Packing Methods for Fossil Shipping

PLEASE DON'T DROP MY BOX OF ROCKS!: PACKING METHODS FOR DOMESTIC AND INTERNATIONAL FOSSIL SHIPPING

Hunt, ReBecca
Department of Geosciences
Augustana College
Rock Island, IL 61201

In March and April of 2006, Augustana College shipped fossils to two separate destinations, on either side of the North American Continent. The holotype specimen of Cryolophosaurus from the Lower Jurassic Hanson Formation of Antarctica was sent to Research Casting International in Trenton, Ontario (Canada). Casting of a new vertebral column based on specimens recently prepared since its original casting in 2002 was the goal of this shipment. Several of the twenty-one vertebrae sent have very thin and delicate post- and prezygapophyses preserved, and the safe arrival of these specimens was critical. A Labyrinthodont skull from the Triassic Fremouw Formation of Antarctica was also shipped (domestically) during this time to Washington State for collaborative research purposes. This amphibian skull is extremely thin in areas and required extra attention in packing to insure no damage would occur during the shipping process. The safe packing of these vertebrate fossils for international and domestic transport was vital for the future study of these remains.

The fossils were packed in boxes constructed of ½ inch foamcore board with an interior of G-60 foam to help contour to the shapes of the individual fossils. The delicate and less robust vertebra of Cryolophosaurus along with the Labyrinthodont skull were enclosed within individual clam-shell cradles constructed of a/c foam, ethafoam and plaster. The remaining fossils were wrapped in a protective soft sheet of Tyvek to act as an inert moisture barrier and placed within the box, to be followed by custom cut G-60 foam supports. The boxes were then placed within the interior of custom built crates for shipment. These crates were transported to their individual destinations by a chain shipping company. This process and the products used will be explained in this talk.

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Last updated: March 16, 2018

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