Normally, we don't have a field trip in late November because it's too cold, the ground is frozen and the weather is unpredictable. However, this year, our field trip chairman, Dan Cooper, has provided us with one of the best field trips ever - a indoor trip to the fossil preparation lab of the famous trilobiter, Dan Cooper.
Dan Cooper's trilobites are on display at the Smithsonian, as well as many other museums. Dan buys land, rents earth moving equipment, digs trilobites and sells enough to recupe his costs. Many trilobites are donated to major museums. Others are given away to schools, kids and enthusiasts.
Dan had divided the day in one-hour time slots and allowed Dry Dredgers to arrive at their convenience throughout the today. There were no appointments, but it was a steady stream of visitors.
Dan's primary advantage is a great tool that essentially sand-blasts the fossil at a microscopic level (shown below). Called an air abrasive tool, this contraption uses an air compressor, and a device that shoots a variety of fine powered material at carefully directed spots on the fossil. A stereo microscope is mounted above a glass-top box to allow the operator to operate the stylus so precisely. One slip-up and the fossil is ruined!
The hands are placed behind a curtain that prevents the fine
dust from shooting all over the place.
The other really great tool Dan used that day was a vibrating etcher with a needle mounted on it. The needle is used to pry away the layers of shale covering the fossil. It can scratch the fossil very easily. So this is mostly to remove thick shale from the fossil.
Next Page: A Tour of Dan's Fossil Prep Lab
Table of Contents
Page 1: Introduction
Page 2: A Tour of Dan's Fossil Prep Lab
Page 3: A Fossil Cleaning Demonstration: Rhombiferan
Page 4: A Seastar Gets A Chemical / Cleaning a Phacops Trilobite Updated After-image
Page 5: Other Specimens Cleaned That Day
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