Saturday, May 10, 2008

Invertebrate Fossil Hunting!

I went fossil hunting today and it was really neat. The site was at Silverado, and we went with the Natural History Museum of LA. This is a picture of the near vertical cliff face we were pulling fossils from, and if you look towards the bottom of the cliff, you can see the very algae filled creek you can land in if you make a miss-step.

The site was about 90 million years old, and was the shallow part of the ocean. Mostly there were a lot of shellfish, as it was the site of an oyster/clam bed.

This was my first fossil find, an impression of a coiled ammonite. Unfortunately, I never found a whole ammonite. I am inexperienced in using a pick, so it was difficult for me to extract fossils without breaking them, and near vertical conditions of the cliff made it a little tricky to work on.

Luckily, I never ended up in the creek, although at one point I came very close. I was going for a straight ammonite near the top of the cliff and gravity took over. I first started scrambling for handholds, but after realizing there were not any, I just let myself slide down till I stopped naturally. (Basically, just above the creek)

After, that I decided that looking through the scree at the bottom of the hill was much more productive. Indeed, many of the shells had weathered out of the rock intact, so I got some nice looking specimens. Much better than trying to break them out.

So at the end of the day, I had collected what was believed to be some scaphopod shells (seen top with a modern scaphopod shell), several gastropod shells (top left in bottom picture), scallops, clams (top right in bottom picture), and some straight and coiled ammonite pieces (bottom center in bottom picture). All in all a good day!

1 comment:

Dorid said...

and THIS is why I miss LA sometimes.