1 May 2013
Posted by Callan Bentley
Following a tip from my colleague Pete Berquist (Thomas Nelson Community College), I did some graptolite collecting this weekend. Our family went down to Waynesboro, Virginia, so my wife could run a half-marathon, and on the way back home, we spent some time geolgizing.
One site we visited was Mint Spring, Virginia, in the parking lot of the Days Inn.
Here, at the contact between the Lincolnshire Formation and the overlying Edinburg Formation, there are some papery shales exposed:
They include bulky graptolite fossils preserved as carbon films:
Graptolites were (are?) colonial animals, and each of the little “sawteeth” you see on either side of these long, dark shapes (technically called “stipes”) is a “theca,” a little cup that held a small graptolite animal.
I love the contrast of the dark graptolites against the light-colored background of shale.
My experience with graptolites is limited, but these were easily the best I’ve ever seen.
Those might be Climatograptus sp. I’ve found some similar specimens in the Liberty Hall formation near Lusters Gate, VA.
Callan: are the graptolites found throughout this exposure or only in the “papery shales?” If the latter where is this particular shale layer in the context of the outcrop. I am working on a new book — 101 American fossil-sites — in the same format of my 101 American geo-sites to be published by Mountain Press.
Thank you for you kind review of my 101 geo-sites book. I am having a difficult time finding 2 or 3 public and safe fossil sites within the Paleozoic of Virginia for new book. Might you have a few ideas?
Thank you. I sure have enjoyed your MAGIC reviews.
The graptolites are found along the entire exposure, with most in the middle of it.
Public and safe sites that are capable of bearing the hammer-load of being published in a book? Gosh, can’t think of any…