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"Father & Son"-day in the Belgian Cretaceous

Reading about all the trips in the US and - more recently - several trips to Mill in the Netherlands (one of my favorites), I approached ditchweezil about setting me up to post trips to the Cretaceous sites scattered around the Dutch-Belgian border, near Maastricht (yes, that's why they call the latest stage of the Cretaceous the Maastrichtian ). So here I am with trip nr. 1.

As it happens to be, this was on our latest so-called "Father & Son"-day, July 2nd, with my 11-year-old son and me as participants. Program was established long ago already: first spotting airplanes at Bierset, the airport of Liege, Belgium and a stop-over at a Cretaceous Quarry in the Oupeye-Bassenge-Vise area on our way back home. On our way out I got a message from my wife informing me that the long awaited package from the US had arrived. I had to suppress the strong urge to turn around immediately, which I succeeded in, if barely. Thanks for the package, Paleoron!    Hope you'll like mine as well.

I won't bother you with what happened at the airport. That's for another forum. On the way back we indeed strolled around for some 1.5 hours on one of the chalk plateaus in one of the quarries around  Eben-Emael. In spite of the short duration of the visit and the fact that the plateaus to sample were uncovered quite some time already, we nevertheless found some nice Echinocorys-echonoids. What helped were probably the heavy rains as of late and a systematic search of the plateau. See the associated pictures for an impression. The last set of 6 photos concern one and the same echinoid from the moment of finding it to the moment it had been scrubbed firmly. As most of the specimens you find are severely damaged/distorted, and covered with flint, I am more than happy with this specimen, one of my best if not the best from this site.

Location Oupeye-Bassenge-Vise area, Belgium

Date Added7/9/2007

Maarten's 1st find of the day. Q: Do you see the echinoid? Hint: look near the end of the hammer.
Maarten's 1st find, close-up.
Maarten with the biggest catch of the day. The height is somewhat increased by a sideways distortion, but still a huge specimen.
Sometimes, only the tip is showing.... I like these best, as they have not/hardly been touched or damaged by the dragline.
Anxiously, but carefully, you start scraping away the surrounding chalky matrix. All the time wondering; is it whole, how much flint is on it, is it distorted?
Finally it comes out and you carefully pry off the remaining chalky matrix.
Yes! It is whole, undistorted and hardly any flint on it.
After a decent scrubbing; view 1
After a decent scrubbing; view 2

Queen of Hearts
Queen of Hearts
Friend or Foe?
Friend or Foe?
King Echinocorys
King Echinocorys





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