Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Chazy Reef - Part II

In my last post, I discussed the geologic setting of the Chazy Reef.  Today, I'll just show some images from my visit last month to the Goodsell Ridge and the Fisk Quarry Preserves on Isle La Motte in Lake Champlain, Vermont.

The Goodsell Ridge Preserve has a visitor's center that's supposed to be nice but it wasn't open when we were there.  You can, however, park and walk around the property which is studded with low outcrops of limestone.

Some dork walking around staring at rocks

Some of the limestone shows interesting dissolution features along the fractures.

Far more interesting, however, are the ubiquitous fossils studding the rock.

Marine gastropods (snails) - Maclurites
More gastropods
Yet another (can never have too many snail fossils!)
Squid-like cephalopod shells

Swirly fossil of a stromatoporoid (type of calcareous sponge)

It's hard to show in pictures, but when examined closely, the limestone was simply full of fossil fragments (much of it difficult to identify).

We next went to the Fisk Quarry Preserve, a short drive away, and walked around this wonderful abandoned limestone quarry (most old quarries like this are posted, it's nice to see one open for people to explore).  This is the oldest quarry in Vermont, dating back to 1803.  Polished limestone from this area (incorrectly called marble) can be found in such locations as the Brooklyn Bridge, Radio City Music Hall, the National Gallery in Washington, D.C., and the Vermont Statehouse in Montpelier.

Fisk Quarry from one angle
Fisk Quarry from a different angle
Yet another view

As you can see, my family was overjoyed to be here.

See how excited they are to search for fossils on a Sunday morning!

They later amused themselves by staring at a duckweed covered pit of water and all was well.

Wonder what evil lurks beneath?

The floor of the quarry, where it wasn't flooded, also exhibited a lot of neat fossils.

Another gastropod (snail)

A squid-like cephalopod shell

Pelmatozoan columnal - a stalked echinoderm, sometimes called sea lilies

Shells at far left and right - brachipods or perhaps bivalves, not sure

Not sure.  Radial symmetry seems to indicate a coral or sponge perhaps?

The most impressive fossils, however, are the large stromatoporoid (calcareous sponge reef former) fossils in the walls of the limestone quarry.

My daughter sitting on a stromatoporoid mound.

See those white mounds in the cliff face?  Those are all stromatoporoids

 Closer view

Some fossils warranted closer inspection.

But there's a fossil half-way down the cliff!
From my wife's perspective on the other side of the quarry
Seriously, the quarry is well worth a visit if you're ever in the area.  It also tells a neat story of an ancient subtropical reef system in what's now upstate New York and Vermont.

1 comment:

  1. Soooo funny, your family lookscexactly like mine when I stop to read historical markers! Got to see the site in Richmannwhere Gen Stonewall Jackson was shot ( by his own men)..., his amputated arm was burried about 1/2 away down a tourest whe I said lets go......I coulda took the same snapshot! Haha!