Wednesday, August 1, 2007

I arrive in Malta, Montana

to be posted soon.

Plant fossils in Montana

Marine Fossils in North Wyoming

To be posted soon.

Kemmerer to Lander WY

Today I packed up and got a late start on the drive to Lander, Wyoming, but it was only going to be about 150 miles plus side trips. I wanted to stop at an area known as the Blue Forest for petrified wood. However, I found that the road leading to it was dirt and a bit muddy, and over 10 miles long, so I decided to skip this stop.

Next I proceeded up to Farson, Wyoming, a VERY small town near a large reservoir. I drove out to the reservoir, across the dam to an area known to have stromatilites (fossilized algae). I had learned of this site in "Rockhounding Wyoming" which even showed a good picture of the site. It turned out to be easy to find.

The stromatilites were easy to find too; other collectors had knocked off a bunch of them and so I only needed to pick up a few like this one:

I also found pieces of rock with turitella fossils in it:

I headed back to town for lunch in the only restaurant in town. I decided to have a steak sandwich, expecting something like I would get in LA, about the size of my open hand, about 1/4" thick served open face. What I got was a 10 ounce steak the size of two open hands, 1/2" thick served with 2 small pieces of garlic bread to make it qualify as a sandwich. It also came with a huge basket of onion rings. It was outstanding! I ate it all!

Next I drove next door to a world famous ice cream place that my geology buddies have raved about, that claims to have the largest ice cream cones in the world.

Luckily for my waist line, they had a sign on the door that they were closed for remodeling and would be open again on July 27, 2007. It was July 27th, but clearly construction delays are common in Wyoming too.

I then proceeded up Highway 191 to a gravel road leading south a short distance to a site where I found petrified palm root

Then I continued on towards Lander Wyoming, passing over the Continental Divide. Going down the mountain I passed a fabulous enormous red sandstone canyon, called Red Canyon, but the road was to steep and busy for me to stop for a picture.

That afternoon we had some rain in Lander and there was a bid double rainbow off to the east

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Fossil Butte

Fossil Butte National Monument is a hill that these fossils were initially found. Besides little fish like I found there were large fish such as gars and rays as well as fresh water crocodiles and turtles.

Warfield Fossils

I drove out a long dirt & gravel road to the Warfield Fish Fossils quary (the only way to get there). It took about 20 minutes to reach the quary site. After paying $75 for a full day's dig they gave me an orientation and instructions on how to find the fish fossils. The young attendant and I split off a thick slab of shale that I would start working on.

I used a hammer and chisels to split the rock in layers to locate the fish fossils and get them into a small piece of rock without breaking them, which is easier said than done. Here you can see two partially exposed fish on different layers in the slab that I started to split. I had to split that again many times to get my fish.

Here are a few examples of what I found:

It started raining very hard about 2:00 and there was no sign of it letting up, so I decided to quit early instead of staying to the 4:00 quiting time. I was concerned about my ability to get back out to the highway if the roads got too muddy. It was a challenge to navigate the muddy roads because the mud is sticky and coats your tires. I had to stop and get out to scrape mud from the tires and tire wells so that I could continue. The weather cleared soon after I left the quary, but I was satisfied with all of my finds, and I wanted time to drive out to the Fossil Butte National Monument, about 10 miles west of Kemmerer.