26 February 2014

A fistful of fossils (Devonian Helderberg Group of West Virginia)

Posted by Callan Bentley

More images for you today from my field trip a few weeks ago to West Virginia’s bizarro highway Corridor H, a quiet place built for roaring traffic. Its multistory roadcuts are fresh and profound; they offer the most incredible views into the mid-to-late-Paleozoic surface of Earth… and the creatures that lived there.

In the Devonian period, the Helderberg Group of limestones was deposited. It’s full of interesting fossils, the remains or traces of ancient lifeforms:

Here’s a solitary coral:



And now, a slab of thinly veiled crinoid columnals:



And lastly, a suite of ostracodes, odd arthropods (relatives of crabs and ants and trilobites and scorpions) with a clam-like shell enclosing their leggy bodies. They look like beans: