On the fossil trail:
Over 1000 fossils to discover!
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Do it yourself collection

Tiges de crinoides des cousins

Dislocated Stalk and rings of crinoids
Ordovicien - 465 millions years ago
Gatineau (Québec) - Donate by Gatineau city


Do-it-yourself collection



It is not so hard to put together a collection with scientific value. All that is needed is a few housekeeping items at the right time. This will allow you to identify your fossils easily or to make your own research from the world wide wed. Furthermore, if you give your collection to a school or a child, you'll have in hand the necessary information for them to understand it and for them to do more research if they want.

Tools and material

  • Hard cover notebook
  • Pencil
  • Permanent marker
  • Geologist hammer with sharp end or a mason's hammer with a curb and flat end*
  • Cold chisel
  • Plastic or fibre bags
  • Backpack

* Hammer: the hammer is usually the enemy of fossils, an inconvenient hit and the artifacts old of 460 million years is destroyed. It is better to go about and look at the top soil for a nicer one which are usually nicer because they have been nicely and gently eroded.  Furthermore some sites do not support an harvest with the help of a hammer in its walls. Once cut, often times no fossils are reveal until a slow erosion bring them out eventually. Best fossils are found by having a good look at the foot of a fossil site rock wall. Please have a good look at your footstep before walking on.


Information to write down at the time of the finding

1- Description of the rock

Please write here all details of the found rock which contains one or more fossils that may be of different family.

2- Number and measure the rock

  • To attach the number to the rock, you may use a masking tape to write the number on it;
  • Write down the number representing the fossil site it was found, then a dot;
  • Then write the number of the rock starting with the earliest find that day and then increment;
  • Also write the date of the finding.

For example, a one could write for a 3rd finding of the day on site 1, found 04/08/2014 the following: 1.3.04-08-2014

3- Where it was found

It is important to identify the whereabouts of your finding in details in the notebook. Even if you are unsure, give it a name and you can correct it later, however the site where it was found will usually be indicative of the type of rock and age it is, and later you can take a map yourself or ask for help to locate it on the geographical and topographical map. The following information is a good starting point:

  • Refer to it with the same number as you wrote on the masking tape (For example 1 would indicate the first deposit visited in an area);
  • Give it a name and note down the number of the nearest road and it's kilometre;
  • Write down the name of the town, province and country it was found.

4- Other information to write in your notebook

  • Jot down for each rock found the number of the site, and of the rock, the date and the name of the person who made the finding;
  • Describe the rock, such as: colour, rock type, and what type of fossil(s) it is if you know it.

5- Bringing back the rock

  • Each rock or specimen should be bagged separately with a ribbon. Smaller pieces and extruding parts will be fragile and you may want to carry them carefully, such as in a vest pocket.

6- At your arrival at home

  • Unpack the rock in front of you. Keep the masking tape near each rock, then wash and brush each rock with soapy water using caution, then rinse it using cold water.
  • On the bigger ones, you can put it's number on it. Think about adding the date it was found, the site and the rock number. Using the year only, if it was found in 2014, at site 1, and its number is 3 this will be 2014.1.3

7 - Keep an electronic log or a master notebook:

A notebook or electronic log can be filed to keep your records indefinitely.


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