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Old 11-19-2012, 02:32 PM   #1
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Looking for Ammonites

I'm already thinking ahead to next summer's roadtrip with my son, because if we decide to visit any National Parks along the way, I want to get some campground reservations sooner than later.

My son has it in his head that we need to look for ammonites on our next trip. I've done some research, and nothing has really jumped out at me yet. I've come across a place in Lassen County, CA, and a few spots in Utah, but what I really need is a good concentration of fossils so the probability of success is greatest. My son will only be 7 next Summer, and I don't want him to be discouraged if we don't find anything.

Last Summer, we hit two privately owned locations that had high concentrations of fossils (trilobites and fish fossils) and it was great to see my so excited by finding fossils. I'm very open to fee-digging ammonite locations if anyone knows of any. I'm trying to stay within a state or two of California.


thanks,
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Old 11-19-2012, 04:06 PM   #2
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Re: Looking for Ammonites

You can dig for fossils at Fossil, OR, High School. Don't know if they are ammonites.
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Old 11-19-2012, 05:19 PM   #3
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Re: Looking for Ammonites

It's not in California but Big Bend National Park has outcrops with ammonites in them. Your best bet is to find strata or formations from the Cretaceous era. That was the ammonite heyday and that means Cretaceous Interior Seaway. So, the region from west-central Utah to Colorado. Or, that general belt stretching north and south.

Awesome that you've got your kid stoked on fossils. My old man was a micro-paleontologist and one reason I went into geology was he dragged me out of the car on top of some mountain in the appalachians and showed me fossil shells. Boggled my mind that the rocks at the top of the mountain were once the ocean floor.
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Old 11-19-2012, 06:00 PM   #4
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Looking for Ammonites

Take a look at John Day Fossil Beds, http://www.nps.gov/joda/index.htm
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Old 11-19-2012, 06:33 PM   #5
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Re: Looking for Ammonites

Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeH
It's not in California but Big Bend National Park has outcrops with ammonites in them. Your best bet is to find strata or formations from the Cretaceous era. That was the ammonite heyday and that means Cretaceous Interior Seaway. So, the region from west-central Utah to Colorado. Or, that general belt stretching north and south.

Awesome that you've got your kid stoked on fossils. My old man was a micro-paleontologist and one reason I went into geology was he dragged me out of the car on top of some mountain in the appalachians and showed me fossil shells. Boggled my mind that the rocks at the top of the mountain were once the ocean floor.
Quote:
Originally Posted by larrie
Take a look at John Day Fossil Beds, http://www.nps.gov/joda/index.htm
Thanks guys, those are some great places to start. I do know my son would be very interested in seeing those places, but I do know that we also need to find places where we can dig for them. If there are ammonites in those parks, I would think there should be areas outside the park to dig too.


Herb


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Old 11-19-2012, 10:04 PM   #6
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Re: Looking for Ammonites

An area a little closer to you is Mt Dunfee. Just outside of Goldpoint Nv. We spent a day picking and breaking rocks but came up empty. But then again we didn't know what we were doing at the time. Besides fossils there are a lot of mines and tailing piles to hunt for minerals in the area.

This link might give you some locations.
http://www.collectingfossils.org/fossil ... lsites.htm

There is Fossil Hill outside of Lone Pine. 36.729099° -118.047589°

My last suggestion is the Scotia Bluffs. I grew up with this fossil bed "literally" in my back yard. I don't how it is now, but when I was a kid, it seemed like every rock on the river bar had a fossil in it. It was as much as a sure bet as you could get.
40.510000° -124.093611°
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Old 12-20-2012, 08:21 PM   #7
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Re: Looking for Ammonites

Haven't gotten around to digging for ammonites yet, but my son and I did spend 4 hours digging for prehistoric shark teeth today outside of Bakersfield, CA.



Middle row, far left is not a shark tooth, but the root of a sperm whale tooth.
Middle row, 3rd from the right is a sea lion tooth.


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Old 12-20-2012, 09:21 PM   #8
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Re: Looking for Ammonites

Just a reminder- and really, just to keep you from unwittingly getting into trouble, it is illegal to collect anything including fossils from ALL National Park Service units (Parks, Monuments, Historic Sites, Recreation Areas, etc). It is also illegal to collect any fossil vertebrates (basically any creature that had a backbone) on federal public lands without a permit. I don't want to rain on anyones parade, just forewarn you so you don't get into trouble. "Fossil" parks like John Day and Big Bend are particularly sensitive to people leaving with the goods, and trust me, they will prosecute and judges are less tolerant than they used to be!

Really, I just hate to see folks get into trouble! I worked as a paleontologist at Dinosaur National Monument for 20 years as well as working on all kinds of federal and tribal land, and over the years saw a lot of people prosecuted for theft, sometimes even when they did not know about the restrictions.

I think it is absolutely fantastic that kids love fossils and few things make me happier these days than seeing kids excited about any science. It's just a good idea to check to see what the reg's are on whatever public land you are planning to collect on. On BLM land invertebrates like ammonites are usually okay and small amounts of petrified wood, but you really ought to check first, the laws are pretty specific.

Have a great time out there, Herb! Your son's a lucky kid to have a dad who wants to take him on adventures like you're doing with him.
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Old 12-20-2012, 09:40 PM   #9
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Re: Looking for Ammonites

No worries at all, and personally, I'm aware of the regulations.

These fossils were collected on private property which is operated as a commercial quarry (Ernst Quarry).
http://www.sharktoothhillproperty.com/

Our trilobites from earlier this year were also collected at a private, commercial quarry (http://www.u-digfossils.com/), and our Green River fish fossils from this year were collected at a privately owned and operated quarry where the owner occasionally let's private parties collect for a fee (Blue Moon Quarry).


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Old 12-20-2012, 10:01 PM   #10
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Looking for Ammonites

Way cool. Love that you and you son are working together on this.
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