Fossil Road Show again offers range of features

Union County Heritage Museum Director Jill Smith said she was again pleased with attendance at the Fossil Road Show there Saturday. The annual event is drawing an increasing number of local attendees as well as more vendors and mineral and fossil experts, she said.

Dr. Charles T. Swann with the Mississippi Mineral Resource Institute at the University of Mississippi gave a program on “The Blue Springs Project,” done by his department a little over two years ago. The study provided information on geology and geologic formations to aid in more effective planned industrial and other design for the Blue Springs area in light of the siting of the Toyota plant there.

Carol Lybanon, stained-glass and gem and mineral artist from Memphis had her works on display and Mike Baldwin, known as “The Geode Cracker” was there. He sells unopened geodes and allows the purchaser to crack them open to be the first to view the interior mineral design and colors.

Local fossil and artifact collector Roger Rakestraw had a display and members from the Memphis Geology and Mineral Society and the North Mississippi Gem and Mineral Society were on hand as well.

Visitors were able to purchase a wide variety of minerals and other artifacts, or bring in their own to have them identified by the experts.


Visitors browse through fossil and mineral displays. The large display on the left belongs to Roger Rakestraw.


Conrad Armstrong, left, with the North Mississippi Gem and Mineral Society, bears down trying to crack a geode held in place by Mike Baldwin.


Conrad Armstrong displays the interior of the geode he has just cracked.


Randy Cobb of Tupelo, left, has a fossil identified by Dr. Charles Swann of the University of Mississippi. The fossil turned out to be a well-preserved tooth of a marine mosasaur. Cobb is the brother of Butch Cobb of New Albany.


Dave Hill, left, shows visitors this large fossil that is a bone socket from a baby mastodon. He found it locally.


Miracle Hurd, 6, displays her geode that was just cracked and seen for the first time. She is the daughter of Jennifer and Jeffery Hurd.


Dr. Charles Swann talks about the geology of the Blue Springs and surrounding area.