Driving to Gainesville

We left Martinsville this morning to drive to Gainesville, Florida for this weekend’s SeAVP meeting. As it’s a 10 hour drive, we had to make a few stops along the way, including a new rest area on US 220 near Seagrove, North Carolina. The building, which has only been open about a year, has a recently-installed green roof.

An artificial stream apparently drains the roof and flows along the side of the building across rocks transported in for that purpose. There are a bunch of different rock types, but a few in particular caught my eye, including this one:

That’s right, it’s covered with fossils! Up close there are at least two types of brachiopods present. I have no invertebrate fossil references with me at the moment, but I think this one is a spiriferid:

I’m not as sure about these, but I think they’re pentamerids:

Another rock with a similar lithology was full of molds of crinoid column segments:

These rocks were not in place, so I have no idea where they came from. I’m also not familiar enough with Paleozoic invertebrates to identify these any further without consulting references. But I can take a shot at working some of this out, assuming my limited identifications are correct. If I recall correctly, pentamerids first show up in the Ordovician and go extinct at the end of the Devonian. Meanwhile, spiriferids also show up in the Ordovician, but they undergo a huge radiation in the Devonian, which (I think) is when they peaked in diversity. I know they’re extinct, but I can’t remember if they drop out at the end of the Permian or during the Mesozoic. Finally, I’ve seen crinoid columnals that look very similar to these in the Devonian Fourknobs Formation in Virginia (I’ve also seen spiriferids in that unit). So I’m going to go out on a limb and say these are probably Devonian. Definitely a nice diversion from the long drive!

Tomorrow I’ll be visiting the Florida Museum of Natural History, and tomorrow evening is check-in for the SeAVP conference.

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One Response to Driving to Gainesville

  1. Ryan Barber says:

    Butch – We stopped at this rest area on the way to Myrtle Beach last summer. I think it was just opened at that time, and it was very impressive. I’ll have to take a closer look at the rocks next time!

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