Carmel Church Quarry 2015 Day 2

Crew removing overburden

Today’s report will be relatively short. Despite the cold, my crew soldiered on to join me in the pit to begin the process of uncovering the area of the Calvert Formation I want to work on during this excavation. Task 1: remove the snow and ice still on the outcrop! Task 2: Start removing the overburden (alluvial sediments that washed onto the outcrop since last year and the overlying Choptank Formation). Continue reading

Posted in Carmel Church Chondrichthyans, Carmel Church Quarry, Carmel Church reptiles, Chesapeake Group, Vertebrate Paleontology | Tagged | Leave a comment

Carmel Church Quarry 2015 Day 1

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Today marks the first of two things: VMNH’s first CCQ excavation of 2015 and my first excavation where I am the organizer and leader. Many thanks to Martin Marietta Quarry for continuing to support VMNH’s efforts in the quarry.

Due to the multiple storms that have hit Virginia during the last few weeks, there was an accumulation of snow within the quarry when we arrived. Continue reading

Posted in Carmel Church Chondrichthyans, Carmel Church mysticetes, Carmel Church Osteichthyans, Carmel Church Quarry, Chesapeake Group, Vertebrate Paleontology | 1 Comment

Solite Excavation: Days 15, 16, and 17

Tany 5

This week’s Solite excavation update is going to combine the findings from the last 3 days of excavation. The first two  excavations (Jan. 10th and 17th) of the year focused on continuing to remove overburden from the outcrop. During these two trips, the crew found a variety of Tanytrachelos, fish, and plant fragments. I was not present during these two excavations so unfortunately I do not have pictures available to highlight the best of those days.

During the excavation on Jan. 31st, we had a new record for the number of Tanytrachelos specimens collected in one day: … Continue reading

Posted in Invertebrate Paleontology, Newark Supergroup, Solite Quarry, Vertebrate Paleontology | Tagged | Leave a comment

Paleo Teaching Kits Update!

Kit 2VAKit 1

Before his departure for California, former curator Dr. Dooley started not only the molding and casting program but developed three fossil teaching kits. These kits provide a resource to teachers that is durable, reusable, and hands-on. These kits include cast replicas of museum specimens, identification cards, and a teacher’s guide and lab.

During the recent holiday season, I decided to update the teacher’s guides and labs. Continue reading

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Guest Blog: The Solite Experience through the Eyes of an Educator

New on the Updates blog – Guest Blog Posts! The first in this series is from Sydney Brown, one of the VMNH Educators. Since her first day of excavating, Sydney has been a regular part of the Solite Quarry excavation team. In this blog, Sydney shares her thoughts and experiences gained while out in the field.


There is nothing quite like watching a piece of slate fly through the air and shatter into numerous pieces as it impacts the ground. This is the point at which one turns to stare at the grinning paleontologist to whom you just handed a “fossil,” that one that you thought was really important. The shattered “fossil,” the paleontologist regretted to inform you, was nothing but crap (literally or figuratively…the team does find plenty of fossilized poop out at Solite).

Sydney at Solite Continue reading

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Solite Excavation: Day 14

Chelsea, Kelly, and Devin

On Saturday, our last day of excavation for 2014, we reached the cumulative work time of two weeks. During that time we collected ~53 cubic feet of insect bed and several boxes and crates full of various plants and vertebrates including many fish, Tanytrachelos and 1 or 2 Mecistotrachelos specimens. On the 13th day of excavation, Ray succeeded in collecting all of the insect bed that we had exposed; therefore, our efforts this weekend focused on continuing to remove the overburden from the recently exposed material. Continue reading

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Solite Excavation: Day 13

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While I was out of town this past weekend, the VMNH excavation crew had an excellent day in the pit at Solite Quarry. Led by Ray Vodden, the VMNH crew (Jim, Kal, and Sydney) and a few students from Virginia Tech braved the cold to find some stellar fossils. One such find is a potentially complete specimen of Mecistotrachelos, uncovered by our educator Sydney Brown. Continue reading

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