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Paul Krohn's Virtual Tour

August 29, 2020

Buffalo Geological Society Member Paul Krohn has invited us to host his “Virtual Tour” articles, originally written for his personal Facebook page. Paul is from North Tonawanda, New York and uses Facebook to share his photos and insight from local places of geologic interest.

In these incredibly difficult and trying times I do what I have always done best in my attempts to de- stress. I go out and commune with nature in the best way that I know how. I hike. I explore. I observe. I take in as much as I can. For me this is the healthiest coping mechanism that one can have and on a personal level when I can combine this activity with my lifelong passion- my fossil collecting- it makes it all that much better. Constructive, productive, and rewarding. Taking wonderful photographs in conjunction with these adventures is also very rewarding- to capture the images of the natural beauty. The memories. Memories of timeless places captured for posterity- and in the case of what I am trying to achieve here- the enrichment of others.


Welcome to my virtual fossil collecting tour of Buffalo Creek in Elma, NY. Last weekend, on a very hot humid day, I went to this locality which I have been visiting for 35 years or more. It’s really late in the collecting season- the sites have been picked over, the foliage has grown up obscuring rocks and outcrops from your vision and making access to some outcrops very difficult or impossible.


By happenstance, last Sunday I traveled downstream farther than normal and found an exposure of rock I was previously unaware of. Weathering out of a dirt embankment was an abundance of Middle Devonian Period Tichenor Limestone which is the uppermost layer of rock strata in the Ludlowville Formation. It contains a host of well preserved marine fauna that populated the warm shallow seas of that time period.


I found and collected a great number of specimens- numerous slabs containing an extraordinary abundance of remains of crinoids- also known as sea lilies as well as some other associated faunal elements. These slabs are pictured in the post. A couple of these slabs are quite large- which presented a bit of a problem- how to transport them out of the creek bed on an 85 degree intensely humid day. About 1/2 mile out of the creek no less. It turned into an extremely labor intensive 2 day affair.


Day 1 consisted of an over- the- shoulder rock bag with approximately 60+ lbs. of specimens contained within and a large 20-25 lb. slab under one arm. 25 or so rest stops later, the specimens were finally to the jeep ready to go. Day 2- back for the large 2×2 1/2 ft. 60 + lb. slab. Again- and this was carried out like a big library book under my arm- at least 25 rest stops on the way out and back to the jeep. I felt the aches and pains from this adventure for 3 days afterwards but ultimately it was all worth the trouble. Stay tuned for the next related post.


For almost the entirety of my life I have been fascinated by fossils. My interest started at a very young age- 4 or 5- and began with the dinosaur books that so many children of that age are introduced to. In the first chapters of some of those books you had the earlier life forms from the Paleozoic Era. Forms like trilobites, crinoids and brachiopods.


I was equally fascinated with these ancient life forms and when at the age of six I had moved to the southern tier- Little Genesee in Allegany Co.- and found my first fossils of some of these life forms, that’s when it all took off. I was hooked.


In the course of my lifetime I have amassed one of the largest private collections of New York State Devonian fossils on record. Silurian fossils from NY and Miocene fossils from Maryland also make up a large significant part of the collections I have made as well.


One of my primary objectives has been to share these collections with the public as well as having them utilized for scientific research by donating my collections to museums. The thought of them being used as an educational resource enhances the idea that I’ve always embraced about my leading a purpose- lead existence. I want to share my experiences. My discoveries. This is as much an enriching, rewarding experience as going out and collecting the specimens itself. My donated collections can be found at the Paleontological Research Institution in Ithaca NY where I once worked for five years, and the S.R.A.C. in Waverly NY. If you go online and type in my name and the word fossils information on my collections in relation to both of these facilities will pop up. When I moved back to the Buffalo area from the Finger Lakes region five years ago I decided after a few years to join the Buffalo Geological Society. Now I have another venue to share my finds with the public through.


This morning I donated the large slab that I just collected at Buffalo Creek last weekend described in my last post. It is now on display at the Geological Society headquarters- the Heritage Center on Lee St. in Buffalo. You will see the slab in these three photos standing up leaning against the back wall of the showcase on the right amongst numerous other specimens. I helped devise and set up the display in this large showcase last year in a collaborative effort with other members of the Society. I, along with other members donated all the spectacular fossil and mineral specimens on display. Also you will see some of my scientific illustrations of fossils that I drew some years back enhancing the exhibit. I hope you enjoy my posts. I always want to impart knowledge and try to generate interest in an educational format for people to appreciate. Thank you.


Archived Virtual Tour articles will be posted every Sunday and Wednesday until we catch up to the most recent date.

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