Fossil Hunters

Yesterday, we went searching for fossils (not people over 40; the real kind, embedded in layers of rock, millions of years old). A few weeks ago, we met Keith, a volunteer at the nature center. I've never met someone so obsessed with fossils. Keith has been an avocational fossil hunter for over 30 years, has been published and I think has dreams about them. We arranged to meet up with him so he could take us to a special fossil place.

But first, a hike up the hill to break a large, heavy aggregate rock (that might possibly be filled with prehistoric shark teeth). The day before, when Husband casually mentioned that he had a 20-pound sledgehammer at home, Keith got very excited about the prospect of breaking this large rock into manageable pieces that could be carried back down the hill.

So the first part of the dig: Husband carried sledgehammer up the steep hill (with the rest of us following); whaled on rock; broke rock open; broke sledgehammer. Back down the hill with large piece of rock (and broken sledgehammer).

Charlie's Pride: A fossilized Miocene/Tortonian shark tooth found in a broken open rock.

Second part of the dig: Drive over to special marine fossil place (an area that's being developed with exposed shale everywhere). In upper 90s weather, with full sun, no shade in sight, we grab pieces of rock and break them open with our little hammers looking for anything interesting. I sat there and hummed "Breaking rocks in the hot sun, I fought the law and the law won." I thought about being a convict on a chain gang. I thought about sitting at home on the couch with air conditioning. After a while, I realized that hammering away at rocks probably wasn't my best career move (I really do need my hands for my work). We found lots of fossil fish scales, fish parts, seaweed, which means the area we were working in was once the ocean floor (a few million years ago).

Back down the hill, back at the nature center, the boys took turns whacking at the large piece of rock. Didn't find any shark teeth this time (but there's lots more rock to look through).

Today our adventures will take us to IKEA where we'll hike for sure, but with the comfort of air conditioning (my kind of adventure).


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