My latest adventure began at the Circle W General Store up the road from me in Palenville, N.Y. It has been a wonderful addition to the area (Skiers on their way to Hunter Mountain take note – it’s a great place to stop for food, coffee, etc. along Route 23A). The other day, while paying the bill, I reached into my pocket for change. As is often the case little fossils managed to find refuge amongst the coins.
It’s fair to say that the average person might pause and wonder about people with “rocks” in their pockets. But fortunately, around here, people are a bit more accepting and understanding! I jokingly offered my fossils as payment. And to my pleasant surprise Shannon (sandwichmaker extraordinaire) happened to be well versed in fossils and earth sciences in general. Within a minute or two, like music to my ears, I hear the words, “Have you ever been to…?” followed by directions to some obscure local roadcut where I was told it rains fossils daily!
All of which led to this:
Yes, that the back of my car. Cindy and I took advantage of a beautiful autumn afternoon to explore the site. Turns out it didn’t really require much exploring. Almost every rock we stepped on seemed full of fossils. Crinoids – crinoid ossicles to be specific. Crinoids are marine animals sometimes referred to as sea lilies.
example from Wikipedia
The stems are composed of “ossicles”, round crosscuts that, fortunately for me, appear in abundance in the nearby Becraft Formation. I have seen photos of crinoid-filled rocks. And I have often run across crinoid stems before as well. But until this trip I had never found any rocks with such density. And while these rocks have little to no scientific significance whatsoever they are sights to behold!
These random fields of geometric shapes, coupled with chemically induced color shifts, remind me of the designs in art. Whether it be the lines and circles of Kandinsky or the patterns of Klimt, art and nature once again come together.
These new fossil finds also seem to fit nicely into my newest project – one that I am calling my “Devonian Drawer” series. More on this in time.
One final note on crinoids – The New York State Museum in Albany has a huge slab of fully formed crinoids on view in the lobby. It’s breathtaking!
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Thank you for the visit. More images at www.artmurphy.com