Devonian collecting continues...
I was over at the Cooper Lane Quarry Sept. 9. I collected
like mad for about 3 hours and
wore myself out under the sun. It was barely 80 degrees when I left, but I still sweated like
a proverbial pig. The nature of the collecting area has changed markedly since my last visit
in mid May. They are finally blasting the coral area and have dumped limestone dust and
fine gravel so I can now park in the middle of the collecting area. I focused on the zone that
was farthest from where I parked in May. Today I could collect between 100 and 500 feet
from the vehicle, instead of 500 to 1000 feet!
I collected like there was no tomorrow because the area is rapidly being converted to crushed
stone! Now that Hanson has taken over they are shooting one or twice a week instead of one
or twice a day, but they have increased the blast size to compensate! (I'm sure it is a mixed
blessing to the subdivisions nearby.) Next Monday they are going to remove a large volume
of soil for a customer. That will make the collecting area off limits temporarily. They are within
600 feet of the property line and cannot blast any closer than 300 feet. The long term prognosis
is to migrate into fields to the east, so collecting should be good for another couple of decades
(assuming they continue to allow me access).
The transfer of the quarry from Liter's to Hanson has not affected my access because I am
friends with the head of their southern Indiana operations. I get a feeling that other individuals
and groups may not have the freer reign they had under Liter's management. (Time will tell.)
I have not had problems bringing people in with me. (Although this is only my second visit to
the quarry under the Hanson name.)
I brought a wheel barrow to haul out some blocks of the Brevispirifer zone with its mass of
silicified fossils. Got some yard rock, plus two nice Turbo snail molds in matrix. Also found
the largest Coleolus (a pteropod?) to date, and several nice Hippocardia rostroconchs, one
with the siphon (the first one of those I have found intact). I photographed an orthocone
cephalopod and a crinoid calyx that were impossible to remove with the tools at hand.
Click on pictures to Magnify
A view of the collecting area 9-9-06. The highwall is on the right. Parking is
convenient, but getting there is not suitable for a vehicle with low ground clearance!
I am not parked as close to the highwall as it may appear in this photo.
A general view from slightly further away in May, 2006.
A camerate crinoid calyx (upside-down) in situ. The hammer is visible
in photo #1. It is still there and would be a lot of work to saw out because
the Jeffersonville Limestone is quite hard.
The rostroconch Hippocardia cuneus, in situ. It was easy to remove
with a hammer and chisel. The small limestone gravel was deposited
there by the adjacent blasting!
A silicified orthocone cephalopod in the Brevispirifer gregarius zone.
Note the abundant fossils that surround it.
Siphonophrentis elongata in situ. This horn coral gets quite large in the coral zone
of the Jeffersonville Limeston, but in this layer (the Paraspirifer acuminatus zone)
the sea floor wasn't stable for long periods, so its maximize size is "only" one foot.
They weather out in four to eight-inch sections. The largest coral I found today
was about six inches.
Coleolus tenuicinctum, the largest specimen I have ever found. Considered
to be a mollusk, they might be related to pteropods, though this is uncertain
as far as I know.
Mold of a Turbinopsis shumardi in an encrusting stromatoporoid with a
rostroconch in the top center. This might be of the genus Biglea instead
of Hippocardia. It has the best preserved siphon of any rostroconch I
have found. It is also encrusted by a stromatoporoid.
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