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Echinoids from the Upper Maastrichtian

After posting several reports of trips to a quarry where the uppermost Campanian and Lower Maastrichtian are exposed, now a report of several trips into a quarry a little further North, all as one post.

As the formations gradually slope downwards when going North, the lowest parts in this quarry are still a little younger than the uppermost exposures in the other quarry. Hence the echs you can find here are different; you won't find any Echinocorysses here, nor are the echs so abundant, but for those who are willing to invest some time, the ones you do find are beautiful.

After several visits I am now getting the hang of it and know how and where to find the two bands holding the coveted Hemipneustes striatoradiatus, the biggest echinoid to be found near where I live. No spectacular and heroic stories of these finds, just your plain old scrutinizing the walls and mounds. That and keeping an eye out where the machines are digging. At this stage, my eyes are so well trained that while walking around, even the tiniest bit of the test showing is enough for me to home in and find a Hemipneustes. Then, when still embedded in the wall, the tricky part is "reading" how it is embedded, the angle, size and the likes. After several (near) misses, I have now developed a fail-proof technique, using a big-toothed pruning saw (the clayish chalk can be cut easily with this) and chisels to pry out the ech.

All other echs to be found there, like Catopygus fenestratus, Procassidulus lapiscancri and Oolopygus pyriformis, are in the (sub-)cm-domain and though pretty ubundant, they require a different technique to be found. To find these you have to know the spots where they can be found and just squat down and move inch by inch....

Also there are some bands with concentrations of teeth (shark, mosasaur, pycnodonts, enchodus, rays etc...), and, though rarer than the echinoids, ammonites and nautilusses can be found as well as bivalves and brachiopods, but I leave those for other trip-reports. The attached pics show the quarry itself as well as some echs found there. Enjoy!


Location Oupeye-Bassenge-Vise area, Belgium

Date Added2/4/2008

A view of the pit as seen when entering through the "rear-entrance", looking down. Try and find a sub-cm ech in this pit requires a lot of research, good eyesight and a big portion of luck. Sometimes it takes several passes through the same spot only to find one @ the final pass.
A look along one of the "walls" that constitute the boundary between two excavation levels. This particular "wall" transsects the Romontbos-horizont, a thin layer relatively "rich" in (shark)teeth. In the back you can see a piece of machinery.
Here you can see where collectors have worked their way into the "wall" at the level of aforementioned Romontbos-horizont
Loading of the dumpster. Always makes we wonder how many exciting fossils it has hauled away to be turned into cement. Horrifying thought.... ain't it?
What a shame; the contours of a Hemipneustes, broken by the machinery......
An unbroken Hemipneustes, for the largest part still embedded in the matrix/wall. This one turned out to be covered with big bivalves.
Two Oolopygus pyriformis in the wall. Unfortunately the upper specimen broke when I tried to extract it. It turned out to be an empty hull, hence the fragility.
The upper specimen, before I tried to extract it.

Squalis rule !
Squalis rule !
A good Echinocoys-day!
A good Echinocoys-day!
It ain
It ain't over till the Fat Lady sings .....





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