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Microfossils and Foraminifera at Cairn Science Mini-Conference 2015

Earlier this month we ran a couple of days workshops in Cairns with Miss Vivi from Dissection Connection.  Sadly the Hound had to stay behind but he did get a lovely holiday at the beach with his grandparents.

The final Rockhoundz workhsop on Tuesday afternoon was all about foraminifera and microfossils.  Here are a few images from our samples.  The first few are from our own exploration in the lab, the final ones were taken during the workhshop on the day.  Aren’t they beautiful!

During the workshop I mentioned a PDF booklet full of beautiful photos identifying the species of forams found on the reef.  It is available for download from the Reef & Rainforest Research Centre website here: Benthic Forams of the Great Barrier Reef


8000 year old microfossils from North Queensland


foraminiferous sand from Hervey Bay, QLD – see the foram in the top centre of the picture


foraminiferous sand from Hervey Bay, QLD


foraminiferous sand from Hervey Bay, QLD

foram from Hervey Bay sand at Rockhoundz

foraminiferous sand from Hervey Bay, QLD


foram found in sample of foraminiferous sand from Hervey Bay, QLD during workshop in Cains June 2015


foram found in sample of foraminiferous sand from Hervey Bay, QLD during workshop in Cains June 2015


foram found in sample of foraminiferous sand from Hervey Bay, QLD during workshop in Cains June 2015





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Is this a Houndz tooth I see before me?


I know what I want this to be.  I really, really, really want it to be a fossilised dinosaur tooth.

It won’t be because I never find anything cool.  Except for that one time in Cifton – but I had a lot of paleontologists pointing me in the right direction and then Scott Hocknell took it away and I never saw it again.

I found this when I was sorting a sample of our rocks from Roma.  They are an assortment from a lot of different deposits that have been washed down a river and there are bits of petrified wood, some chert, quartzite, sandstone, something that feels ‘soapy’ that needs to be identified and lots of other bits and pieces as well.

roma sorted

They’re an excellent sample to have for showing erosion of different types of rocks.  A lot of the pieces have been broken as well so you get a fresh face of the sample to compare with the weathered portion.  Becuase they all come from the same deposit now they are a good example of how sediments are transported by water and how conglomerate rock can be formed of rocks from very different geological formations.

They would be great for primary school kids who just like to feel and examine different rocks as well as interesting samples for a stereomicroscope session. I think I’m really onto something there because when our friend Vivi pinned this pin to Pinterest last week and it grabbed attention really quickly from homeschoolers and teachers.

They also lend themselves to sorting and classifying experiments.  Rock collections like these are a good introduction for biological classification lessons and good practice at identifying similar traits in different objects.

Keep an eye out here for activities using this sample.  In the meantime you’ll be happy to know they have the Angus Seal of Approval.

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Petrified Wood

petrified wood from alluvial deposit in Roma Qld at
petrified wood from alluvial deposit in Roma Qld

These are some samples of the petrified wood that we have in stock.  The variation in the colours and textures is quite remarkable.

Petrified wood is classified as a replacement fossil – the organic matter in the original sample has been replaced by minerals over a long period of time.  Replacement usually occurs in an anaerobic environment and the original structure of the material remains.  The wood fibre in these samples can be seen quite clearly.

We’ve heard rumours of a petrified forest near here.  If we ever sniff it out we’ll post some photos.

In the meantime you can follow the adventures of Angus on Facebook.