Fossils of Parks Township is a catalog of fossils found in Parks Township, Armstrong County. The county of Armstrong is located in the state of Pennsylvania within The United States. The city of Pittsburgh sits approximately 30 miles to the southwest.
The fossil collection sites explored are situated in an area embedded within the Glenshaw Formation. The formation consists of a series of ancient sea transgression and regressions that laid down layers of limestone, sandstone, and shale in a repeating pattern. The limestone layers are generally the centers of what are known as marine zones. These zones carry abundant fossils. In between the zones lie series of shale and sandstone which also can carry fossils.
The marine zone I explore most is the Brush Creek marine zone, also known as the Brush Creek limestone.
The Glenshaw is one of two formations in the Conemaugh Group. The Casselman Formation exists above at the hilltops, about a mile away. The Ames Limestone is the boundary between the Glenshaw and the Casselman.
All fossils I find are presumed to be from the Carboniferous Period of time, more specifically the Pennsylvanian. This time spans a period of 298.9 – 323.2 million years ago. You can find fossils locally in any type of rock. Local rocks include shale, limestone, sandstone, or a mix of any of these. Generally fossils that I find are between 303 to 307 million years in age.
The Geology of Parks Township, Pennsylvania
One key to finding and identifying fossils is to understand the local geology. The Parks Township Geology page has a high-level overview of the geology within the township boundaries. There is also information available for what Parks Township was like back in the age in which these fossils were being laid down, mostly during the Carboniferous Period of time.
In the future, we hope to publish material to better describe the fossil and geological records of Parks Township and neighboring localities. A large portion of the first couple of years of exploring has involved learning about these topics and finding physical evidence locally. There are currently many ways we publish, this website being the primary source of new material.
This website contains two primary sources of publication. Fossils posts and pages. Posts are smaller research, typically focused on a single discovery or fossil recovery. One goal is to use as much photography as possible to highly the physical evidence in these finds. Pages are more comprehensive, with topics ranging from Paleontology Research, Parks Township geology, and descriptive resource pages that can help do similar work to what we are going. We also publish our fossil catalog, which is a serialized listing of specimens. While the majority of specimens are local, anything that is a fossil of interest can become a specimen in the collection. Part of learning can involve trading with collectors from all over the world, and these specimens become part of the collection.
One important aspect of paleontology research is publication. This can be new discoveries or just a collection of research about a particular topic. Surprisingly, while nearly all common local fossil fauna has been discovered, Western Pennsylvania has a large amount of discovery left. Several detailed guides have been published about regional rocks. But there will always be new discoveries to be made. Most collecting occurs where people dig, the margins of regionally eroded hillsides, and in quarries. This leaves hundreds of square miles in just a single stratum with unrecovered material.
We wish to publish:
- manuscripts for research on common fossil genera.
- a local guide for identifying fossils found regionally using photography of locally recovered specimens.
- a manuscript in a peer-reviewed journal.
- occasional papers highlighting interesting recovered specimens.
- information sheets. They are available here.
Global and Regional Fossil Information
- PBDB Navigator – Paleobiology Database
- Geology – Pennsylvania Department of Conservation & Natural Resources
- Invertebrate Paleontology – Carnegie Museum of Natural History
Other Interesting Fossil Websites
Occasionally I find people doing similar work. Here are some good websites for fossil exploration.
- Views of the Mahantango – From a writer in Philadelphia. He recently started posting updates again.
- Equatorial Minnesota
- Louisville Fossils
- Oceans of Kansas
- TXFossils – Lots from the Pennsylvanian in Texas.
- Kane X. Faucher – Fossil Blog
- Terra Impressions – Fossils of Alabama
- Late Pennsylvanian Fossils in Kansas