The Hunt

Fossil Hunting around Jack County

April 17th, 2015: Written Mariah Pogue

Part of Jim Whitsitt's fossil collection includes a Bivalve, and parts of Ammonites/Cephalopod's

Part of Jim Whitsitt’s fossil collection includes a Bivalve, and parts of Ammonites/Cephalopod shells found around Lake Jacksboro

Jack County has a hidden treasure not many know about. The not often traveled trails around Jacksboro Lake are some of the most beautiful around, but it’s what you find along those trails that’s the real treasure. If you know where to look, you can find fossil’s from the Pennsylvanian period, of the Paleozoic Era. The Pennsylvanian period dates back to approximately 300 million years, which is pretty cool when you think about seeing and holding something that old in your own hands. Local Geologist, Jim Whitsitt, has been combing the creeks and low water crossings of Lake Jacksboro area since the trails were first built. Jim has been interested in earth sciences since he was a kid, and eventually graduated with a Geology degree in 1983 from University of Texas. He has spent many a day thoroughly sifting and searching for interesting finds. Among the limestone, sandstone and shale you can find Ammonite, Gastropod, bivalve, bryozoan (leafy underwater plants), coral, and many other types of fossils. So if you’re looking for a fun activity to do on a gorgeous summer day, don’t forget about the geological history right in your backyard. As an added note, don’t forget sunscreen either! Hunting for fossils can be quite a thrilling hobby because you never know what you’ll find out there among the rocks.

A slab of Jim Whitsitt's found at Lake Jacksboro with various fossils embedded on top.

A slab of Jim Whitsitt’s found at Lake Jacksboro with various fossils embedded on top.

Another slab of Jim's that's covered in small Bivalves and other types of fossils.

Another slab of Jim’s that’s covered in small Bivalves and other types of fossils.

An odd piece of Jim's collection that he found near a low water crossing includes fossilized feces from what he suspects to be a small plant eating hippopotamus.

An odd piece of Jim’s collection that he found near a low water crossing includes fossilized feces from what he suspects to be a small plant eating hippopotamus.

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