March 5, 2011 - Mississippian Fossils, Franklin Co, AL

Okay, how many of you let a 90% chance of rain stop you from coming on the field trip?

Six of us showed up to hunt fossils in spite of the predictions of 90% rain over the entire south.  The weather report was correct this time!  It didn't rain on the way there, lulling us into believing it would hold off most of the day.  

With such a small group we decided to go to a location where we have not been in several years.  This location has a very poor road with large potholes, not much room to park, and a short hike to get to the lake.

On the way to the first site, we got quite a scare.  The sky lit up like a fireball, and there was an extremely loud explosion, like dynamite.  Later as we headed to another site, we saw a huge oak tree that must have been 3-4 ft in diameter, literally blown to pieces, and they had recently removed the large limbs from the road.  It looked like someone had blown it up.  It was about a mile from where we had heard the explosion.

After minor sprinkles and even periods of no rain at all, the minute we got to site one, the rain started.  We tried to wait it out to no avail.  The rain was as determined as we were.  However, everyone was in a good mood and ready to collect fossils, so we donned our rain suits, ponchos, and rubber boots, grabbed our umbrellas, and walked down to the lake in the rain. This location has a lot more mud than what we are accustomed to.  The intent was to avoid one of the more muddy roadside cuts, but we managed to get just as muddy here as we would have at the other location.  We found a number of rocks with weathered out fossils showing extremely clear detail, and the first rock Ann picked up contained a trilobite.

At site two we found numerous horned corals, the bryozoan Archimedes and its filter feeding structures (fenestrae), crinoid stems, a trilobite, blastoids, and tiny shells, and of course the ever present rocks covered with fossils.

After that we decided to proceed to another site along the lake where large corals have been found in the past. We also found a complete crinoid head and legs, which was the find of the day. Around five o'clock as the rain had still not let up and a chill wind started blowing, we decided it was time to head home. Most of us decided to stop at a local steak house for dinner where we dried out, warmed up, and filled our bellies.