Friday, September 28, 2012

Rockhounding

Leaf fossil...maybe alder?  
Today we went up into the Cascade mountains to a claim that had been mined for gemstones at some point.  After mining what is desired from the area, we learned the leftover limestone is sometimes sold to be used in portland cement.  A geologist from a nearby rock and gem club told us that we would find some fossils, and let the kids explore the rock outcropping we walked to.  A spring came out of the hill and the main rocks were limestone, travertine and slate.  I couldn't hear much of what the teacher was saying because of all the hammering, but I sure enjoyed finding fossils in situ!  We found an imprint of an alder cone, an alder catkin imprint, twig imprints, alder leaf fossils and pine needle fossils.  

Exciting!  We JUST read about currants yesterday, and here were some wild currant bushes!
Little leaf fossils
Enjoying her pistachios.
Fires in Eastern Washington have made our area very smoggy, making asthmatics like my husband quite miserable.
Left: more tiny leaf fossils
Hello slug.

Saraiah asked if she could take this rock home.  I was looking at the boring other side and grudgingly gave her permission.  She flipped it over and found the best fossil all day!
Pine needle imprints
Travertine, a type of limestone found near mineral springs.  There was a spring flowing over this rock outcropping.
slate
little leaf imprint left of the middle.  Levi thought the leader said this was "skeletite" but I don't think that exists.  It might be calcite maybe?  The whole rock is below.

our spoils
maidenhair ferns

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