The tales that rocks can tell
Speaking of rocks (as I did yesterday), on February 2nd a couple of miles from home I found a rock with a fossil in it. I assumed the piece of fluted column, which was 2 inches (5cm) in diameter, had come from the stalk of a tree or plant, but as I know nothing about such things I turned to geologist Eric Potter at the University of Texas. He referred my question to paleontologists and the answer came back that this was a “rudistid/caprinid fossil.” That “extinct fossil group… was a prolific reef-builder in the Cretaceous, when our local formations were deposited.” The Cretaceous ended some 65.5 million years ago, so this might be the oldest thing I’ve ever found. For more on this kind of creature, you can read about rudists and caprinids.
On February 26th I came across a different sort of fossil on the opposite side of my neighborhood. This time I could tell that I was looking at shells. Eric Potter confirmed that these were “oysters stacked together in an ‘oyster bank’, very similar to what we have today in our coastal bays. This is a cross-sectional view.”
© 2016 Steven Schwartzman