July 31, 2004 - Monroe Co, AL

This month BPS members headed to Monroe County in South Alabama, where we collected in the Lisbon Formation and Gosport Sand. Steve and Gilbert took their boats, so we spent the day scouting several miles along the riverbanks. Due to rain earlier in the week, the water level had risen 6-8 feet since the scouting trip, so the ledges were mostly underwater, and our collecting was restricted to the upper reaches. Numerous gastropods, turritella and trace fossils that appear to be burrows of some kind were found, also a few shark teeth, echinoids, and even a piece of permineralized wood were found. Some of the bivalves were complete and hardened. Many of the turritella and other shells found in the Gosport Sand were so fragile that it took careful digging to keep the shells from dissolving as they were touched. When broken open, a number of the "burrows" had shells inside them. Wildlife was also spotted, including an alligator and alligator tracks, numerous herons, and Steve spotted the largest water moccasin he had ever seen in his many years in the outdoors, startled him so much he threw his fossils in the river beating a path back to the boat! Sorry 'bout that, Steve!

Members participating in this long trip were Greg, Jan, Steve, Leisa, Gilbert, Carolyn, Vicki, Nancy and Miss Daisy.

(Photos courtesy Nancy Kenfield, Steve Corvin, and Vicki Lais)
rocks along rivers edge that contain fossils
Along the shoreline.

Greg and Steve, getting ready to check out this landing.
hunting fossils on riverbank

hunting fossils on riverbank

Shells in matrix. Sand is wet, and shells will disintegrate at the slightest touch. Careful excavation is essential.
fossils in riverbank

fossils in riverbank

At slightly higher elevations, the shells are dry and hard. Leisa found these.
fossils found in riverbank

fossil gastropods and bivalves
A representative sampling of shells in this locality.

fossils shells in riverbank
Shell impressions.
fossil shell impressions

fossil shell layer in riverbank
Shell layers in the bank.

Turritella found by Steve.
fossil turritella

Sand dollar found by Steve.
fossil sand dollar

bivalve and shark teeth

fossil sand dollars
Nice collection of sand dollars found by Steve.

fossil oyster

Large boulders, appearing to be trace fossils, perhaps burrows.
fossil burrows

fossil burrows

Many of the burrows had shells inside.
fossil shells inside fossil burrows

collecting fossils in riverbank

fossil tooth
Tooth found by Steve.

Gilbert after a long hard day on the river.
hunting fossils in riverbank

chalk bluffs where fossils are found
A view of the bluffs, mostly grown over now.

getting boat out of river
End of another great collecting day!

On the way down, some of us apparently took a wrong fork in the road.... that sign was deceiving.
fake interstate sign

And we entered into a strange land, populated by the most bizzare critters! (Forkland??)
fantasy shapes made with hay rolls

fantasy shapes made with hay rolls
For scale, note that Vicki is hugging the tin man's leg. Both the ship and car (above) are REAL.
fantasy shapes made with hay rolls

hay rolls in field
Alabama countryside near Forkland.