Friday, March 27, 2009

Fieldwork Friday #3

Welcome to the third installment of Fieldwork Friday! This week we are headed out to the Marble Mountains of California this weekend to collect trilobites from the Lower Cambrian Latham Shale, below cliffs of Chambless Limestone. Last April the museum took a collecting trip out and came back with more than 147 specimens for the museum collections.

While trilobites are invertebrates and are legally collectible from BLM land (reasonable amounts for personal use, no permit required), when collecting large amounts for research you do need a permit (which the museum had). But what is a "reasonable amount?" According to the Utah BLM website, which has a nice descriptive paleontology section, "You may collect common invertebrate and plant fossils for NONCOMMERCIAL purposes only. A reasonable amount is what you may keep for a personal hobby collection or display in your home. Collecting common invertebrate or plant fossils for landscaping (even if it's just around your house) is not a hobby activity and must be done as a mineral materials sale." [link] If you are wondering if you need a permit, check out this link.

But anyway...last year they got some great specimens. Trilobites collected include:
  • Olenellus gilberti
  • Olenellus clarki
  • Olenellus nevadensis
  • Mesonacis fremonti
  • Bristolia mohavensis
  • Bristolia harringtoni
And the brachiopod Paterina pospectensis. Below are some pictures of last years trip. I will be sure to post pictures of our trip when I have internet access, hopefully before next Friday.


Prospecting for trilobites

One of the museums great volunteers, Darrell, and a trilobite he found.

Zeb sorting trilobites

More pictures to come! Have a great week!

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© ReBecca K. Hunt-Foster. Please see the "Fieldwork Friday Rules" about the work I do and collection practicies.


Garry Hayes said...

Have a nice trip! I have pleasant memories of camping in the Marble Mtns and hearing the trains far off in the distance all night, kind of a haunting sound. Oh, and we found some trilobites too!

BJ Nicholls said...

Looks like a nice time to go digging in the desert. Thanks for the map link!


Silver Fox said...

I don't think I've ever been there before!

Doug said...

neato. The whole thing with the permits reminds me of a rather depressing article in my newest issue of Smithsonian Magazine. Here it is on the web:

ReBecca Hunt-Foster said...

Hi BJ. It was a great time to dig i the desert. The weather was great (other than the wind one night) and the flowers were nice as well.

You should check it out SF. It was pretty easy digging, once you got down to clean rock.

Thanks for the link Doug. I have been hearing about the article (and its comment section) but I have not had a chance to read it yet.

ReBecca Hunt-Foster said...

You were not kidding about the trains Garry! I could not believe how many went by!

Doug said...

you're welcome, Rebecca. Last I had checked there were four comments. Just went over there and found a lot more. Some ugly words being thrown around...

ReBecca Hunt-Foster said...

Ya, I am less impressed with the comments. Mud slinging and name calling, as it always boils down to. He said, she said. "Can't we all just get along!"

Doug said...

Yes, mudslinging. It's like the Republican National Convention. Anyway, Eric [ as well as Alton over at the VA Paleo blog (i thought)] laid out well the importance and helpfulness of amateur collectors. Yet these people seem to be lambasting them for their "whining" of commercial collectors. I think some of those commenters are missing a major point: in order to have real scientific value, that specimen needs the collateral data. Are these commercial collectors keeping such records? The comments of these professionals really helped me learned the difference between amateurs and commercial prospectors.

ReBecca Hunt-Foster said...

I agree. I know both Eric and Kevin and agree with what they have to say. I think some of the comments do not hear what they are saying and jump to other things and take things out of context.

I know that some commercial collectors take good notes and try to be careful (I honestly do not know very many commercial collectors however), but I hear horror stories (and have seen the results) of having things ripped out of the ground as quick as possible and/or having only the pieces that will sell well taken, leaving other things behind.