'll take suggestions for when I feel up to it (there's a group in Reading I'm keeping an eye on).

 

Any tips would be appreciated! :) Thanks!

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hemipristis
Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, ArtsyAxolotl said:

I'd really like to get more into fossil hunting and rock hounding after how much fun I had at the beach. Are there any good sites I can access around Eastern PA? Specifically up to an hour or two of driving distance from Berks County. When I search for sites in PA I usually see suggestions for Central and West PA. I'm not looking to join any groups atm for personal reasons, but I'll take suggestions for when I feel up to it (there's a group in Reading I'm keeping an eye on).

 

Any tips would be appreciated! :) Thanks!

  • The Triassic redbed belt that trends NE-SW through Gettysburg and Valley Forge, into Lehigh County contain footprints, but most are located in parks. I know ppl that have found them on private land, but they ain't tellin'.
  • Mississippian tetrapod tracks in the Mauch Chunk Fm of eastern PA. I don't think I'm allowed to post, but if you PM me, I'll send you a link.
  • There is a locality in York, PA where one can find some fine (but rare) trilobites.  
  • Scattered Olenellus trilobites have been found in Lancaster County spots.
  • Deer Lake Paleozoic fossils, Deer Lake near Pottsville, Schuylkill County produces some excellent stuff: brachiopods, corals, gastropods, bivalves, trilobites, etc.
  •  

I"ll have to dig up my old Pennsylvania publications.  East of Lancaster County though, one enters the metamorphic belt. No fossils there, unless you count me when I return back east for Christmas :zzzzscratchchin:

 

If you are interested in mineral sites, I got plenty of those in eastern PA. Just let me know.

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Fossildude19

Fossil Collecting in Pennsylvania PDF

Common Fossils of PA.

 

This website has extremely OLD information, (in many cases, over 100 years old!)  but may be a place to start your research. 

A lot of the information here is no longer accurate, because sites have disappeared under construction, parking lots, etc. 

But you should check any accessible roadcuts, creeks, or ravines in the areas to check for outcrops.

 

Google maps can help find some areas. 

 

The Montour Fossil Pit looks to be within about 2 hours from Berks county. 

There are a few videos on YouTube about this place. 

 

Hope this helps out some. 

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ArtsyAxolotl
8 hours ago, hemipristis said:
  • The Triassic redbed belt that trends NE-SW through Gettysburg and Valley Forge, into Lehigh County contain footprints, but most are located in parks. I know ppl that have found them on private land, but they ain't tellin'.
  • Mississippian tetrapod tracks in the Mauch Chunk Fm of eastern PA. I don't think I'm allowed to post, but if you PM me, I'll send you a link.
  • There is a locality in York, PA where one can find some fine (but rare) trilobites.  
  • Scattered Olenellus trilobites have been found in Lancaster County spots.
  • Deer Lake Paleozoic fossils, Deer Lake near Pottsville, Schuylkill County produces some excellent stuff: brachiopods, corals, gastropods, bivalves, trilobites, etc.
  •  

I"ll have to dig up my old Pennsylvania publications.  East of Lancaster County though, one enters the metamorphic belt. No fossils there, unless you count me when I return back east for Christmas :zzzzscratchchin:

 

If you are interested in mineral sites, I got plenty of those in eastern PA. Just let me know.

 

I'd definitely love to check out some interesting mineral sites! I'll pm you in a bit :)

From my broad, uneducated googling it did seem like there wasn't much out this way and that most sites are central and western PA. But since I'm new to all this, I wasn't sure if I was just misunderstanding the info I was looking at.

 

4 hours ago, Fossildude19 said:

Fossil Collecting in Pennsylvania PDF

Common Fossils of PA.

 

This website has extremely OLD information, (in many cases, over 100 years old!)  but may be a place to start your research. 

A lot of the information here is no longer accurate, because sites have disappeared under construction, parking lots, etc. 

But you should check any accessible roadcuts, creeks, or ravines in the areas to check for outcrops.

 

Google maps can help find some areas. 

 

The Montour Fossil Pit looks to be within about 2 hours from Berks county. 

There are a few videos on YouTube about this place. 

 

Hope this helps out some. 

 

These are awesome resources! This helps a ton! I'm still learning so I'm not sure what info is good and what isn't. It's good to know that some is outdated but can still be a good place to start.

