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THE CATSKILL GEOLOGISTS: Fossil fish displayed on Warren Street

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By ROBERT and JOHANNA TITUS

Fossil fish. Photo contributed

IT’S JUST PAST THE PEAK OF GIFT BUYING and time for doing some fact finding about all that shopping. A very good place for you to do that is at the many shops along Warren Street in Hudson.

The two of us have long enjoyed the stroll any time of the year, but this year we thought of a different reason. We decided to “shop” for column topics. Yep, there is a lot of geology to be seen in the many antique shops on Warren Street. Let’s start today by bringing a new meaning to the word “antique.”

Our first stop was at Sutter Antiques. There, right in the display window, were some fine fossil fish. We instantly recognized them as being from the Green River Formation.

That’s a unit of rock found in Wyoming and Utah that is familiar to geologists all around the world. Those are lake deposits which were deposited during what’s called Eocene time and these fish are between 48 and 54 million years old.

Way back then there were several large lakes lying in between uplifting blocks of rock associated with the then-rising Rocky Mountains.

As we said, the Green River formation is famous among geologists all over. It’s one of those rock units that have an abundance of exceptionally well-preserved fossils. Beside fish, there is a treasure trove of other fossils found in the unit. There are land dwelling mammals, bats, crocodiles, lizards, birds, insects and many plants. But mostly there are a lot of fish in those lake deposits, and they are very well preserved. Their dark brown bones stand out against the light siltstones that surround them. We had no trouble finding a name for these fish. They belong to a species called Diplomystus dentatus, a distant cousin of the modern herrings and sardines.

Contact the authors at randjtitus@prodigy.net ; join their Facebook page The Catskill

Geologist, read their blogs at thecatskillgeologist.com.

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