Fossil & Agate collecting trip - Iowa
Date:SATURDAY, April 26th, 2014
Notes: The Badger club was given permission to enter the quarry by the owner and should enter the quarry as a group. Sorry - there are no bathroom facilities in quarry. This has been an excellent producing quarry. This trip is open to all Badger Club & MWF Members this Saturday only.
Contact Person: Dan Trocke, Home 608-935-0597, Cell # 608-215-5307
Meeting Places & Times:
9:30 AM - We will meet 9:30 AM at the Shell Gas Station at 115 Hwy 151 East, Platteville WI 53818, located at the intersection of County Road D / S Water St / State Road 80 and 81 / Bus Highway 151. Any stragglers can meet us at the road cut.
10:30AM -Park at Graf Iowa County Park just north of the road cut on Graf Rd and walk back down the road south ¼ mile to the road cut on Graf rd to collect for about one hour.
11:30AM -Leave Graf and head to the Bellevue Gravel Quarry. Note: If you are only interested in the Bellevue quarry for agates and are not going to Graf for fossils you can meet us at the Bellevue sand & gravel yard near the Bellevue golf course (any time after 12:00 PM until sundown). For those of you who have not been there before, look for a gravel driveway heading east off of 395th Ave, across from the Bellevue Golf course and between 320th Street and 334th Street. The gravel drive may not be marked other than a chain gate. If the gate is open you should drive in and park near the gravel piles.
6:00 PM - Leave the quarry and head home. We might catch a bite to eat at Arby's in Dubuque.
What to bring: Sack Lunch, as we will be eating lunch in the quarry. Hard hats, Safety glasses, small garden tools, fanny pack, plastic grocery bags, 1 gallon buckets, knee pads, gem scoops, sunscreen and plenty of water and liquids!
Location #1:Graf Iowa Road cut - Parking and bathrooms are available ¼ mile north of the cut at the County Park in Graf on Graf rd. The road cut is very tall and crumbling making it possibly dangerous to directly collect from in many areas. Luckily there are several places directly on the cut you can collect without overhead hazards as well as a lot of fallen rock containing specimens laying at the base of the cut. Hardhats should be worn when below the cut and don’t let others work above or below you as rocks easily roll down the steep grade of the hill below the cut. The road cut has been a renowned fossil collecting locality for geology classes and collectors for years. The cut is composed oflate Upper Ordovician Maquoketa shale about 450 million years old containingtwo 1' thick layers of tightly packed cephalopods and other fossils. The site contains an unusual and unexplained phenomenon of cephalopod shells impacted into each other like stacked ice cream cones or in this case orthocones. The cephalopod fossils are fairly stable and made of the secondarily phosphatized original shell material - not molds. The cephalopods break loose from the sandy matrix rock fairly easy and make very nice specimens if you take the time to work a whole intact fossil out of the rock. I found a large fallen slab that contained several trilobite shed tail shells (pygidiums) mixed in with the cephalopods. I have yet to find a whole trilobite at this location, but other interesting fossils are known to be found.
The road cut is known to contain:
- Orthoconic (straight shell) Nautiloid cephalopod: Isorthoceras Socaile
- Bivalve: Palaeoconcha sp.,
- Gastropod: Murchisonia sp.
- Crinoid debris
Location #2: Bellevue Iowa Sand & Gravel Quarry. This has been a fun site to visit and no one ever seems to go home from here empty handed. We hope to find Lake Superior Agates, carnelian, and jasper. Thomsonite, sagenite agate and even petrified wood has been collected here, but is rare.
Hope to see you there.
Badger Lapidary & Geological Society, Inc.