 

To both of you: Are a lot of the places collectors visit less trafficked areas? Sometimes my dad and I go for walks at Grings Mill park and I considered looking around for minerals and fossils by the river, but I sorta figured it's a popular enough trail that I may not find as much as I might somewhere more obscure. I wasn't really sure what other kinds of areas I'm allowed or able to get into besides well known parks and such.

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Fossildude19

A large portion of fossil collecting is research. You should really look into the legality of collecting in parks and at roadcuts. 

Some parks allow and even encourage it. (Beltzville State Park, Montour Preserve Fossil Pit, Swatara Gap State Park)  Other places may not.  :shrug:

It is incumbent on you to research whether collecting somewhere is legal or not. 

 

Other places, like private property, usually require permission. This means researching who owns the land, and writing, emailing, or approaching the owner for permission to collect on their property. 

 

20 minutes ago, ArtsyAxolotl said:

o both of you: Are a lot of the places collectors visit less trafficked areas? Sometimes my dad and I go for walks at Grings Mill park and I considered looking around for minerals and fossils by the river, but I sorta figured it's a popular enough trail that I may not find as much as I might somewhere more obscure. I wasn't really sure what other kinds of areas I'm allowed or able to get into besides well known parks and such.

 

Fossil hunting has been rising in popularity, especially during the past year. People are looking for things to do out and away from everyone. 

The best approach is to research what places have fossils, who owns the land they are on, and then, ask for permission. 

Most State Parks do not allow collecting, but some do. It can be confusing, so when in doubt, ask. 

This is where joining a club ( I know you are averse to it at this time) can come in handy.  Meeting more experienced locals who know the sites, the legality, and who can get access to sites not generally open to individuals (Quarries, and such) is worth the price of admission, usually. 

Talking to locals at the local coffee shop can be rewarding, and sometimes people will stop and ask what you are doing, and invite you to hunt on their property. 

 

I've personally found that a lot of people do not look down at the ground. So a highly trafficked area may not necessarily be low on finds. It really depends on what can be found there, and how many people are actually looking.  ;) 

 

Going to already known legal spots such as the ones mentioned above, can be a great way to get your feet wet, and learn what to look for. 

Many places are away from the crowds, but many are starting to become more populated as this hobby gains popularity.

 

It is all a matter of you get out of it what you put into it. ;) 

Or as Uncle Siphuncle is known for saying, "To the motivated go the spoils!"  :) 

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ArtsyAxolotl
8 minutes ago, Fossildude19 said:

A large portion of fossil collecting is research. You should really look into the legality of collecting in parks and at roadcuts. 

Some parks allow and even encourage it. (Beltzville State Park, Montour Preserve Fossil Pit, Swatara Gap State Park)  Other places may not.  :shrug:

It is incumbent on you to research whether collecting somewhere is legal or not. 

 

Other places, like private property, usually require permission. This means researching who owns the land, and writing, emailing, or approaching the owner for permission to collect on their property. 

 

 

Fossil hunting has been rising in popularity, especially during the past year. People are looking for things to do out and away from everyone. 

The best approach is to research what places have fossils, who owns the land they are on, and then, ask for permission. 

Most State Parks do not allow collecting, but some do. It can be confusing, so when in doubt, ask. 

This is where joining a club ( I know you are averse to it at this time) can come in handy.  Meeting more experienced locals who know the sites, the legality, and who can get access to sites not generally open to individuals (Quarries, and such) is worth the price of admission, usually. 

Talking to locals at the local coffee shop can be rewarding, and sometimes people will stop and ask what you are doing, and invite you to hunt on their property. 

 

Going to already known legal spots such as the ones mentioned above, can be a great way to get your feet wet, and learn what to look for. 

Many places are away from the crowds, but many are starting to become more populated as this hobby gains popularity.

 

It is all a matter of you get out of it what you put into it. ;) 

Or as Uncle Siphuncle is known for saying, "To the motivated go the spoils!"  :) 

 

Ahh that makes sense. That's a bit of why I wanted to do it, to get out of the house for a bit. I think it'd be good for my mental health. Mental health is a lot of the reason I'm adverse to joining a club, but I'm definitely working myself up towards it. 

You all have been very welcoming and have given me a lot of really good information. It's definitely making me feel more comfortable with the idea of meeting locals and joining a group. 

