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Exceptionally preserved plant fossils from Crock Hey

The coal from the Lancashire Coal Field has been extracted for many years. Sometimes this is done in underground mines,   but also often in opencast coal pits. In the former case the life span can be long, like the Bickershow mine, which was closed down in 1992 after having yielded coal for more than 150 years. In the latter case the life span is much shorter: mostly less than 10 years. When the concession has been exhausted, the quarry is filled up and made ready for new landscape (building houses included). Click here for SandyForth Opencast.

CrockheyAn example of such a temporary coal pit is Crock Hey (also called Crockhey), which is situated between Liverpool and Manchester, not far from Wigan. This quarry yielded coal for 8 years and has been closed down recently. The pit has been filled in and soon the memory of the big hole will fade away. But not in the mind of the paleontologists!

Sideriet nodulesIn the quarry, concretions of siderite (an iron compound) occurred in which plants and small animals from the coal swamps of the Late Carboniferous (Westphalian A) have been preserved in exceptionally good quality. A couple of local amateurs have collected these nodules during the life span of the quarry and they have built up wonderful collections. With one of them, Steve Livesley from Lowton, I have come in contact through my website. With him, my wife and I have collected in the quarry during its last days. We have found there several nice fossils, but they pale before Steve's splendid collection.
Below is a choice of his plant fossils. The photos are mine.

Pictures of animals from the siderite nodules, like xiphosurids, millipeds and insects, are on the page 'Little animals in the coals swamps'. Search for the addition Crockhey.

Horsetails

Annularia radiata
Annularia radiata

Annularia radiata
Annularia radiata

Astreophyllites equisetiformis
Asterophyllites equisetiformis

Asterophyllites longifolius
Asterophyllites longifolius

Asterophyllites charaeformis
Asterophyllites charaeformis

Sphenophyllum emarginatum
Sphenophyllum emarginatum

Calamostachys
Calamostachys sp.

Calamostachys ramosa
Calamostachys ramosa

Bulbil of Asterophyllites (?)
'Bulbil' of Asterophyllites

Bulbil (?) of Asterophyllites
'Bulbil'

Clubmosses

Lepidodendron
Lepidodendron lycopodioides

Lepidodendron simile
Lepidodendron simile

Lepidostrobophyllum lanceolatum
Lepidostrobophyllum
lanceolatum

Lepidostrobus
Lepidostrobus

Lepidostrobus
Lepidostrobus

Lepidostrobus
Lepidostrobus

Cyperites
Cyperites

Sigillaria tesselata
Sigillaria tesselata

Sigillariostrobus
Sigillariostrobus

Branchlet of Lepidodendron
Lepidodendron

Ferns

Pecopteris miltoni
Pecopteris miltoni

Pecopteris vestita
Pecopteris miltoni

Pecopteris sp.
Pecopteris sp.

Seed ferns

Laveinopteris loshii
Laveinopteris loshii

Laveinopteris loshii
Laveinopteris loshii

Neuropteris dussartii
Neuropteris dussartii

Neuropteris jongmansii
Neuropteris jongmansii

Mariopteris muricata
Mariopteris muricata

Mariopteris muricata
Mariopteris muricata

Climbing hooks of Mariopteris muricata
Climbing hooks of Mariopteris muricata

Climbing hooks of  Mariopteris muricata
Climbing hooks of Mariopteris muricata

Zeilleria delicatula
Zeilleria delicatula

Neuropteris jongmansii
Neuropteris jongmansii

Eusphenopteris sauveurii
Eusphenopteris sauveurii

Sturia amoena
Sturia amoena

Cordaites

Cordaianthus
Cordaianthus

SandyForth Opencast (contribution by Steve Livesley)
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