July 19th, 2024

MH Rock & Lapidary Club: Southern Alberta as good as it gets for fossil lovers

By Medicine Hat News on January 18, 2024.

Mark Turner, founder of Dinosty Fossils, presented to the Medicine Hat Rock & Lapidary Club earlier this month.--PHOTO BY KAREN-ANNE CHERWONOGRODSKY

Members of the Medicine Hat Rock & Lapidary Club were ecstatic over their most recent guest at their Jan. 2 meeting.

Mark Turner, founder of Dinosty Fossils, was on hand to discuss and show some of his prize fossils including ammonites, a woolly mammoth tusk and dinosaur fossils. Members learned that fossils have been a passion of Turner’s since childhood.

When he was 11 years old, he and a friend, while playing near their home in Tumbler Ridge, B.C., stumbled upon a series of large footprints that turned out to be a dinosaur trackway. He has since unearthed a number of fossil treasures.

As noted on his website, “His keen eye for detail and profound understanding of geological formations had led to groundbreaking discoveries and enriched our understanding of Earth’s history.”

His presentation focused on ammonites and Alberta’s official gemstone ammolite. Although the terms ammonite and ammolite are sometimes used interchangeably, ammonite refers to the fossil shells of ammonites. Ammolite is the gem-quality material made from fossils of certain species of ammonites or marine mollusks, that became extinct more than 60 million years ago. Gem-quality ammolite is only found to date in southern Alberta.

The Medicine Hat Rock & Lapidary Club and its members are sometimes asked about collecting ammonites. They can share that one can now surface collect ammonites in Alberta, although one is not allowed to sell or alter the fossils until they receive disposition. In addition, surface collecting must adhere to trespassing laws, Parks and Protected Areas legislation and other relevant land-access laws such as on land for which ammonite shell agreements have been issued. A disposition application may be made through the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology.

To learn more, feel free to contact the club at medhatrockclub2022@gmail.com or, if interested in the study of rocks, minerals, fossils or in lapidary work, come check out the club. Members meet the first Tuesday of each month from September to June at 7 p.m. The club, with a fully equipped workshop, is located in the Gas City Kiwanis Centre at 826 11th St. SE. Check out their Facebook page as well.

Karen-Anne Cherwonogrodsky is president of the Medicine Hat Rock & Lapidary Club

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