I'll check out the areas you both mentioned and the resources you linked! Thank you so much for the info~

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RandyB

@ArtsyAxolotl there are lots of sites in eastern PA, but it depends on what you are interested in.  Personally I collect a lot of plant fossils, but have also collected several marine deposits all well within an hour or two of Berks.  I have posted many local trips in the past as have many others here.  Despite St Clair being closed there are still places to legally collect carboniferous fern fossils if you like those,.  There are Devonian marine deposits nearby as well.  If you are willing to drive a little further, there are some interesting Ordovician marine deposits.  I would suggest looking through historical posts to see what you kind of things you can find and what you might be interested in.

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ArtsyAxolotl
4 hours ago, RandyB said:

@ArtsyAxolotl there are lots of sites in eastern PA, but it depends on what you are interested in.  Personally I collect a lot of plant fossils, but have also collected several marine deposits all well within an hour or two of Berks.  I have posted many local trips in the past as have many others here.  Despite St Clair being closed there are still places to legally collect carboniferous fern fossils if you like those,.  There are Devonian marine deposits nearby as well.  If you are willing to drive a little further, there are some interesting Ordovician marine deposits.  I would suggest looking through historical posts to see what you kind of things you can find and what you might be interested in.

 

I love ferns. They're one of my favorite plants. I think I'd also be interested in things like trilobites? Things that look like critters or have interesting shapes/patterns. I'll poke around on the forums and on the other resources people have sent me to see what sorts of things I'd like to hunt for~ Knowing what deposits are around PA really helps me narrow my search since I'm not familiar with names of things yet. Thank you so much for the suggestions and info!

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2 hours ago, ArtsyAxolotl said:

 

I love ferns. They're one of my favorite plants. I think I'd also be interested in things like trilobites? Things that look like critters or have interesting shapes/patterns. I'll poke around on the forums and on the other resources people have sent me to see what sorts of things I'd like to hunt for~ Knowing what deposits are around PA really helps me narrow my search since I'm not familiar with names of things yet. Thank you so much for the suggestions and info!

 

Pennsylvania really has quite a lot to offer, at least from the Paleozoic. Two hours from Berks County puts you in range of a lot of different sites, ranging from the Cambrian to the Pennsylvanian. I haven't been up that way in a while, but going into the Anthracite Region around Mt. Carmel northeastish to Scranton has a lot of fern sites. Considering it's all pretty much sedimentary rock around there any outcrop you come across could have fossils, just make sure to concentrate in the shales as those tend to have the best specimens. PA-54 has some cuts north of Ashland that are probably worth looking into. 

 

Trilobite sites are a little harder to pin down as at most sites they're more of an accessory and not the focus as it were. Years and years ago there was Swatara Gap, but that site has been closed for several years because collectors began to undermine the bridge it was next to. The current Swatara site is dumped material from the Mahantango Formation I believe, and does have some Devonian trilobites, but not nearly as common as the previous Ordovician locality. I think there's also a Beltzmill or Beltzville, and Montour as others have suggested. I've never been but it sounds like you'll probably come away with brachiopods/bryozoans from them at least. 

 

Locust Lane is the usual Kinzers Formation site people bring up. I've actually been to Locust Lane and didn't find much of anything. I've seen photos of trilobites people claim are from there, but honestly I am left to doubt how true some of that is. The Kinzers is very hit and miss as most of the famous fossils are extremely localized lagerstatten. There's another site nearby Locust Lane called North George Street I believe, but it's along a very busy road and I'm not quite sure how anyone collected there in the first place (I guess parked somewhere else and walked up to it? There's no shoulder and the shale outcrop butts up right against the road, so I wouldn't recommend it). 

 

Sorry I can't help much with specific sites. The only other one I've been to was on private land, but it didn't have much anyways. 

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I've been to a graptolite site in Berks county. Tim gave the reference to the book I got the site from. The OP mentions minerals which of course aren't fossils. The metamorphic belt of PA is pretty good for  minerals. A simple google search of Berks County Fossils gives a lot of hits so it seems a good place to collect:

https://www.mcall.com/news/mc-xpm-1990-03-13-2726332-story.html

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cngodles
On 5/27/2021 at 7:58 AM, Fossildude19 said:


Lots of caution on this one. Many of the sites are overgrown and many are private property. That is the reason they stopped publishing it. Great example, I visited one site, didn’t find much, and later found out the land owner closed it to everyone but students from a local university. Many sites state that you should get permission of the land owner, as they were private property at the time of publication.

 

Source: One of the authors is a friend and we’ve discussed this publication a few times.

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