Dry Dredgers Field Trip
March 29, 2008
Northeast Kentucky

Kope, Fairview and Bellevue Formations


Our first field trip of 2008 was cool but with some nice sun. It had rained earlier that morning and conditions were a bit muddy. The site was a large road cut in North Eastern Kentucky that we have visited before.


In previous trips, the site was less weathered and more fossils were found. Now, at least half of the ledges on this large site are covered up with fallen rocks, as shown in the next two photos.

But the Dry Dredgers, as always, made the best of what is still a great fossil exposure. 
IMGP1027.jpg IMGP1029.jpg IMGP1034.jpg IMGP1037.jpg  IMGP1048.jpg IMGP1081.jpg   IMGP1095.jpg

The site is so spansive that we went most of the day with only occasional encounters with one another.
IMGP1139.jpgIMGP1157.jpg IMGP1160.jpg IMGP1163.jpgIMGP1223.jpgIMGP1251.jpgIMGP1178.jpg

We eventually reunited for a grand tour of at least part of the site.
IMGP1213.jpgIMGP1227.jpg IMGP1234.jpg IMGP1238.jpgIMGP1241.jpg  

Fossils found that day

Without a doubt, the best find of the day was this beautiful, prone Isotelus gigas, found by Dick Ackerman. This specimen was inverted (upside down) with most of the usual brown preservation of the exoskeleton missing, leaving an external mold of the top surface. Nice. The hypostome was also missing, but almost all of the head was there. 

Lots of individual Isotelus parts were found, such as this section with multiple thorax segments.


In the crinoid category, not much was found that day. The best was perhaps this Ectenocrinus calyx.


Among the many Bryozoans found, the nicest was the Bryozoan with the star pattern on each monticule, Constellaria florida. (next 3 pictures)


At least one specimen was found of the Bryozoan, Escharopora hilli.

Bryozoans littered the ground on this site which was largely Fairview Formation.

The rock surfaces showed lots of large, leafy bryozoans, that formed reefs in late Ordovician times, much the way corals do today.
IMGP1151.jpg IMGP1153.jpg IMGP1154.jpg  IMGP1166.jpgIMGP1336.jpgIMGP1143.jpg

Ichnofossils (Trace Fossils)

There were numerous examples of the "U" shaped worm burrows called Diplocraterian. On the surface, they appear as "dumb bell" shaped impressions or traces that appear to go nowhere.

Occasionally, we encountered a really shallow Diplocraterian, like the one in the next picture, where you can see the entire burrow, including the part where it dips down into the mud. 

Other worm traces just cris-cross on the surface.

There is another type of strange surface trace that is commonly found in this site. It's a bunch of mostly straight lines that end in a point and have a triangular or rectangular (not sure which) profile. What made these traces? Or could there geometric consistency indicate that they are a crystal, such as selenite.

Some traces, however, show a clear sense that an animal was moving intentionally around on the surface of the Ordovician ocean floor.

Pelecypods. Bivalves or Clams

On this site, you often see mollusks preseved in a bright red mineral on the surface of rocks.

Some clams, however, were preserved in the usual brown carbonate material and show shell features. This next pic is Caritodens.


Some Ambonychia were also preserved with shell surface features.


Among the common brachiopods, Hebertella were found whole and on the rock surfaces (next three pictures).

The brachiopod Rafinesquina was also very common there. (next two pics)

In many cases, large quantities of Rafinesquina were "shingled" on the surface of rocks or in clusters, suggesting a storm event pushed them together in Ordovician times.

Near the top of the road cut are found the usual Maysvillian brachiopods, including Vinlandostrophia. (next 4 pics) 
IMGP1323.jpg        IMGP1187.jpgIMGP1342.jpg            

Nautiloid Cephalopods

Quite a few straight shelled Nautiloids were found that day. (next 5 pics)

IMGP1317.jpgIMGP1183.jpgIMGP1311.jpg IMGP1314.jpg  IMGP1356.jpg    

Gastropods (snails)

Among the many snails found were the nicely preserved Cyclonema. (next 2 pics)

That's it for this trip. Now have a look at our April field trip to the Ponderosa Ranch.

Back to Field Trip Index

Return to Dry Dredgers Home Page

The Dry Dredgers and individual contributors reserve the rights to all information, images, and content presented here. Permission to reproduce in any fashion, must be requested in writing to admin@drydredgers.org.
www.drydredgers.org is designed and maintained by Bill Heimbrock.