This is my first post since moving into the corporate world after trucking. It’s been way too long between posts, and I’m not sure I can promise that I’ll be a more frequent writer, like in the old days, but I’m going to give it a try. Regardless, I’m definitely going to continue this blog at some kind of pace…
So, Cherry Grove is just north of Myrtle Beach and it is a beach town. I’ll prove it:
Obviously, we found lots of shells, and they are techically fossils, since they are traces of something that was once alive, but we found some real fossils here, too.
First, I’ll show you what my wife found.
The longer, pointy fellas are fossilized teeth of sand tiger sharks, or carchrias taurus (not the same as tiger sharks). These sharks are swimming about today, though they have been around for almost 100 million years. I haven’t identified the wider-based teeth yet, but they’re common so I believe that’s only a matter of time.
I found some petrified wood. It seems like that’s what I find most often…I’m really not complaining. As you can see, there are holes all through this created by worms.
This piece came from the ocean, so I can’t say it’s actually from anywhere near here. It just washed up here. If it does happen to come from SC, it’s likely pleistocene, or ice age, material.
While on a photo shoot with the famous photographer Sam Wolfe down at Riverside Park in Vero Beach, I discovered some pretty, champaign-colored calcite crystals sitting in a fossiliferous limestone/sandstone mix rock which was being used as decoration along the waterline. (Yes, that was a severely sesquipedalian sentence.)
I did expect to find the crystals, but I did not expect them to be as large as they were: upwards of 8mm or so.
What’s cool is that they look like they’re coming out of the shell. It would have been difficult to extract this without damaging it (as I didn’t bring any tools with me…), so it’s still sitting in a rock on the peninsula poking westward toward the mainland for your viewing pleasure.
Where to next?
Iwis, I’m not above going to the same locations. You may say I’m a lazy explorer and ocassionally that’s true, but all I really promised in making Treasure Hunting Trucker is that I will find cool stuff relating to geology, mineralogy, paleontology, and should it ever cross my path, archeology.
Well, I’m keeping that promise by showing you my new favorite piece of petrified wood. I prefer PW that still has organic material. That is, I prefer permineralized (partially replaced with minerals) wood. Basically, wood that turned mostly to rock that still actually looks like wood.
This fella here looks pretty good for 207-209,000,000 years old, for having been flattened by a major volcanic event, and for dealing with countless Arizona wind storms (which seem to last around 364 days, give or take a few). It still looks like wood and therefore gives a more realistic view of the Upper Triassic than the fully agatized variety.
These are closer to being completely agatized with the one at the top being the furthest along in the process. This is the stuff, generally, that most collectors go for because it’s pretty and it sells better than its woody-looking brother.
This location is off exit 300 on I-40 westbound (so the land north of the highway). You should be able to find good PW from here to Winslow at least. Just make sure you’re not on Native American reservation land or in a national park. Other than that, if there are no “No Tresspassing” signs you’re golden (most of AZ is public land). FYI: watch out for rattlesnakes, huge spiders, elk, cattle, scorpions, and all the super sharp burrs that plants love to attach to your shoelaces, socks, pants, etc.
Where to next?
Just south of Amsterdam at the rest area on I-90 eastbound, there is a fair variety of mineral and fossil “reference” specimens. By “reference” I just mean that what you find here probably won’t make your show cabinet, but there are really cool examples of ordovician (444-488 mya) marine life with surprising detail.
Above, a trilobite and a sea star were hanging out, some things happened that nobody wanted, then some mud covered them, none of their friends could find them, and almost half a billion years later they show themselves again. At least they missed the awful hair bands of the 1980’s…the 1880’s…the 1780’s…well, all of the 80’s I guess.
There are lots of bits of trilobites, sea stars’ arms, crinoid columnal segments, shell pieces of all kinds, corals, red calcite, grey dolomite, and a little quartz that you can find with pretty high rates of success for most of these. All of this material is in the bank toward the exit and none of it is in the slate, which is surprising because there’s a ton of material in slate about 20-30 miles down the road in Herkimer county.
Where to next?
As this was my first time going to Nova Scotia where almost nothing went wrong (lost balance and bumped head…inside the cab of the truck…), I actually had a few minutes to walk around the industrial park on Bluewater Road and see what’s going on. This area is commercial and therefore private property, so ask if you feel the need to search here. Fortunately, this rock formation is all over the area, so you can look most anywhere else here and probably find what I did.
First, much of the bedrock here is a hard kind of metamorphic slate that’s suffered from some heat and pressure. There are also granites and other high silica content amalgamations to look through. Anywise, I found what I expected…unfortunately, it wasn’t there…It’ll make sense after the pic.
This is what the matrix rock looks like when a beautifully formed pyrite cube decides to jump ship. It was likely a 3-5 cm specimen that didn’t want to move to the US. It’d probably just get deported anyway…
I found this in some gravel. It’s a small pocket of epidote crystals. Someday, I’m hoping to find epidote crystals to several cm’s in length. Since these 2-3 mm fellas are twice as large as the last epidote crystals I found (in Arizona), I figure I’m moving in the right direction.
Where to next?
Another entry on the importance of looking down periodically…
At the last eastbound rest area on I-80 just before reaching Toledo, the decorative, mid-sized pebbles along the building and surrounding sidewalks are littered with limestones and sandstones containing marine fossils. Bivalves and corals are mostly what you will find here as well as some tiny specks of pyrite here and there.
Not that any of these finds are scientifically significant directly, but I do believe that as we map out our finds we do our parts in putting together a more complete picture of prehistory. True, these finds from rest areas and the like are allochthonous, so to speak, and are so for human and not natural reasons, and are not exactly scientifically valid for that reason. However, none of these locations pull there “rock-scaping” from very far away and so can contribute to a general view of the past’s “bio-scape”.
So look down occasionally. I promise you that you will start finding cool things…or bump your head because you’re not looking forward…
Where to next?
This is a short post today mostly just reminding you to look down once in awhile. While at a gas station in De Witt, IA, I noticed I had parked on a limestone/sandstone gravel. Anywhere you see rock like this in the midwest, there is an excellent chance of finding something (either fossil or calcites).
I’ve seen this same carboniferous-aged material all over Iowa and Illinois and similar material all the way down to Oklahoma.
Where to next?