Thursday, January 10, 2013

Lummi Island Ferry and Fossils

A trip to Lummi Island involves a ferry trip across Hale Passage between Lummi Island and Lummi Peninsula. The ferry is operated by Whatcom County. A commitment of resources and a level of expectation of service that has eaten up many hours of County Council meetings. The biggest latest challenge was paying a lease to the Lummi Tribe as the ferry landing on the mainland side is on the Lummi Reservation. This along with a variety of required safety upgrades and dock improvements has driven the cost of the ferry ride with car to $13 round trip and $7 per person round trip. The County Road fund covers 55 45% of the cost.
Lummi Island Ferry landing at Gooseberry Point
While waiting for the ferry I tried my hand at finding fossils in the limestone rip rap rock at the dock. My fossil finding skills are rather poor so I am in need of practice.
Whitish boulders of limestone

Crinoid stem in limestone

Muscle shell and crinoid fragments?

Crinoid fragments and belmenite?

I don't know where these particular boulders came from. There are limestones with similar fossil assemblies in Whatcom County, but it would be a bit of a haul by truck to the ferry dock. Another source would be via barge from a quarry in the islands of British Columbia or perhaps from a limetsone quarry in the San Juans. Ages of these limestones are very old - roughly 250 million years. If I knew my fossils better maybe I could nail that date down a bit better and the source of the limestone rip rap.
The Lummi Ferry and dock on the Lummi Island side


MIke Huggins said...

From Photo No. 5, I would guess stick-like bryozoan instead of a belemnite. I'd also be guessing Carboniferous to Permian, if there are any local sources of those age rocks up there.

Dan McShane said...

Thanks Mike. I'm dang near useless at fossil identification, but I was skeptical of the belemnite call as I was fairly sure the source of these limestones was too old. Indeed, the San Juan Island sources and the Whatcom County sources are Carboniferous to Permian.

Sam Crawford said...

On an almost completely irrelevant note, the county road fund covers 45% of the cost of the Lummi Island ferry (but some years that has crept higher). The 55% is the target for 'farebox recovery' (WCC 10.34.030).

So put that Permian trivia in your Carboniferous pipe and smoke it!

Dan McShane said...

Correction noted Sam. Thanks for noting the inversion. The last thing I would want is to too deep in the funding of the wing walls and M&O - that's your job.