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Written by: Krystal Davis
Friday August 8, 2014

The Solite quarry had some of the best preserved insect fossils from the Triassic anywhere in the world.  This site is famous for having the oldest records for many living insect families and orders.

  It's a hard days work for curators, staff and volunteers at the Solite Quarry.

Ararat Rock Products is cooperating with an excavation team from Virginia Museum of Natural History on a project to remove scientifically valuable fossils from the quarry in Cascade, Virginia. The excavation is being funded by the National Geographic Society.  This is a site we’ve been excavating for more than 20 years.  Dr. Alton Dooley, Curator of Paleontology, and others are trying to save as many fossil beds as possible before they are lost to expanded mining operations.  Ararat Rock Products have gone out of their way to aid the excavation.

Staff and volunteers work with big tools to recover small items.

The digging team from the museum includes about 10 members, including scientists and volunteers, who began working last Saturday and plan to continue the project on successive Saturdays for about a month.  The fruits of their labor are already evident in some of the fossils that have been recovered and we are excited to see what future finds will bring us.

Photo of Tanytrachelos recovered at Solite on August 2, 2014.  You can see part of the neck at left, a forearm and wrist at top center, most of the ribcage, the pelvis and part of the femur, and on the right (a little out of focus) is a foot.

Tags: Dr. Alton Dooley, Dr. Jim Beard, Paleontology, Research and Collections, Solite