August 19-20, 2006 - Cretaceous Fossils, Lowndes Co, AL

Once again BPS was out in the boonies with the ATV’s! Greg even brought his own ride this trip. Go, Greg! Gorgeous weather, good turn-out. Sandy Ebersole, a new BPS member from the Geological Survey of Alabama, was interested in examining the formation to determine if it is part of the same Ripley Formation she is studying at Coon Creek in Tennessee. Sandy and Jun Ebersole both gave us a short overview of the formations and geology of the area before we started collecting, which left us with an excellent perspective on where we were going.

We explored several small creeks in the area for the first time, where we found a number of crabs and other items, including clams, in nodules. Sandy found an outcrop in the first creek where she gathered numerous samples for her research.

The main creek yielded great samples for all: more crabs and clams, and unknown items in concretions. Sandy located another interesting outcropping and took more samples of microfossils. Michelle found some nice ammonite pieces, including one piece showing beautiful suture marks.
Since the Ebersole's needed to leave that night, our hosts set up an impromptu trip to a gully for the evening. Sandy and Jun wanted to see if this was part of the Ripley Formation (current thought is - probably not). Jun got a quick lesson on ATV driving and we hit the gully where we found teeth and bits of shells.

The next morning before the mist had burned off, we went to a different gully that had not been explored for several years, but did not yield many finds. After returning to camp, and meeting new arrivals, two groups were formed. One group went back to the creek where the crabs had been found, and another group consisting of Vicki, Michelle and Becky took off on a scouting adventure to explore yet another “new” creek. This turned out to be a great spot with some decent finds of brachiopods, clams, gastropods, exogyra, shark vertebrae, and possible pieces of bone.

Later in the day, diehards Becky and Vicki explored the main creek again, using a different access point and went a little ways up the stream until the creek got too difficult to navigate.

After two days of excellent collecting, all went their way home and look forward to the next field trip.

Edited by Vicki Lais

(Photos courtesy Vicki Lais)

ATV ride to fossil site
On the way again! Riding to the site is almost as much fun as the collecting itself!

geology lecture at fossil site
Sandy and Jun provide handouts and short lectures on the geology of the area.

hunting fossils in creek
General area where several crab nodules were found.

hunting fossils in creek
This outcrop has numerous small bits of shell and other material embedded in it. Sandy took lots of samples for her research.

Richard showing off a fossil crab
Richard found a very nice crab.

hunting fossils in sand by creek
Leisa decides to sift the fine sand in her search for smaller fossils.

collecting fossil samples
Collecting samples for research.

hunting fossils in creek
A dried up creek we explored in the area.

hunting fossils in creek
We explored the main creek a good long while.

creek where fossils are found
Nice view of the creek, which is almost dry in some areas due to the lingering drought. Notice the Spanish moss hanging from some of the trees.

Aaron showing off fossil crab
Aaron found a nice, large crab.

Aaron showing off fossil crab
Closer view of Aaron's large crab nodule.

richard digging out a fossil crab
Richard is digging out a very nice crab.

taking soil samples to hunt microfossils
Another outcrop that Sandy found interesting. Many soil samples were taking from this location.

taking soil samples to hunt microfossils
Greg is assisting in collecting the soil samples.

hunting fossils in outcrop

Becky found nice fossil crab
Becky found this nice crab nodule.

fossil ammonite
Michelle found part of an ammonite.

fossil ammonite
More ammonite found by Michelle.

resting after a long day hunting fossils
Taking a rest after a long, hot day on the creek.

new ATV driver, good transportation to hunt fossils
Jun and Sandy probably had more fun than the rest of us getting to the next collecting location - this was Jun's first opportunity to drive an ATV!

hunting fossils in gully
After a bit of a rest, we decided to explore a gully late in the afternoon.

fossil shark tooth and shell bits
This is how the gully looks when you get closer to the ground - a lot of shell bits and pieces. Can you find the shark tooth in this picture? It takes a while to get one's eye attuned to the coloring and patterns.

hunting fossils in gully early morning
Early Sunday morning, we headed to a gully that had not been surveyed in several years. No items of interest were found here, mostly bits of shells and broken nodules, and a lot of caliche.

nodule with fossil inside
Closer view of the ground and a nodule.

Becky, Vicki, Michelle on ATV going to hunt fossils
After the gully trip, one group headed back to the main creek for crabs, and the Three Musketeers, Becky, Vicki, and Michelle, headed off for an adventure to find and scout a new creek.

becky in a cane forest near fossil site
Becky amongst the fishing poles.

creek with fossils
Finally, we made it to the creek, which was littered with shells, primarily exogyra.

fossil exogyra

fossil exogyra and shells
More exogyra pieces. The slightly circular pieces with the dimple in the middle are the other half of the exogyra, though we did not find any articulated specimens.

fossil gastropods
Exogyra and a couple of gastropods found by Vicki.

fossil clam shell
Nice bivalve found by Becky.

Michelle and Becky hunt fossils at the creek
Michelle and Becky looking for fossils.

small fossil vertebra
Small vertebra found by Vicki.

recent bone not fossil
Bone, but unfortunately, it appears to be recent.

creek where we hunt fossils
Last creek to be explored.

fossil shells in rock matrix
This rock filled with shells was found at this creek, but not much else, so all headed home.