Red Hill PA.
A Delaware Valley Paleontological  Society sponsored trip (DVPS)

Oct. 2010

  Iíve heard some good and some bad about Red Hill, PA but the planned Fall DVPS trip fit into my schedule nicely. With plenty of room in my SUV for equipment I teamed up with my friend Bob and his wife DeeDee to car pool for the 5 hour drive up. I contacted my friend Steve who had been there several times and he was able provide the information on the tools we would need plus some helpful hints.  

  Red Hill is a Late Devonian fresh water fossil site located in central Pennsylvania and an active research site for the ANSP (Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia)
 with a field station located nearby. Anyone interested in more details on the geology and fossils of Red Hill can find them on the Red Hill website;

   Collecting at Red Hill requires climbing onto one of the ledges on the cliff side, clearing away a shelf and trying to extract slabs of the red mudstone to split open looking for fossils. A number of the less adventurous will simple search through the spoil piles at the base of the cliff. I saw a number of very good finds turn up using this method. I have to admit that all of this was great fun and Iím looking forward to the next trip.

   I did pick up a large slab of ďgreenĒ mudstone full of plant material as we were leaving with the intention of using it as a stepping stone in my garden. About a week later I discovered a bone in the slab which caused a bit of excitement for a brief period of time. Iíve put the complete story on that one on a separate page.         



View of the Red Hill site.
If you plan a visit, make sure you have gas and all provisions
before reaching the site. The area is very rural.



A view of one of the ledges. The steepness of the slope combined with lose
rock can make footing a little tricky.


Kind of the "Holy Grail" of Red Hill, a
Hyneria tooth.
Hyneria lindae (lobe-fin fish) is known only from Red Hill.
These teeth average around the 1 inch range.
Photo and specimen courtesy of Steve B. 



Ageleodus pectinatus (early shark)
These teeth are are small, averaging about 5mm across
Specimen provided by Robert Badger



Fish spine from an unidentified species.
Only about 1/2 inch of the spine was visible, not having much experience
working with hard rock it took me the better part of an afternoon to uncover
the complete spine.


During lunch we took a trip over to the field station.
It's not large, but if you ever get the chance it's a definite must see.
(click on images to enlarge)



I was working the contact between a layer of red and green mudstone and pulled
out a couple of slabs that were just full of fish scales, bone, plant material and
placoderm (armored fish) plates. The partial armor plate in the picture is part
of the trunk Plate from Turrisaspis elektor.
(Identification made by Dr. Ted Daeschler of the ANSP)

I've drawn a black dotted line around the armor plate to distinguish it from the surrounding


Illustration of Turrisaspis elektor.
The boney armor ran from the head back to to dorsal spine.


Under a low powered microscope the slabs of green mudstone really came to life.
Pictured above are a couple of small sections of the boney armor placoderm plates.
(Magnification 10X - click to enlarge)



Just barely visible at the bottom of this slab is a small bone that was
the cause of a couple of weeks of excitement.

continued on next page

Home Site Map TripsBack Next