Fossils in the Tunkhannock Creek Watershed Area

Although the Earth is approximately 4.5 billion years old, rocks aged at approximately 3.7 billion years found in Africa and Greenland show traces of life.  The oldest rocks in Pennsylvania are up to 1.6 billion years old; hence all rocks in Pennsylvania were formed after life first appeared on the planet.  

Unfortunately, our area of Northeastern Pennsylvania is relatively poor in fossils compared to the coalbed areas of Lackawanna and Luzerne Counties, where plant fossils are abundant.  Fossils associated with coal deposits include scale trees, scouring rushes, rushes, ferns, and seed ferns.  Excellent examples of some of these can be seen at the Anthracite Museum in Scranton.

Marine fossils are rare in this area because the Lock Haven Formation was deposited under presumed low salinity of the water and and also because of the rapid influx of muds and silts being delivered from the nearby Catskill delta.

The Lock Haven Formation is found in only a few localities in the Tunkhannock Creek watershed area.  Below are examples of fossilized organisms which might be found in rocks from this formation.  However, it does outcrop in several areas just outside the watershed, notably in Great Bend along the Susquehanna River and in the Meshoppen Creek drainage.

Cyrtospirifer and Ptychomaletoechia are brachiopodsCrinoid stem fragments are common fossils.


Hoskins, D.  1999.  Common Fossils of Pennsylvania (2nd ed.): Pennsylvania Geologic Survey, 4th series.  Educational Series 2, 19 p.

Hoskins, D., J.D. Inners, and J. Harper.  1983.  (1988 reprint).  Fossil Collecting in Pennsylvania.  Pennsylvania Geologic Survey, General Geology Report 40.

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