Here are some more pictures from the East Bethany fossil site. I had these in a bin and just hadn’t had a chance to photograph them. All of these fossils are from the Devonian period.
I decided to go down to Pittsford Plaza to see the old Erie Canal site for myself. I didn’t find any fossils, but I did find this neat piece of Obsidian. I was also able to identify the shale layer in the side of the canal. There aren’t very good fossil hunting spots close to the lock since the approaches to the lock are clad in stone, hiding the sediment underneath. The spot that I’ve heard of is further North East, behind the Spring House. I didn’t get that far north. The ice is thin this time of year, and I didn’t want to walk too far. the trail thins out as it goes north of the lock. Next time, I’m going to park in the Spring House parking lot instead of the Wegman’s lot.
Here are some pictures of the two halves of the lock.
A view towards the lock (left), and away from the lock (right) I didn’t wade into the water, there’s a little wooden bridge that crosses the old canal about 30 meters northeast of the lock.
Amber hanging out on the bridge and next to the lock intakes.
A straigtht shell Nautiloid/Cephelapod from the Devonian Era
Upstate New York is an interesting place to look for fossils. The ice ages stripped most of the upper layers that would contain dinosaurs or larger fauna, but left some of the earliest eras of life on Earth near the surface. You may not find a dinosaur, but the Silurian and Devonian eras are within a few inches of the surface in some places. The fossils in these two eras record life as it began to differentiate and grow in complexity. Trilobites and Eurypterids are common fossils in both eras. The Eurypterid is the state fossil of New York. Modern descendents of Eurypterids include Horseshoe crabs and scorpions. Here are a couple fossil sites in upstate NY. If you need directions to each site,just zoom out on the Google map a bit.
Pittsford Plaza This site is an old section of the Erie Canal that was bypassed during an enlargement late in the 19th century. It is right behind the modern shopping center. If you look closely, you can even make out an abandoned canal lock. This section of the canal cuts through something called Pittsford Shale. Here is a description of fossils that can be found there. EDIT: I scouted the Pittsford site and posted about it HERE. I think a better place to search for fossils would be behind the Spring House instead of the Wegman’s Plaza. HERE is a google map of the site. It’s a few hundred yards North of the abandoned canal lock.
East Bethany railroad It’s a little hard to make out on this Google map, they don’t have high resolution pictures of this area. Here is a road map version. The railroad cut off of Francis road was abandoned years ago. The site is just south of Francis road. The railroad cuts through a large hill that contains many fossils. this site is full of clams and other Devonian fossils. It’s very easy to find surface fossils here. A great site for beginners (like me)
EDIT: I went back to the East Bethany site: https://npanth.wordpress.com/2011/10/06/new-east-bethany-fossils/
Long Pond Road Park on the circle of Marina Drive. This is a working part of the Erie Canal, so you have to go there when the canal is drained during the winter. I haven’t been there yet, but I’ve heard that this site doesn’t have a lot of fossils, but does have high quality specimens. The best place to search is to the east of the parking area.
Last fall, I went hunting for fossils in this old railroad cut. I had the field notes from a 1972 expedition. Thanks to the earth science teacher at the 9th grade academy, I’ve found some interesting fossils in the few trips I’ve made. Yesterday, I ran into him again in between classes. He has a new place for me to look. It’s along the Erie Canal this time. The canal goes right through a rich vein of fossils. It’s only accessable during the winter, when the canal is empty.
Here is the Google map link for the new site.
This is part of the Open Source Treasure Hunt. I have loved Hemlock and Canadice Lakes in central New York for almost 20 years. It’s a rare, unspoiled part of New York. So, I’ve decided to start a project to document the recreation activities available in the Park
Phelps and Corham Tract
I took these pictures in spring 2006. This field covers a ghost town from the 18th and 19th centuries.
There are also many ruins from 19th century summer homes along the lake. The old road to these houses is now a crushed gravel walking path, so it’s very easy to get to the foundations. The best time to go for metal detecting is in the spring. During those short weeks, the ground isn’t hard, but the underbrush isn’t thick yet. Summer is the time for fishing and photography on the Lake. There is good fishing for Trout, Bass, even Pickerel.
There is a nesting pair of Golden Eagles on the ridge between Hemlock and Canadice. There are several pairs of falcons that hunt along the shores of both lakes. One or two Egrets make their way up and down the lake occasionally. Dusk is when the show really starts. That’s when the unbelievable swarm of mosquitoes rises out of the southern marsh. They cling to the surface of the lake, sweeping North like a squall line. The fish rise to meet them, but they can only get a few. Just as that spectacle fills your eyes, a new sound comes from behind you. Strange, high pitched, half sounds fill the valley. A moment later, the bats stream through the trees and past your spot. For the short time before total darkness, you can see the most thrilling acrobatics, almost within reach.
I think I’ve found the general area of a roosting cave. It’s on the southwestern shore of Canadice. I’m going to go back down this summer for some pictures. I’m planning to hang an apple from a branch to attract insects. If I focus on the apple, then pan left or right until it’s out of frame, I should be able to get some realistic flash photos of the bats eating insects.
OSTH – Fossils
This is part of the Open Source Treasure Hunt
I would like to discuss some of the geology that exists in the Hemlock/Canadice Lake region near Rochester. These lakes, like all the Finger Lakes were created during the last Ice Age. As the Ice sheet advanced over the area, it gouged out the softer soil between the ridges, creating the bowls that the lakes sit in now. You’ll have to look in Pennsylvania for the missing soil. The Iroquois believe that the lakes were gouged out by the fingers of a deity.
This unique creation process has created some excellent opportunities for fossil and rock hunting. As you can see in this picture, there is a significant runoff in the spring. This area loses bridges to runoff every few years. This runoff has the effect of cutting deep channels into the surrounding hills, continuously cutting into new strata in the hills. There are many smooth rocks for collectors in the creek bed, with fossils mixed in. The hills have several fossil bearing strata that feed into the creek bed. So far, I’ve found minor fossils all over the road and creek beds. I’m not proficient in identifying fossils, but everything so far has been of the shellfish variety. You don’t have to go very far from the lake to see what’s up in the hills. There’s a good layer of quartz up there, somewhere. I think it will take a couple more trips before I find a really good example, but I’m expecting a good find eventually. The streams act as concentrators for the geology up on the hill. Instead of climbing every creek bed to see what’s up there, you can scout at the mouth of the stream, and then decide if climbing that steep hill is worth it.
Each lake has dozens of channels feeding down the hills. Since the majority of the creeks are seasonal, it is very safe to explore them in summer, fall and winter. The hills are very steep, so bring good hiking boots and BUG REPELLENT. By the time July hits, the place looks like an OFF! commercial.