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Fossils in the Crestones

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Fossils in the Crestones

Postby guitmo223 » Sat Sep 16, 2006 9:44 pm

Has anybody else seen what looks like a fossil of a large fern leaf on the way up Broken Hand Pass?

This looks like igneous rock to me, so what is this doing there?

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Postby BillMiddlebrook » Sat Sep 16, 2006 9:56 pm

You bet I've seen that rock, but I remember it to be a bit more red than your photo. I know right where it is and have seen it the last 5 or 6 times I've climbed up to BHP. Last year I found it overrun by some rock movement and pulled it out so it could be seen along the trail.

Someone else probably can help with it's origin.
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Postby guitmo223 » Sat Sep 16, 2006 10:46 pm

Is this one better? (actually, I think the first was a negative - still learning the camera).

Image

BTW, Thanks for moving the rock. It's a pretty cool thing to look at on the way up. It's a relatively large and heavy rock, so I hope you didn't have to move it too far.
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Postby Doug Shaw » Sat Sep 16, 2006 10:55 pm

Clearly it's the result of Two Ferns Fighting on Crestone Needle... two ferns from Texas.

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Postby guitmo223 » Sat Sep 16, 2006 11:02 pm

Don't mess with Crestones... especially Loser Colony Lake!!!
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Postby Hiking Mike » Sat Sep 16, 2006 11:14 pm

I'm not a palentologist or anything, but it seems unlikely that you would find a fossil in igneous rock, especially a cast and mold type, which your picture would appear to be. I think that it's higly uncommon to find even permineralized or recrystalized fossils in igneous formations, so if the rock is granite, it is probably not a fossil. Maybe it was just formed by unusual cleavage or erosion. :-k
Obviously, I don't really know, and it's pretty neat regardless of whether or not it's a fossil. :) Thanks for sharing.
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Postby Joe Miner » Sun Sep 17, 2006 9:54 am

Obviously without a close up look I am shooting in the dark, but it is possible for that to be a fossil in an igneous rock. Fossil preservation in fine-grained tuffs and ignimbrites is not that rare. In fact, you have only to go to Florrissant National Fossil Beds to see some of the premier fossil in the world. I will pull a geologic map and look at the bedrock maps of the Crestones to see what is exposed at surface. The first photo looked suspect, but the second provides enough resolution that I could be convinced.

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Postby Hiking Mike » Sun Sep 17, 2006 10:52 am

You're right Arkie. :) You know, there are some close up pictures of rocks from Crestone on the trip report page. They might be helpful, but I guess it might be better to look at the overall formation. Let us know what you find out.
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Postby Joe Miner » Sun Sep 17, 2006 10:55 am

I will look into this further. As I have traveled the world you would be surprised at the things that you find when you are expecting them the least. I do know that there are some igneous vents in the Sangre de Cristos and that it is entirely plausible that these guys are real.

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Postby Hiking Mike » Sun Sep 17, 2006 11:01 am

Nice, I know what you mean. :)

By the way, the pictures of the rocks are actually not in the trip report pages, but here. I remembered incorrectly. :oops:

http://www.14ers.com/php14ers/rocks.php?parmpeak=Crestone%20Peak
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Postby stevevets689 » Sun Sep 17, 2006 11:06 am

I know that fossils in this area are not uncommon. People find fossils of shells a lot, actually. The thing is, this area used to be an inland sea millions of years ago. My guess is that perhaps there are some sedimentary rocks mixed in that got thrusted up along with all the ignious rock, and that's where you find the fossils. Just my guess.

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Postby Joe Miner » Sun Sep 17, 2006 11:12 am

Hard to tell from the samples, but the upper two appear to be oxidized conglomerates. High-energy sediments (if these are conglomerates) are unlikely places for the preservation of delicate fossils. I do know that the core of the Sangre de Cristos is predominantly Carboniferous rocks (Permian and Pennsylvanian). The Pennsylvanian is noted for large coal swamps and that ferns were extremely common in those swamps. You can find fern fossils in just about any Pennsylvanian-aged rock anywhere in the world.

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