Did I just find a fossil?

knh555

Most Honored Senior Member
Dec 6, 2016
6,353
Massachusetts

Wound_Up

You can call me Duane 😁
Jan 23, 2020
4,687
NW LA
No, not a Keith Richards joke.

Was out hiking with the dogs and saw this. Thought it odd. I don't typically have eyes for this sort of thing.

Mainly granite up here, with fairly rapid erosion resulting in decomposed granite on a lot of hillsides like this one -- wind, snow melt and riparian-adjacent.

View attachment 507586

Whoa. That'd be pretty cool if it was a fossil. Grab a shovel next time and dig it up?
 

Wound_Up

You can call me Duane 😁
Jan 23, 2020
4,687
NW LA
I was a full-on adult before I realized stuff like this. I think geology is a very underutilized field in schools, and it’s a very cool subject. I had no clue that the Midwest USA was once at the bottom of the ocean.

I realize that fossils can be a very touchy subject in my neck of the woods, a decent percentage (including some of my friends) believe the earth is 4-6000 years old, and teaching to the contrary is an affront to some people. wonder if that’s why it’s mostly avoided.

4-6000 years old? That's it? Not me. When I saw the huge signs that said the mountains in Wyoming are 50+ million years old, I tended to believe it.
 

nickmsmith

Dr. Stratster
Jul 28, 2011
14,250
USA
4-6000 years old? That's it? Not me. When I saw the huge signs that said the mountains in Wyoming are 50+ million years old, I tended to believe it.
Yep. same. I was taught by certain institutions that this was not the case. And lots of others around me. Some people take it to the extreme and blame a certain cosmic power for planting dinosaur bones to trick us.
 

StratUp

Most Honored Senior Member
Sep 5, 2020
8,081
Altered States
Yep. same. I was taught by certain institutions that this was not the case. And lots of others around me. Some people take it to the extreme and blame a certain cosmic power for planting dinosaur bones to trick us.

Those who endorse folklore over science often have to jump through hoops to reconcile their beliefs with the same. I don't deny anyone their beliefs, nor question them, but at some point you have to be willing to let facts be the basis of reality.
 

nickmsmith

Dr. Stratster
Jul 28, 2011
14,250
USA
Those who endorse folklore over science often have to jump through hoops to reconcile their beliefs with the same. I don't deny anyone their beliefs, nor question them, but at some point you have to be willing to let facts be the basis of reality.
Absolutely. I have one person I consider a close friend who believes this way. And quite a few people I am acquainted with.

There are two ways to handle new information that is verifiable, that contradicts you have been taught: Deny and explain away, or change/adapt your belief.

I’m sure there are people on this site that believe this way. So I’ll stop here, to avoid a future pointless and fruitless argument. I’ll just say that Geology 101 was a true eye opener for me, at age 18-19 or so.
 
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StratUp

Most Honored Senior Member
Sep 5, 2020
8,081
Altered States
Quartzite vein. The host rock eroded faster as it is softer than the quartz. In the Sierra sometimes there is gold in the Quartz.

There's gold in them thar hills!

We were all underwater once. In my town, we have a few decently high limestone formations from Dead sea life, millions of years ago.

edit: didn’t think of the volcano stuff that was mentioned above me. Carry on.

I was hiking around 3500 feet in AZ, at the top of a mountain ridge. Realized that the rock formations at the top were water carved. Astounding.

Even more interesting... as I drove into Arizona on Rt 40 from New Mexico... you're up around 7500'+ elevation. The high plains. On either side of the roadway, you can see the rock formations smoothly carved in flowing shapes. There are giant half-spherical openings 60' or more high. Like someone cut a giant basketball in half and you're looking inside it. Took me a little while to realize that they were water-carved swirl-holes from some giant flow, eons ago. At 7500 feet.
 
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nickmsmith

Dr. Stratster
Jul 28, 2011
14,250
USA
There's gold in them thar hills!



