Sigillaria fossil, Wooster, Ohio

One of the best things that can happen to a fossil is to get strained, and in such a way that the fundamental symmetry (if it once had it) is systematically altered. This is what has happened here. The distorted angles give insight regarding shear strain of not only the fossil, but the rock in which it was enclosed.

When I was a freshman at the College of Wooster, several friends and I would go down to a local quarry (old brick works quarry), that had steep high walls.  We would (dangerously) climb the walls, using ropes and uncommon sense.  Equal fun was breaking into big blocks of sandstone, looking for fossil freshwater shells.  Some blocks a meter on a side would keep us busy for an hour or so.  One day I uncovered this puzzling piece, which I recognized as a fossil plant of some type.  I enjoyed dental-picking away at it, to bring it out of the matrix to some extent.  I like the fact that the delicate texture is still preserved.  I felt that finding this was a good start as a new geo major. 

Age & Formation
Mississippian sandstone, ~340 Ma.