Field Trip To Ione Basin--August 19, 2000

Western Foothills Of The Sierra Nevada

Amador County, California

Paleobotanist Howard Schorn (standing) examines a fossil plant specimen at the famous "Lygodium Gulch" locality in the Middle Eocene Ione Formation, while paleobotanist Dr. Jack A. Wolfe wraps specimens in newspaper for safe transport to the archival paleobotanical collections at the University California Museum Of Paleontology in Berkeley. Image was taken on August 19, 2000.

In the late morning, August 19, 2000, my late father and I met up with paleobotanists Howard Schorn (retired Collections Manager Of Fossil Plants at the University California Museum Of Paleontology in Berkeley), Dr. Jack A Wolfe (retired member of the United States Geological Survey) and Dr. Bruce Tiffney (a professor at the University Of California Santa Barbara whose specialty is the study of fossil seeds and fruits) at the Ione Shopping Center in Ione; accompanying Dr. Wolfe was Tony, an artist. After resting up from our respective drives, we headed out in caravan style to the noted "Lygodium Gulch" locality, named after the common to abundant occurrence of a fossil climbing fern there--it's the only place west of the Rocky Mountains that has yielded climbing fern specimens (genus Lygodium) now housed in a museum.

Here, we got down to business. I had already collected numerous fossil plants from the site, but had not yet really "whacked" into the strata there--that is to say, I had not opened up a workable, servicable quarrying operation to facilitate ease of paleobotanical collecting. Dr. Tiffney soon put an end to that deficiency--he brought out a monstrous, heavy-duty pick and proceeded to expose, with expert care, the prime fossiliferous layer. Occasionally, he handed to me several chunks of potential leaf-yielding shale--both Dr. Tiffney and I proceeded to split with gentle care the shales in search of plants while Dr. Wolfe expertly wrapped the recovered specimens in several layers of newspaper, in order to protect them during transport back to the museum in Berkeley.

Please note: All fossil localities in the Ione Formation of Amador County, California, presently occur on private property; explicit permission from the land owners must be secured before collecting fossils there.

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