Friday, June 10, 2011

Hunsrück Slate

The Hunsrück Slate might not be quite as famous as the Burgess Shale, but it is definitely a spectacular deposit. The area around Bundenbach, Germany sits on a famous lagerstätten known as the Hunsrück Slate. This deposit dates back to the Early Devonian, and it offers a partial glimpse of life at the time. The Hunsrück Slate is a slightly metamorphosed laminated mudstone. A diverse assemblage is preserved here with organisms ranging from echinoderms to small crustaceans to fish. Some of our most notable fossils from this assemblage include pyritized ophiuroids.
YPM 202621

The pyritized fossils from this unit were discovered as workers cleaved the slates apart for use on roofs. The pyritized fossils themselves are very rare, but when found are spectacular. The Hunsrück also preserves a number of well preserved fossils that are not pyritized. Most of the organisms were buried in place or transported short distances by density currents into shallow depressions on the seafloor.
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