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Fossils of Ohio - The Devonian Silica Shale - Information, Trilobite Fossil Hunting Site, Tips and Fossil Identification.

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Sample of Fossils found in the Silica Shale

Similar Devonian Triolbite Collecting Location:
New York Devonian: 18 Mile Creek, Lake Erie Cliffs, Penn Dixie Paleontological Center.

Eldredgeops (Phacops) Facts and Information
Everything you wanted to know about these trilobites!

The Trilobite Gallery
See and Learn about Different Trilobites



Fossil Park Area; Sylvania, Lucas Co., OH

~ 370 - 400 Million Years Old
Middle Devonian
Silica Formation

This is your place for Devonian fossil hunting, including Trilobites and Brachiopods!

Trilobite Fossil Hunting in the Devonian of Ohio - Fossil Hunting Information and Identification

View of the collecting area
>"This shows fossil hunters hunting in the Hanson quarry. This quarry is now closed to collectors. As one can see, the Silica formation is nicely exposed."

Searching for fossils
"This is a quarry at Paulding. Amy is searching the Silica shale for Devonian fossils."

Brachiopod and coral fossils from ohio devonian
"Brachiopods are by far the most common fossil. They come in many different shapes and sizes."

View a sample of my fossils found in the silica formation

About the Silica formation fossils:

In the middle Devonian, a vast sea covered Ohio. The sea floor was very muddy, creating a remarkable place for fossilization to occur. The Silica Formation in northwest Ohio represents this marine environment from the middle Devonian; it leaves a well-preserved and abundant fossil record. The preservation of these Devonian fossils are among the best in the world. In this formation, one can find the abundant remains of corals, brachiopods, echinoderms, and trilobites (especially Eldredgeops - formerly Phacops) . These exquisitely preserved fossils are found in soft, gray shale, and quickly weather free from matrix.

The Silica formation is only accessible through quarries in the area. Access to these quarries is restricted, however, the Hanson quarry provides spoil from the Silica formation for a Fossil Park in the area, where people are welcomed to collect.

Sylvania, Ohio
entrance sign for Fossil Park in Ohio

A few employees of the Hanson Quarry came up with an idea to allow the public access to these famous Devonian collecting grounds. They came up with an idea that eventually became Fossil Park!

Fossil Park is open to the public.
In the park, truckloads of Silica Shale from nearby quarries are dumped into a few large areas, where the public can simply hand split the shale, and find the same fossils one can find in the quarries.

Visitors are guaranteed to find brachiopods and corals from the ancient Devonian reef. The more dedicated collectors can find parts of Trilobites, and sometimes even whole ones.

The Fossil Park is a GREAT place to bring kids!

Fossil Park in Ohio Fossil Park Ohio
Fossil Park in Ohio - Devonian Fossils

  • The park has two dig sites and a trail around the quarry. It is also staffed with knowledgable people that will help identify your finds.

  • Families and Groups find lots of fossils, mainly brachiopods and corals.

  • No tools are allowed to split the shale. If you want to split, get a larger rock and pound the smaller rock with it, like a caveman!



  • Address: 5675 Centennial Road, Slvania, OH 43560

    Fossil Park is directly across the road from the Mayberry Square Plaza

    ***Important go to the address above, not to the Main Olander Park address, Olander Park is not near the Fossil Park.

  • GPS Coordinates: 41 42.8" N, 83 44.6" W


  • Fossil Park is open DAILY from the 1st weekend in April to the 2nd weekend in November
    Read the Fossil Park sign in the image above for more information.

    Fossil Park is only staffed on the Weekends during the spring and summer months.

Recommended Fossil Equipment:
No equipment is allowed in Fossil Park. A box and towels are recommended to store the fossils in.

Although they have shade, restrooms, and water, it still can get VERY hot in the summer. Dress appropriately and bring items such as a hat, sunscreen, extra water, and a snack.

Recommended Books for Fossils of Ohio:
** PLEASE DESCRIBE THIS IMAGE ** Fossils of Ohio (Bulletin 70)
by Rodney M. Feldmann (ed)
Copyright 1996
State of Ohio Div. of Geological Survey

This book is a MUST for anyone collecting in Ohio or nearby Devonian formations. It has detailed descriptions and images of 100's of fossils one can find throughout Ohio, including the Silica formation. It can be ordered through the link above.

Silica Shale Book: "Strata and Megafossils of the Middle Devonian Silica Formation"
Robert V. Kesling and Ruth B. Chilman

The FRIENDS, University of Michigan, Museum of Paleontology have reprinted this original Silica Shale book. It was originally printed in 1975.
This book is a must for anyone with an interest in the Silica shale. It is incredibly detailed with TONS of images.
Click here for ordering information. The link has ordering info and sample pictures from the book.
A Sea without Fish: Life in the Ordovician Sea of the Cincinnati Region (Life of the Past)
Life of the Past series: Richard Arnold Davis, David L. Meyer
Copyright 2009, Indiana University Press

This book gives a comprehensive view of life in the Ordovician seas. This wonderful introduction to the geology and paleontology of life in Ohio 450 million years ago is full of illustrations. If you have ever wondered what exactly the Ordovician of Ohio and the surrounding states looked like, this is your window!

Links for Ohio Fossil Websites:

The Olander Park System: Fossil Park
Official Website for Fossil Park. Go here for more specific information, inlcuding holiday hours, field trip booking, etc...

Crinus - "Fossils" website
This is not a specific site on the fossils of Ohio, but it has incredibly detailed images of countless invertebrate fossils, including fossils from the silica shale.