Permian Kaibab Alpha Fossils

Secret fossil locality between Jacobs

Lake and N. Rim of Grand Canyon

Permian Marine Kaibab formation
Updated 11/12/16

The partially dolomitized magnesian limestones capping the Colorado plateau in this region contains large amounts of cherts, and in some places - beautifully preserved chertized fossils. The dolomites the cherts are eroding out of in beds are also fossiliferous but the preservation is very poor as all dolomitic limestones. At this site however, a ridge one side was first explored on this trip, which we make every year in October and we found some big beds of pure limestone, with many chertized fossils within.

I had never posted any images from this site before, and hope you like the fossil pictorial of some of the better specimens we found that day!

 The site is a low lying area, like a scree basin for the surrounding low hills. We found this site by seeing from the road lots of cherts laying on the ground and investigated. That was over a decade ago, and each time we go north from the Canyon in search of fall colors, we visit this site. Look closely for Dawn, dressed in red in the center.

This big open field is filled with many beds of cherts scattered amongst the grass clumps. Those camp fire sites in the center are built with highly fossiliferous rocks!

Surrounding the field are many trees with hordes of cherts. You can see them here as white and pink covering the ground. They are loaded with fossils.

Here I am searching for better fossils than what Dawn usually finds. She always wins...

Fossil images:

A magnificent specimen of a productid brachiopod with ORIGINAL coloration patterns. We have never seen this before any where in the formation. This fossil is 280 million years old.

From the limestone hills, the slabs of rock were filled with hordes of fossils that were silicified. Preservation however was not the best.

Here is the one really killer fossil I found - a Pectin Mollusk with one wing still attached at the bottom.

Here is a moderate sized productid brachiopod that was loose in the gravel.

Fenestellid bryozoan in white creamy chert

Most of the cherts in the field looked like this - loaded with crinoid and urchin material as molds.

Hexactanellid sponge is the mottled pattern you see here.

Crinoidal cherts everywhere!

One single rugose coral was found, this small horn coral was preserved in white chert. She always finds the best stuff!

Tabulate branching coral. This specimen which I found shows a cross section through one branch, when the rock split in half. It is extrordiary under the microscope, as you will see coming up!

Here is another branching coral that was not split open so you can see the exterior appearance.

Microscope shots of the Tabulate Coral

Look at the beautiful tubes at 10x with my stereo microscope. Each tube held a small colentrate which populated the surface of the coral tubes. It is completely silicified and the outside of the tubes are covered in tiny sparkling quartz crystals.

End on view of the tubes at 10x. They are filled with a white chert, and show no septa (partitions) and are typical of tabulate coral.

Final 10x shot, the end of a branch with radiating channels.

At a higher magnification of 15x, the tubes are clearer. To take these images, a Sony point and shoot digital camera was hand held up to the eyepiece and it actually auto focused this way. See how sharp the field stop is!

Ends of the tubes at 15x.

Finally, on the way out of the back road we took to the site, and monsterous California Condor was seen in a dead tree on the side of the road, beckoning us to take its photo! I took this with my Canon 10D and 400mm IS lens. Is this not a face only a mother could love?!

Paleo HOME