At the end of our meeting on May 20, 2017, David said, “Hey, we should go to [redacted] to get some fossils. It’s really close by.” Several members came along and looked for fossils.
Dan, David, and Connie climbing up to the good spot. Photo by Stephanie Reed
We had to climb a little bit to get to the good spot, but once we did, there were crinoid stems, brachiopods, encrusting and branching bryozoa, and other things. It was easy to get fossils out of the ground because it had recently rained. Afterward, David suggested another place nearby to go to find composita, so some people came along for that, too.
Rock climbing in the “wilderness”. Photo by Stephanie Reed
In the summer weather, we expect to go on more spontaneous field trips like this in the Kansas City area. Make sure you come to our meetings dressed for adventure* if you want to come along!
*dressed for adventure= long pants, closed toe shoes, bring gloves and bug spray
When you come to the show, don’t forget to enter the drawings for door prizes.
Dinosaur Model with Real Tooth
Paleontologists at the University of Toronto just found collagen in a 195 million year old fossil. This makes it the oldest protein that has ever been found. Previously, the oldest protein sample was only 80 million years old (it was also collagen, from a dinosaur bone). They also found hematite crystals in the fossil, which possibly came from the blood. The dinosaur was a Lufengosaurus that lived in Yunnan Province, China.
Some other paleontologists didn’t like the new, non-invasive methods that the team used used to identify the collagen, but other scientists thought the methods were fine. Read the whole article here https://cen.acs.org/articles/95/i6/Collagen-found-195-million-year.html and let me know what you think.
Green amber ring owned by Stephanie. It has nothing to do with this article. Photo by Stephanie Reed
David highly recommends this article on green amber from Gems & Gemology, 2009. Here is the abstract.
Ahmadjan Abduriyim, Hideaki Kimura, Yukihiro Yokoyama, Hiroyuki Nakazono, Masao Wakatsuki, Tadashi Shimizu, Masataka Tansho, and Shinobu Ohki
Abstract: A peridot-like bright greenish yellow to green gem material called “green amber” has recently appeared in the gem market. It is produced by treating natural resin (amber or copal) with heat and pressure in two stages in an autoclave. Differences in molecular structure between untreated amber and copal as compared to treated “green amber” were studied by FTIR and 13C NMR spectroscopy, using powdered samples. Regardless of the starting material, the FTIR spectrum of “green amber” showed an amber pattern but with a characteristic small absorption feature at 820 cm-1. Solid-state 13C NMR spectroscopy of the treated material indicated a significantly lower volatile component than in the untreated natural resin, evidence that the treatment can actually “artificially age” copal. A new absorption observed near 179 ppm in the NMR spectra of all the treated samples also separated them from their natural-color counterparts.
To read the whole article, go here http://www.gia.edu/gems-gemology/fall-2009-green-amber-abduriyim and click on “Download PDF”.
Photo by Stephanie Reed
Here is a pyritized ammonite () from the Jurassic period, found in Michaelov, Russia. The specimen was at the Sutton Museum. How do pyritized ammonites form? I asked the Internet and here is what I found:
Pyrite or “Fools Gold” is an iron sulphide that occasionally – under unique geochemical conditions – covers or replaces prehistoric creatures and plants, transforming them into incredible fossils with a gold-like lustre.
Pyritized fossils tell us a lot about the past environments of our planet. Research indicates that prehistoric animals that become pyritized, such as trilobites and ammonites, were rapidly buried under ocean sediments that were low in organic matter. In this case there would not be a lot of decaying material present. Another important condition was anaerobic seawater – the water was low in dissolved oxygen.
For the trilobites with soft body parts, rapid burial meant there was very little decay of the creature before the fossilization process began. One of the final conditions for pyritization to occur is to have large numbers of sulphate reducing bacteria (they live in oxygen deficient water) and a high concentration of reactive iron. The bacteria change the sulphates into sulphides which can then diffuse with the iron into the trilobite or other organisms forming our spectacular fossils.
Photo by Stephanie Reed
If you came to our January meeting, you will know that we are now offering door prizes just like at IGAMS. All my spying on IGAMS meetings is proving to be very helpful! January’s door prize was part of Kansas City’s Composita layer. Composita is a genus of extinct brachiopods that were abundant during the Pennsylvanian era. Brachiopods are bottom-dwelling marine organisms that have two shells and a little fleshy “foot” called a pedicle. In a fossil brachiopod, you can see the hole where the pedicle sticks out of the shell, which is called the pedicle valve. In the upper part of the Winterset Limestone in Kansas City, there is a zone consisting almost entirely of Composita shells. See Chapter 11 of Dr. Gentile’s book for more information. Some of the shells in this specimen even had crystals inside. It was collected by David Reed somewhere in the Kansas City area, but he’s not telling exactly where.
Brachiopods have two shells, but they are not bivalves (an easy mistake to make). Bivalves are a class of mollusks, like clams, and do not have pedicles. Bivalves are symmetrical, and brachiopods are not. In fact, the bivalves may have caused the extinction of the brachiopods due to competition for food and living space.
Rocks and Fossils of the Central United States with Special Emphasis on the Greater Kansas City Area by Richard Gentile
Review by David Reed:
This book is great! It has beautiful pictures of the fossils that can be found in Kansas City and clear stratographic sections explaining the geology of the area. It also shows locations for picking up the fossils. Everything you might wish to know about Kansas City is in this book. Well worth the money and you can ONLY get it at UMKC (Amazon doesn’t have it). We purchased one when we visited the Sutton Museum.
Photo by David Reed
Everyone had a great time visiting the Sutton Museum on our last field trip. Valerie just reminded me that I should be posting some photos from the museum so I will over the next week or two. When you come in the door of the museum, the first thing you will notice is this giant piece of petrified wood. A person is standing next to it for scale, so you can see it is about 2 feet tall. Much bigger than the other big petrified wood I wrote about last year.