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12 September 2005

We recently visited A Limestone Cave on the North slope of the Rincon/Catalina Metamorphic Core Complex. The Cave was etched into the Mississippian Escabrosa Limestone at a time when valley fill was at a maximum, and the water table was elevated to these heights in the ancient rift valley (Henry Truebe). The cave has been well explored by professionals, amateurs and vandals. Most of the cave's scenic beauty has been wiped out. There are a few fossils in the cave in the more inaccessible areas however, and as an experiment we took our secondary camera in a snapped a few pictures. The pictures turned out okay, so we will be back this fall equipped to spend a few hours in the cave to better document the fossils before vandalism wipes them all out for good. If you do decide to visit any cave, please remember that everything inside is protected by law, and there is nothing in the cave that has any monetary value at all. The fossils exposed in the cave are worthless to collectors. You will not be able to successfully extract them with hammers or other blunt force tools. You will only destroy something that took a special set of circumstances and millions of years to create. There are plenty of examples of hammered fossils and fragments in the cave. We will be documenting that as well.

With gas prices climbing to all time highs, we've decided to keep things closer to home. On a recent trip to the Amole Arkose in the Tucson mountains we encountered a nice bi-valve mollusk, and a nice piece of petrified wood. The Amole Arkose was deposited in an ancient Cretaceous lake, surrounded by wooded mountains (David A. Kring). Being part of Tucson Mountain Park, most areas are off limits to collecting. Plant impressions, petrified wood, and freshwater snails and mollusks have all been identified in the Amole Arkose.

We added a couple of links to our Geology Maps Page: A beautiful Map of the Upper San Pedro Valley, and a PDF file with a general geology map of Southern Arizona

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Have a great day!
The Southern Arizona Fossils Team.

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