Rucks' Pit, Ft. Drum, FL- August 12-13, 2005
Even though the water has been high at Rucks' Pit, we decided it was time to lease the track hoe to collect some of our inventory for the Tucson show.   We started early on Saturday morning attempting to figure out a logical approach in isolating our dig area from the main pit.   Since the water level in the pit was above the clam layer that we needed to collect, any attempt would require running pumps to keep the water level down.   After talking it through, we decided to dam up both ends of the trench, dig out the organic debris, dig the trench down through the clam layer and then pump out the water to see what to do next.
Determining "How" and "Where" to dig.
Overseeing the work.
Clearing the ditch.
The ditch cleared of growth.
After finding the clam zone, we removed the overburden from the clams and set up home base. We used a 2" pump to keep the water at a workable level and a 1.5" pump as a mining tool to remove sand and debris. Both Saturday's and Sunday's temperature hovered around 95 and with the humidity near 100% in the pit, some water was left in the hole for frequent body submersions.
The overburden removed to near the clam layer.
Office and cafeteria area for the weekend.
Due to disturbing many of their homes, we had several friends join us for the weekend. One small alligator kept a close watch on us both days and many frogs and snakes kept showing up. Day two started out with a full hole of water and both the 3" and 2" pump were put to work to get the water out.
A friendly alligator that kept an eye out for us this weekend.
Water needed to be pumped out before day 2 began.
Hosing down the overburden until the hole is pumped out.
Many nice clams can be found in a layer in the overburden.
While working the clam zone, we determined that only the south end of the hole we had dug contained any calcite, so we concentrated our efforts there. The north end contained few clams with even less calcite. We had hoped to find a softer zone in the rock that we had previously found about twenty feet further to the west. As luck would have it, the soft zone had not continued and the concentration of clams had also lessened to about half of what we had hoped.
A 3" & 2" pump up top and 1.5" pump in the hole.
The area collected of clams.
At the end of the weekend, we had done well but not as well as our previous dig at this location. Knowing the track hoe would be coming back at 5pm on Sunday to replace the road that we had dug up, it was time to pack up. Just as soon as the road was replaced and the pumps, equipment and rocks were packed, a huge thunderstorm rolled in. Lightning was cracking all around and the wind was howling. We got out just in time to avoid the worst of the storm. This ended another great collecting trip in an effort to collect these beautiful, calcite-filled, fossilized clams .
The process of wrapping and packing specimens.
Replacing the road for the quarrying operations.
I thought that I would post a couple of pictures of specimens collected on this weekend. Many fine specimens can be found at Rucks' pit. We also found a fossilized whale jaw bone and vertebrae along with many well calcified ark shells.
"Junior" size clam in matrix.
"Adult" size clam in matrix.