The flip side of the coin from last Friday. Other than looking for birds, I also spent a lot of time walking the Buffalo Gap National Grasslands looking for agates, fossils, and whatever other goodies I can find. It was a spectacular day (other than twice getting poured upon, on a day forecast to be totally dry), including a GORGEOUS Fairburn agate find. Here’s some of the highlights of the day:
Probably the best Fairburn Agate I’ve found in my LONG and illustrious career as a rockhound (ok, in the 3 weeks I’ve been doing this). I paid the price for this one! I found it as far away from the car as I walked all day, and it started absolutely pouring on me just 1 minute after finding it.
A collection of some of the best bubblegum agates from the day. The ones shown here are all small ones (1 1/2″ or less).
A very large button (?) agate (about 3″ across). I haven’t found any agates like this that are so well preserved and so big.
A bit of horn coral. I’m told this is a “traveler”, that the geology of the area is too young to host this. It’s a traveler from the Black Hills, washed down like the agates and other goodies you find here.
A rather unusual Prairie Agate. The rest of the agate looks like many typical prairie agates you find here, with the jagged, orangish-brown, diffuse banding. However, on this one side are these starkly different, very fine, parallel bands that are not found on any other prairie agate that I’ve found so far. Lacks the “holly leaf” pattern of a real Fairburn, but the thinness of the bands and their perfectly parallel nature reminds you of one.
More typical prairie agates. The ones you find most often are the ones with warm creamy and orangish tones, but there are also some cool ones with black, reddish-tones, or other colors.
One day away from the 4th of July, so I thought it was very appropriate to bring back this red, white, and “blue” agate. The colors even are arranged correctly!
A variety of petrified wood pieces. This stuff is just everywhere, and occasionally you run across a much bigger piece that weighs several pounds.
A large prairie agate (almost 4″ across) with an unusual pattern on one side.
A bit bigger bubblegum agate…or at least that’s what I think it is. Reminds me I guess of what a really worn down bubblegum agate might look like, with the stuff in between the “eyes” wearing away more quickly? That’s my (very) amateur interpretation.
A somewhat larger (~2″) bubblegum agate (perhaps an “eye agate?”), with a pattern of nodules that almost make it look like a brain coral in spots
I think this is just a mix of fossilized plant bits. Again, my amateurish interpretation, but that’s what I’ve found online