I was hiking around 3500 feet in AZ, at the top of a mountain ridge. Realized that the rock formations at the top were water carved. Astounding.

Even more interesting... as I drove into Arizona on Rt 40 from New Mexico... you're up around 7500'+ elevation. The high plains. One either side of the roadway, you can see the rock formations smoothly carved in flowing shapes. There are giant half-spherical openings 60' or more high. Like someone cut a giant basketball in half and you're looking inside it. Took me a little while to realize that they were water-carved swirl-holes from some giant flow, eons ago. At 7500 feet.
It is truly amazing. Really emphasizes how young we really are compared to this whole planet. And this planet is a baby compared to the universe as a whole. It’s a perspective changer, when you’re brought up to believe the universe revolves around your own species.
 

Miotch

Most Honored Senior Member
Jun 28, 2011
5,316
ok
From the pic you took, it does resemble vertebrae, but the smaller parallel line makes me suspect. I'd have to hold it to have a better chance to give what may or may not be a less wrong answer.
 

crankmeister

Most Honored Senior Member
Jul 9, 2020
6,010
Republic of Gilead
The shape looks an awful lot like a turtle shell, although who knows what it looks like when ya expose the whole thing. Might be obvious what it is, with a little digging. Or you could check and see if any local universities have a paleontologist on staff.

If it's not on your property, it would be a kindness to let the owner know you think there's something there.
It's on public land. Perhaps a local archaeologist would be interested.
 

archetype

Senior Stratmaster
Silver Member
Nov 26, 2016
4,253
Western NY, USA
I found a bunch of these while digging in the garden. Hard rock with small shells embedded in them. I am about half a mile from the river but water was never here and to have the shells embedded in the rock it must have been a long time ago. Oh yes I bought a mammoth tusk pick just to have a piece of ancient times
View attachment 507596

Those are fossilized brachiopod shells. They were clam or scallop-like mollusks that lived on the sea floor. There were a bazillion kinds and they're plentiful all over the world. Back in Indiana I was caretaker of a woods that had a creek with stone slabs of these, like 6 foot wide slabs with thousands and thousands of these layered on top of each other. That's the way they lived and died.

Here ya go:
https://duckduckgo.com/?t=ffab&q=spell+brachiopod&iax=images&ia=images
 

crankmeister

Most Honored Senior Member
Jul 9, 2020
6,010
Republic of Gilead
Yep. same. I was taught by certain institutions that this was not the case. And lots of others around me. Some people take it to the extreme and blame a certain cosmic power for planting dinosaur bones to trick us.
Lol. I still have family members who've traveled hundreds of miles and spent hard earned vacation time/money going to some giant ark and creation museum in Kintuck.

Because dinosaurs and homo sapiens coexisted, apparently.
 
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Neil.C

Most Honored Senior Member
Mar 3, 2012
8,748
Surrey, England
Lol. I still have family members who've traveled hundreds of miles and spent hard earned vacation time/money going to some giant ark and creation museum in Kintuck.

Because dinosaurs and homo sapiens coexisted, apparently.



This is joke, right?
 
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muttonbuster

Senior Stratmaster
Nov 14, 2020
1,031
República de Cantaloupia
Fluid rock at the surface of the eastern Sierra foothills?

Yeah, Eastern foothills south of Mammoth there ain't no fluid rock. Mt Gabb on South to Whitney and beyond formed completely underground. It's magma that slowly cooled into granite composites underneath the native rock, and then was thrust up through it by the SNGV block fault system. If you look at videos of the summits of Whitney and Mammoth, they are totally different. Whitney is giant slabs of granite, while Mammoth is a big pile of volcanic rock that's tens of millions of years younger. When the granite cracks underground, it's filled in with magmatic water that's forced up from even deeper that has minerals dissolved in it that come out of solution as it cools. At least that's what I remember of it. It was required family learning when I was a kid from my grandmother, whose cousin was a climber and photographer and did a bunch of books on the Sierras. We need a resident geologist to set the record straight.
 


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