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GMS Epic Trip
The first stop on the epic field trip was a meteorite impact location in Tennessee. The site is a very, very old impact crater. The meteorite struck with such force that the bedrock has a distinctive fracture pattern. Sometimes the fractures result in a cone which is referred to as a “shatter cone”. A limited group got to collect shatter cones at ground zero. The shatter pattern is omnipresent in the dolostone there, and with a little work we were extracting some excellent cones, including some 360 degree specimens, plus Walt Kubilius extracted a positive and it’s negative. It was a great way to begin the epic trip.
Various Specimens in Tennessee and Mississippi
Friday, Saturday, Sunday
May 22, 23, 24, 2015
The next day started at sunrise in front of a quarry in Tennessee. First we signed waivers, then listened carefully to all of the safety rules. After we donned our hardhats and steel-toed boots, quarry employees escorted the group into the quarry and directed us to the fossils. Immediately we were finding trilobite pygidiums (aka trilo-butts), crinoid stems, brachiopods, and plates loaded with bryozoans. I saw several crinoid calyxes and some unidentified specimens too. All around I kept hearing “Oh wow, look at this!” followed by “Oh wait, look at this!” Teresa Curl may have found a complete bryozoan colony. There were so many superb fossils I think everyone came away with at least one prize piece.
After a quick lunch we headed for the next stop on the epic trip at a creek in Mississippi. We were met there by Roger Lambert from the North Mississippi Gem & Mineral Society and his son Matt. They led us to the best areas of the creek to collect and helped identify our finds. The water felt great and it was easy to screen for fossils there. Exogyra oyster fossils (and sand samples!) were abundant. Shark teeth were a little more elusive, though several nice specimens were found. Lizabeth McClain found a rare piece of fossilized shark cartilage. My most unusual acquisition came when I uttered what must be one of the best questions I have ever had to ask a stranger, “Excuse me – is that your rubber chicken?” Even if it was hers, she laid no claim to it, so it is now mine.
The last day and final stop on the epic trip was a fossil location in Mississippi. Thanks to GMS member Al Klatt who introduced us to George Phillips, Paleontology Curator at the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science, we got permission to collect at a borrow pit. Decapods were the prizes that day from tiny crabs to spiny lobsters. Most of the crabs were just the carapaces, though there were some specimens with a few appendages attached, and there were several species found. Roger and his son were on hand again to help direct us to the best places to search and to identify our finds. Delicate gastropods plus sea pen fossils were abundant. Mickey McClain found a complete spiny lobster. New member John Crown even found some crab coprolites!
The epic trip would not have been possible without the help of many people: our geologist friend who is extremely knowledgeable about the impact site; the management and employees at the quarry; Roger Lambert and his family; George Phillips; plus all of the field trip attendees who travelled so far, patiently endured the “who’s on first” Eastern time vs Central time confusion, and simply had fun!
For more pictures from each trip, click the corresponding trip photo below.
On behalf of Charles Carter, GMS Field Trip Chair
Site 3: Cretaceous Fossils in Mississippi
(Click the picture above for more pictures)
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