fossil hunting in lilydale

September 14, 2005

The ECHO-South group today had a trip to the old St. Paul Brickyards. Unbelievable place. This is pretty much where kids die in cave cave-ins every few years.So about a quarter-mile in (to the park, not the caves — no caves for me thank you very much) we hang a left and there is a HUGE clay “mountain”. Totally natural and literally brimming with amazing fossils. Back in the forest there is a network of trails that takes you to some rather pristine areas so close to the city. Two-hundred foot sandstone walls being slowly carved away by the water seeping through the rock. There were 10-foot wide slabs of limestone crawling with perfect coral fossils.

This is apparently an area with fossils from the Ordovician Period (we were at almost 30 degrees SOUTH of the equator at this time — now we’re 45 degrees NORTH) of the Paleozoic Era (~460 million years old) and include marine invertebrates such as crinoids, bryozoans (sponges) and brachiopods. These are more than twice as old as the dinosaur fossils at the museums.

I had more fun than the kids. I can’t wait to go back.

More good info on fossil hunting in Minnesota

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