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A Spring Hunt In Se Minnesota


Bev

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April 10, 2014 in southeastern Minnesota, Winona County, was a warm spring day where a coat was not even necessary. What a blessing after such a long and cold winter. The blue sky was punctuated by few clouds. The air was crisp and smelled of the promise of warmer days ahead. Only a light breeze caressed my bare forearms as I stepped out of the blue Chevy truck and surveyed the 1/8 mile of road cut that spanned both sides of the road. I had never hunted this road cut before. I was interested to see what whispers from a long dead sea it may hold.

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I was parked beside the north-facing cut and decided to walk that first. It was still capped by snow with banks of snow at both ends. Within 10 feet I was seeing newly shed plates of brachiopods, with bryozoans and were those trilobite shell bits? Since the cut was definitely fossilized, I went back to the truck to get my glasses. NO! I could not find my glasses and I was so sure I had packed them in anticipation of possibly having time to fossil hunt. Well, I was relegated only the fossils an old farsighted woman could see – larger fossils for me today.

As I walked the cut and poked into the fresh shale I only took the best of the death beds presented. My truck was already full of hay and the front seat was packed with used store finds of the day as my sister and I had been shopping. After packing my finds into the passenger side leg area I closed the door and walked over to the south-facing road cut.

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A red tailed hawk circling in search of a field mouse distracted me with its cry and I almost stepped on a garter snake, its forked red tongue flicked out in annoyance at my disturbing its spring sun bath. This side was even richer in fossils than the other. There was a mud layer between the beds of shale and I found horn corals, brachiopods, and yes, much larger pieces of trilobite shells. By the time I had walked half of the south-facing slope, I had so many fossilized rocks that my front seat was full. Time to go home.

Continued...

Edited by Bev

The more I learn, I realize the less I know.

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Nice, im glad you actually got out for a hunt! Are you going to show us the fruits of your labors?

~Charlie~

"There are those that look at things the way they are, and ask why.....i dream of things that never were, and ask why not?" ~RFK
->Get your Mosasaur print
->How to spot a fake Trilobite
->How to identify a CONCRETION from a DINOSAUR EGG

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Mud layer between the layers of rock.

I drove past a road cut that I knew was fossilized, it pained me but I had no more room.

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Another couple of miles and I was almost to Hwy. 74 when I just had to stop and check out some of the large rocks that had slid out of this road cut over the winter. I pulled the truck over, just to look, stopped, got out and walked to the top of the road cut. Two huge rocks, the first I encountered were filled with brachiopods, bi-valves, and bryozoans of at least 3 species. My heart started to race and I was so frustrated that I could not get a really good look at them. So I took pictures and yes, picked up some of the smaller ones above them.

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Continued...

Edited by Bev

The more I learn, I realize the less I know.

:wacko:
 
 

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It was so early in the spring yet that water was seeping from the rocks yet. Somewhere I had read that you can identify Decorah Shale in the spring and in wet weather by where the water seeps out on a rock face. The Decorah Shale is supposed to be so tightly packed that water does not penetrate it well and so it will run down the rock face when it hits that layer of shale.

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Note the water running out of the rocks at this point.

Continued...

Edited by Bev

The more I learn, I realize the less I know.

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More hash plates and now some mudstone that was heavily fossilized. Yes, I lugged samples back to the truck and stuffed them into the crevices between the hay bales. Tired, but happy, I drove home trying to avoid looking at promising road cuts that I did not have time to hunt on this trip.

It was dark when I got home and we unloaded hay. Tomorrow I will unload my promising fossilized rocks and see if I have time to study their Ordovician secrets.

Done for today. :)

Edited by Bev

The more I learn, I realize the less I know.

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Nice, im glad you actually got out for a hunt! Are you going to show us the fruits of your labors?

Yes, but I wanted to finish the tale first.

Everyone seems to be complaining about the small size of my photos that I made them big and now it takes multiple replies to tell a story. :-D

Please let me know if you think I should go back to small pictures.

How are the photos for you? Is the camera working at this distance?

Edited by Bev

The more I learn, I realize the less I know.

:wacko:
 
 

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Yes, but I wanted to finish the tale first.

Everyone seems to be complaining about the small size of my photos that I made them big and now it takes multiple replies to tell a story. :-D

Please let me know if you think I should go back to small pictures.

How are the photos for you? Is the camera working at this distance?

Pics are good!

Sorry for the premature post....haha. I feel bad. Im excited to see your finds. I can relate to the long winter and i know how excited i was to get out from under my rock!

~Charlie~

"There are those that look at things the way they are, and ask why.....i dream of things that never were, and ask why not?" ~RFK
->Get your Mosasaur print
->How to spot a fake Trilobite
->How to identify a CONCRETION from a DINOSAUR EGG

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This is from that second road cut. Shell is still on part of it. I believe it to be an Isotelus trilobite pygidium.

And here is the back of the rock. Looks to be other trilo parts in there to me.

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Don't have much more time right now. This one just stood out to me when I pulled the rocks from my truck today. Didn't even see it as being a pygidium yesterday. Actually, I picked up the rock for the back side!

The more I learn, I realize the less I know.

:wacko:
 
 

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I like that big bryo plate! (those are bryos and not burrows, right?)

Yup bryozoans. BIG rock - we are talking a skid loader to get it out. :-( But there are lots of smaller ones around it. :-)

The more I learn, I realize the less I know.

:wacko:
 
 

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Here is a better shot of that trilo pygidium. I think it is the best one I've found given how intact the shell is. :-D

The more I learn, I realize the less I know.

:wacko:
 
 

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Yup bryozoans. BIG rock - we are talking a skid loader to get it out. :-( But there are lots of smaller ones around it. :-)

But that big one would make a nice trophy specimen!

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I agree that it would be a nice trophy rock. But I have my eye on an even better one. When my computer gets fixed I will show you a picture of it. :D

The more I learn, I realize the less I know.

:wacko:
 
 

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  • 1 month later...

Bev,

nice description of your spring fossil hunt. So good to get out again and the Isotelus was just the icing on your cake

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