Sunday, 11 April 2021

CRUZIANA TRILOBITE AND ANCIENT FOSSIL TRACKWAYS

Trilobite and Sea Scorpion Fossil Trackways
This is a very interesting block with wee trace fossil trackways from our Mississippian seas some 359.2 million to 318.1 million years ago. 

It shows a nice combination of Cruziana fossil trilobite trackway and eurypterid (sea scorpion) or horseshoe crab trackway on the same matrix. 

When we use the term Cruziana, we are not referring to the trilobite species, but to the particular shape and form of the trackway. 

In this case, elongate, bilaterally symmetrical burrows preserved along the bedding plane with repeated striations that are mostly oblique to the long dimension. I like to picture a teeny, tiny painter or sculpture with a small putty knife making angled cuts along a line or a wave motion to create a small curved line. Very showy skate skiing is another good visual. Sadly, neither is the case. While a Cruziana trace fossil is most often associated with trilobites, it can be made by other arthropods. 

When we see trace fossils — preserved tracks or other signs of behaviour from our marine friends living on the seafloor — they are generally from their furrowing, resting, emerging, walking or striding. They provide a glimpse of how these ancient sea creatures moved about to make a living. 

Trilobite and Sea Scorpion Fossil Trackways
This busy 4 1/2" x 3 1/2" x 1 1/4" block hails from the Tar Springs Formation in Perry County, Indiana, USA, and is in the collections of the deeply awesome David Appleton.

The Tar Springs Formation is recognized on the surface from southwestern Orange County to the Ohio River and is known in the subsurface from central Martin County southwestward (Gray, 1970, 1986).

In Indiana, the Tar Springs Formation is primarily shale, but it also contains scattered thin beds of limestone and massive local lenses of sandstone that on outcrop are differentiated as the Tick Ridge Sandstone Member (Gray, 1986). The formation ranges in thickness from about 70 ft (21 m) to more than 150 ft (46 m) in central Posey County and in southwestern Gibson County (Droste and Keller, 1995). Commonly sandstone predominates in those areas where the Tar Springs is as much as 150 ft (46 m) thick (Droste and Keller, 1995).