January 22, 2011 - Devonian Fossils - St. Clair County, AL

BPS members headed to St. Clair County this month to search for Devonian fossils.  With the past week having numerous days below freezing, we were hoping the predicted 48 degrees would be bearable.  It actually turned out to be a very pleasant sunny day.  After a too-long hiatus from fossil trips, we had members showing up from Huntsville, Birmingham, Mobile, Anniston, Montgomery, and Georgia to spend the day outside digging in the dirt.  Quite literally!   We had been asked to collect soil samples for Jun Ebersole so the first order of business was to collect baggies of dirt. Each person had a card with a number and their name on it and positioned themselves from top to bottom on the hillside.  Their chosen spot was where they collected their soil sample.

After the soil samples were collected and stored away safely, we started searching for fossils.  Though we haven't been to this site in several years, it was not weathered as much as we'd like.  In fact, it's getting grown over, and eventually will be "reclaimed" by mother nature.  Weathering out of the red dirt were numerous bits of corals and sponges, with only a few whole specimens.  Fossils were much more difficult to find on this trip, and most of what we found on the surface were worn and broken.  In one area, a few impressions of archimedes and crinoids in Ft. Payne chert were found. Some of rocks in the area are light yellow sandstone or siltstone, and split rather easily.  Inside are mostly brachiopods and trilobites.  Normally we find only the trilobite cephalon (head) at this location, but this time we also found several pygidiums (tail). On a large limestone boulder high on the mountain, and very difficult to reach, is the impression of a gastropod and "something else".