December 6, 2008 - Pennsylvanian Fossils - Walker County, Alabama

This month the group had a "Scouting Outing" to a new location in Walker county.  An initial quick survey of the site a few days before turned up few fossils, so there was some concern about taking a group.  We also planned for two more stops, and with this group, even heading off for dinner can be fun! We need not have been concerned, plenty of fossils were found by everyone.

 The first stop was a construction site, and the fossil material, Pennsylvannian shale, was being used for fill dirt; most of it had been run over multiple times with a bulldozer, crumbling the matrix, and the larger rocks around the edge were soft, turning back into mud with the recent rains.  Needless to say, getting quality specimens out whole was a reason for excitement!  With all the extra eyes, numerous boulders were discovered and split, revealing an entire forest of plant life, including lycopods (scale trees), spenophytes (horsetails), fern like plants, cordaites, and even fossil limpets.  Even more fossils were found (lost?) by those of us who just HAD to split every rock, to see what new treasure lay below the current layer!

After several hours at the site, we decided to head to another new spot that had not been scouted.  It was a huge area, a reclaimed strip mine, but with several outcrops of shale material dotted around the property, along a ditch and along a ridge.  Unfortunately, fossils were sparce at this site, though Bill did find a very nice lycopod specimen in the "back 40".  Last stop was a roadcut where we had found starfish in the past, but none were spotted on this trip.