Article & pix by Charlotte Hubbard:
This field trip rocks!
We kept cracking up!!
No bones about it…
The 11/21/15 trip to Solite Quarry in Eden, NC was a great learning experience for both BRFAL chapter Virginia Master Naturalists and trainees from the SW Virginia VMN’s. Fran, Geoff, Kathy, Rich and Charlotte braved the frosty morning to explore with the Martinsville VMN Chapter. We were led by Dr. Alex Hastings, Assistant Curator of Paleontology from the VMNH. Alex had to adapt the trip on the fly because of a miscommunication with quarry staff, but we were able to get a taste of fossil hunting and great information about the site. The Triassic Period conditions at this place were those of a stagnant lake, perfect for lush plant growth, lots of insects and some interesting small lizards that would glide in to catch the bugs. The slate left behind after 225 million years yields many trace fossils of plants, insects, primitive clams and some reptiles.
With hammers and putty knives we split the layers of slate like treasure hunters, sure that the next tap would reveal an ancient creature. Many of the items we found were ordinary in the fossil world, but with our help the Museum now has three new fossils for their collection: bones of a small reptile and two branching plants Alex hopes to be able to identify.
Here are a few photos to showing how much fun we had.
200 million year old dinosaur footprint
Dr, Alex 'splainin' to us
The Orth's checking slate
The BRFAL Queens, Charlotte & Kathy
Old man Brager chipping slate