Pikes Peak Pebble Pups

Pikes Peak Pebble Pups

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Florissant Fossil Quarry: A Field Trip Guide

By guest blogger Jack Shimon (CSMS pebbe pup)

The Florissant Fossil Quarry is a fun place to take friends when you definitely want to find a fossil and if your friends don’t always like to hike far. I like it because I made a friend who works there, and she has a dog named Jack. I’ve been there two times, and each trip I also went to the Florissant National Monument just down the street.

To get on the site they quarry needs to be open. All the information is on their website (florissantfossils.tripod.com). Unlike most collecting trips you also have to pay by the hour, $10 for kids, because the owners mine the quarry and bring the shale to you. They also have all the tools you need. Mostly you will find parts of leafs but we also found a fern and some lucky people found insects and even one bird.

CSMS Pebble Pup Jack Shimon is busy splitting shales at the Florissant Quarry. This commercial operations provides all the tool needed to recover the delicate plant and insect fossils from the Florissant Formation.  All fossils found can be kept by the collector.
This is what the shale piles and the site look like. You never want to walk ON the shale piles because you could damage any fossils inside, always walk around them to pick up pieces.

On a hot summer day like this one was make sure you have water to drink.

Jack proudly displays his box of fossils.  There is nothing quite so exciting as collecting fossils in the field.  This field trip was done in partial fulfillment of earning a merit badge under the American Federation of Mineralogical Societies.

The nice people who work at the quarry will show you how to carefully break the shale apart.  They will give you all the tools you need.  I’m not allowed to use a razor blade, so I used a metal tool like a scraper to get in between shale layers and a paint brush to clean off samples.  When I took a bag of shale home to share with my friends we soaked the shale in water and then it broke apart very easily.

Note: Jack is among the youngest of our pebble pups.  He is in kindergarten.  He is a prolific writer and dictates his stories to his mother so that the Colorado Springs and other rock clubs can publish his stories.

Welcome! This is the gateway to adventure and discovery

Through this blog pebble pups and junior members of the Colorado Springs Mineralogical Society can access their lessons, work on assignments and projects, and receive details about field trips in the Pikes Peak Region. This Internet program is also suitable for young people who are interested in Earth science but do not live near a rock club or gem and mineral society or for young people anywhere who want a deeper dive into these topics. The only requirement is that all participants must be members of the Colorado Springs Mineralogical Society and must fill out the CSMS membership form (under important websites) and send their registration and membership fee in. Steven Veatch is the senior instructor and will need an email from you with your name, address, phone number, and permission from your parents to participate in this program.