October 23, 2004 - Cretaceous Fossils, Tuscaloosa and Hale Co, AL

October saw the troops headed to Hale county, AL to a favorite creek. After meeting at a rest area, we headed South to Tuscaloosa where we made a stop at the Museum of Natural History on the University campus. Great fossil collections as well as a fun exhibit of bugs and bats caught everybody's interest. We were delighted to see that the Mosasaur is still on display. Stopping at the museum gave us a chance to get a visual fix on what we might find during the day, so it was a nice start for the day.

The creek was higher than expected when we got there, and it became clear that wading (sometimes in some over-the-knees water) would be on the menu. Part of our group chose to sift from a bank while standing in knee deep to thigh deep water while the other part of our group headed downstream. The downstream group discovered that mother nature's engineers had built a very nice dam, thus explaining the high water level. Below the dam sifting was very easy.

This creek runs through the Mooreville Chalk, producing mostly shells, bones, shark and mosasaur teeth. Numerous shark-teeth were found, also several ptychodus teeth, LOTS of fossil clam shells and exogyra, a few fish vertebra, bivalve steinkerns, and several gastropod steinkerns.

Almost everyone had a sieve of some kind. Only one of us managed to get completely dunked but claimed it was a refreshing experience! See, kids, we aren't kidding about bringing a change of clothing! You NEVER KNOW!

Some brave souls tested out MRE's at lunch. Interesting. Our fighting folk have our deepest sympathies! Actually they weren't that bad.

A long day was capped off by chowing down at a great local barbecue place! All in all, a fun and productive trip!

--Edited by Vicki Lais

(Photos courtesy Vicki Lais)

Ala Museum of Natural History
First stop was the Museum of Natural History in Tuscaloosa. Thousands of fossils, but none we could collect! We were pleased to find the large mosasaur specimen was still being exhibited.

hunting fossils in creek
Steve, Lea, and Glyn screening the gravel.

hunting fossils in creek

fossils in screen
One of Nancy's screening efforts. Several large exogyra.

fossils in screen
One of Steve's hauls, note the shells and partial ammonite.

fossil shark and ptychodus teeth
Shark and ptychodus teeth found by Steve.

hunting fossils in creek
Jan, Claire, & Leisa.

hunting fossils in creek
View up the creek.

At the end of a beautiful day, we had several show-and-tell displays.
fossil teeth and miscellaneous
Greg's display.

fossil teeth and shells
Lea's finds, note the mosasaur jawbone in lower right corner.

fossil teeth and shells
Paige's display. She wanted to find enough shark teeth to share with her classmates, and she certainly accomplished her goal!

Paige with 35 shark teeth
35 shark teeth found!

fossil shells, ammonite

fossil shark teeth, gastropod, miscellaneous
Vicki's finds.