Sunday, January 25, 2009

Note On Kentucky's Geology

Kentucky, like other places around the world, has it's share of stereotypes. There's "Horse Capital of the World," (that one's self-proclamed), "Basketball's their main sport," and my favorite "Hillbilly Hell." I'm not a native Kentuckian, in fact, I've only lived here for the past eight to nine years. It's a nice place. Despite what my favorite name for it is, the nature here is breathtaking. We have all four seasons, if you know what I mean. It doesn't snow too much or too little. However, what makes Kentucky so attractiev to me besides the nature and abundance of wild-life, is it's geology.

Okay, Kentucky is also called the Bluegrass State or Commonwealth depending on who you talk to. No, the grass is NOT actually blue naturally. It has to do with the fact that Kentucky sits on an abundance of Limestone, a Sedimentary rock. See where I'm going with this? That's right. Where there's Sedimentary rock, there's also fossils!!! Kentucky is loaded with them!!! What kind, you ask? Here they are and you tell me what they are:

Those are a few of the abundant fossils in Kentucky. However, no Dinosaur fossils have been found in Kentucky, why? The reason is most of the rocks are older than the dinosaurs. Most fossils in Kentucky are Paleozoic fossils from the Cambrian, Ordovician, Silurian, and so forth. So although Kentucky has potential for fossils, doesn't mean you find what always find what your looking for unless your looking for Trilobites or something. So, if you want a dinosaur, then you'll have to look for places with exposed rocks from the Mesozoic era. But, that doesn't mean you'll find something. So, don't get your hopes up. And, NO, DO NOT go hunting for fossils on Private Property. That's NOT okay.

Anyway, as for the "Bluegrass" thing, the reason is that Limestone is full of calcium which is absorbed by the grass and when the sunlight hits it at a certain time and angle, the grass give off a blueish tint. In fact, this is the secret to Kentucky's strong Thoroughbred horses that race in the Derby at Churchhill Downs in Louisville. The horses get strong, dense bones from eating the calcium rich grass. That's Kentucky for you.

For more information on Kentucky's geology, go to the University of Kentucky's Geological Survey site at


Glendon Mellow said...

Great photos and article, Raptor!

Raptor Lewis said...

Thanks, Glendon! I got a few of them thanks to Google search and the University of Kentucky.

Naveed said...

Groovy stuff Raptor! The fact there are no dinosaur fossils there reminds me of my state, Oregon. As far as I know Oregon has only been able to claim one dinosaur fossil, and the rest are from the Paleogene period from my understanding.

errrrrrrin said...

Hi! Thanks for linking to the Houston Museum of Natural Science in your blogroll! Just wanted to let you know we also have a blog - - where we often post paleo news from our dig site in North Texas.

Fossil Detective said...

You can also find invertebrate marine fossils of the Paleozoic era in Kentucky at (Geology club in Louisville) and more pictures at

Nice blog, good luck in your studies.

Raptor Lewis said...

Fossil Detective- Thanks! :)

errrin- No problem! :) The HMNS is one of my favorite Museums ever!! :D

Ordovician Meander said...

Here they are and you tell me what they are:

The first and third pics are probably Ordovician rynchonellids and strophonemids, respectively.

The second is an ichno- zoophycus. Probably from the Miss.

A minor note: Cambrian rocks aren't exposed at the surface in Ky.

BTW, great post. Glad that I found your blog, and will check in frequently.