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Collecting Fossils

Finding Fossils in Indiana and Kentucky

The Falls of the Ohio is a great place to see fossils, but collecting is illegal except at the designated collecting piles next to the parking lot behind the Interpretive Center. There are other localities in the area where fossil collecting is permitted.

Please remember that collecting on private property always requires permission from the land owner. By listing these sites, we do not indicate that collecting is permitted without permission. These are some places that fossils have been reported in low to rich abundance. When in doubt - ask! Always be safe and courteous to those around you. There are many more locations, but as a courtesy to local collectors we cannot share them all!

The archive of Featured Fossils has photos of a variety of fossils that might be found at these locations.

Upper Ordovician (Edenian - Cincinnatian stages)


1.)
U.S. 421 north of Madison, Jefferson Co., Indiana

Type of exposure: Road cuts, also creek exposures on west side

Rock type: interbedded shale and limestone

Types of fossils: brachiopods, bryozoans, cephalopods, conodonts, corals, crinoids, edrioasteroids, gastropods, monoplacophorans, pelecypods, scolecodont teeth, sponges & stromatoporoids, starfish, trace fossils, and trilobites.

US421 road cut    US421 road cut

2.) State Road 155 between Fisherville (Jefferson Co.), KY and Taylorsville (Spencer Co.), KY

Type of exposure: Road cuts.

Rock type: interbedded shale and limestone in the Drakes and Grant Lake Formations

Types of fossils: brachiopods, bryozoans, cephalopods, conodonts, corals, gastropods, monoplacophorans, pelecypods, scolecodont teeth, stromatoporoids, trace fossils, trilobites. Mineralized brachiopods, aulocerid stromatoporoids and colonial corals with calcite, dolomite, celestine and other minerals.

Road cut on Hwy 155    Road cut on Hwy 155

3.) State Roads 467 and 227 between I-71 and Worthville, Carroll Co., KY

Type of exposure: Road cuts

Rock type: Primarily shale with thin limestone layers in the Kope Formation

Types of fossils: brachiopods, bryozoans, cephalopods, conodonts, gastropods, graptolites, monoplacophorans, pelecypods, scolecodont teeth, trace fossils, trilobites.

Hwy 227 road cut

4.) State Road 157 near Sligo (near rail road tracks)

Type of exposure: Road cut

Rock type: Rubbly limestone in the Grant Lake Formation

Types of fossils: brachiopods, bryozoans, cephalopods and gastropods. Mineralized brachiopods with calcite, dolomite and celestine.

These websites will help you identify your finds:

Ordovician Fossils and Stratigraphy (Cincinnatian)

Cincinnati Dry Dredgers 

 

Lower Silurian

5.) State Road 329 at I-71 exit 14, south of the junction, north of Crestwood, Oldham Co., KY. Middle Silurian Laurel Dolostone above.

Rock type: Dolomitized limestone (Brassfield Formation)

Type of exposure: road cut.

Fossils: Not common. Minerals: calcite and minor barite has been noted.

Middle Silurian (Wenlock stage)


6.)
State Road 245 between I-65 and Bardstown, Bullitt or Nelson Co., KY

Type of exposure: road cut

Rock type: Waldron Shale and Laurel Limestone (actually is a dolomitized limestone)

Types of fossils: brachiopods, crinoids, sponges, cephalopods, trace fossils, trilobites.

7.) Fossil collecting piles at the Falls of the Ohio State Park (at the rear of the parking lot)  

Click here for more information.

Rock types: Waldron Shale; also Middle Devonian Jeffersonville Limestone (residual soil)

Type of exposure: Rock hauled in from area quarries

Type of fossils: brachiopods, bryozoans, cephalopods, corals, crinoids, cystoids, gastropods, graptolites, monoplacophorans, pelecypods, trace fossils, trilobites.

Middle Devonian (Eifel stage)


8.) Cannons Lane near Bowman Field airport (Louisville)
- Note: No convenient parking.

Rock type: Jeffersonville Limestone

Type of exposure: Road cut

Types of fossils: brachiopods, corals, and stromatoporoids

Also see (6, above) Jeffersonville Limestone
Type of fossils: brachiopods, bryozoans, corals, gastropods, pelecypods, trilobites.

9.) Port Road (beyond the terminus of I-265, north of New Middle Road)

Rock type: Jeffersonville Limestone

Type of exposure: Road cut, north bound lanes only.

Types of fossils: brachiopods, corals, and stromatoporoids in limestone.

Visit our on-line fossil brochures for assistance in identifying Devonian fossils.

Middle Mississippian (Osagean and Meramecean stages)


10.) Brooks Hill Road, Bullitt Co., KY

Rock types: Siltstone and limestone

Type of exposure: Road cut

Types of fossil: Harrodsburg = Warsaw Formation - blastoids, brachiopods, bryozoans, corals, crinoids, echinoids; Muldraugh Formation - brachiopods, bryozoans, crinoids, trace fossils; Brodhead Formation- brachiopods, bryozoans, corals (horn), trace fossils;

Geodes are noted in the Muldraugh formation, containing quartz, calcite and rarely aragonite. Many are fluorescent / phosphorescent with an ultraviolet lamp.

11.) US 150, Floyds Knobs, Floyd Co., Indiana (just off I-64 at exit 119, Greenville - Paoli exit)

Rock types: Siltstone, Edwardsville & Ramp Creek Formations

Type of exposure: Road cut

Types of fossils: brachiopods, bryozoans, crinoids, trace fossils

Upper Mississippian (Chester stage)


12.) Intersection of I-64 and State Road 37 at exit 86, Crawford Co., Indiana. Famous locality.

Rock types: Sandstone, shale and limestone, Beech Creek limestone, Tar Springs Sandstone, Indian Springs Mbr. (productive layer), Haney limestone, Hardinsburg sandstone

Type of exposure: road cut

Types of fossils: blastoids, brachiopods, bryozoans, conularids, corals (horn), crinoids, gastropods, pelecypods, shark teeth and scales, trace fossils, trilobites.

The late Dr. Alan S. Horowitz (died, 1999), was the Curator of Paleontology at Indiana University after a career with Marathon Petroleum Co. His research interest was Chesterian fossils, especially bryozoans and blastoids. This article (PDF) from the MAPS Digest published in 1991 describes the Sulphur road cut, geology, paleo-ecology and the list of fossils found there.

A Fossil Site near Sulphur, Indiana...   

 

13.) State Road 37 several miles north (near Grantsburg, Crawford Co., Indiana)

Rock types: Sandstone, shale and limestone

Type of exposure: Road cut

Types of fossils: blastoids, brachiopods, bryozoans, conularids, corals (horn), crinoids, gastropods, pelecypods, shark teeth and scales, trace fossils, trilobites.

Utilizing geological maps, old publications, and stopping were it is safe along road cuts, you will find there are many places in Indiana and Kentucky where fossils can be found.

We recommend using state highway maps and Louisville / Jefferson County road maps to find localities effectively or county road atlases for Indiana and Kentucky. Much fossil collecting is driving around and exploring outcrops. No collecting in municipal parks.

 

Updated July 2, 2014