I spent the weekend in central Kentucky with a group from Radford University, collecting Ordovician rocks from the Clays Ferry and Drakes Formations. Unlike my previous visit to this area, this wasn’t a simple exploratory trip for me; this time I had an agenda!
VMNH is in the process of constructing an exhibit on the Ordovician Period to open in early 2012. The exhibit plan will require large amounts of Ordovician limestone slabs, so over the next year I’ll be collecting Ordovician rocks from all over the eastern United States to flesh out this exhibit. This weekend was very successful, with the most impressive specimen being this enormous (~250 lb) tabulate coral colony (I believe from the genus Tetradium):
The exhibit wasn’t the only objective for collecting these specimens. This Wednesday, October 13, is National Fossil Day. As part of that celebration, this Tuesday and Wednesday we’ll be unloading these fossils in the museum parking lot and doing the initial cleaning outside. Any visitors to the museum who wish to do so can stop by, pick up a toothbrush, and help out with the cleaning. Our first cleaning session will probably be Tuesday afternoon, and we’ll have cleaning periods throughout the day on Wednesday.
If you’re in the Martinsville area over the next two days, stop by and give us a hand preparing these fossils for exhibit!