Photos: Fossil hunting in Bethany
Driving back from Genesee County Park this afternoon, Billie and I headed down Francis Road and spotted a man on the side of a cliff digging. It wasn't hard to guess what he was doing, so I stopped to talk with him. Yup, Bob Lann, of Spencerport, was digging for fossils.
What I didn't know is that this old railroad cut in Bethany is recognized as a good spot for fossil hunting.
Lann is a veterinarian and amateur fossil hunter. This was his first trip to Bethany.
Based on a little Google search, I came across a fossil hunting blog by James Heaney. He says Western New York -- and Lann said this, too -- is a great place for fossil hunting, especially from the pre-dinosaur ages. A guy named Robert Eaton also has information online about fossils in the Genesee region.
Below, Lann displays portions of a trilobite he found today and a bit of coral.
I love fossil hunting and realized how good the digs can be in Bethany when I moved here in 2003. A lot of digging had to be done in my lawn and I found all kinds of goodies, especially fossilized sea shells. The stone from local quarries often has coral in it and I find it in my driveway. I'm not knowledgeable enough to date what I've found but I still enjoy finding these things and realizing that at one point in time, this was a sea bed.
Nice find, Howard.
Can you tell me where, In East Bethany this is located , and is it still open to the public? Do we need to get permission from someone to fossil hunt there?
Brachiopods (the seashells) Trilobites and coral are generally index fossils and they indicate an age of 300 to 600 million yrs. (I was amateur fossil collector too :) ) Our area is mostly silurian to devonian shale and limestone. Especially in this county Just fyi
Thanks for the info, Kyle. Here's some info on the silurian/devonian period. http://tapestry.usgs.gov/ages/silurdevon.html
I love this part - During the Devonian, land plants grew into the first forests, and the first vertebrate animals colonized the land. At this time, North America was attached to Europe in a large landmass situated at the equator.
Up to the 1950's there were large rocks in Austin Park. They contained many fossils. It is sad the city chose to remove them. It was a great learning tool for city children. Would love to know where they went.
It's off Frances Road, if I remember correctly ... next to a rail line. I'm not sure who owns the property. It may be CSX property. It's not posted.
I own property on Francis Rd. and was amazed at the number and variety of fossils we found when we dug a trench for a power line. We also noticed that most of the larger rocks were deeply scored, I assume from glacial action.