WEST VIRGINIA TRIBUNE
KEYSER W VA
OCTOBER 25, 1879
"It is said that workmen in tunnel No 2, George's Creek and Cumberland Railroad, Mon discovered the ribs and leg bones of some large animal of unknown species. The head and rest of the skeleton have not been found. The bones are said to be as large as those of an elephant."
Garrett County History
Through fossils and fossil imprints, geologists have been able to establish and name various time periods of Earth's history. The various Eras, which are subdivided into time Periods, are Precambrian, Paleozoic, Mesozoic, and Cenozoic, with Precambrian as the oldest dating back 575 million years. The oldest rocks in Garrett County are of the Devonian time Period of the Paleozoic Era, and are about 400 million years old. Majority of the rock beds which contain the coal seams are about 320 million years old. The youngest topographic features which may eventually become rocks are about 25,000 years old and are the result of the last great ice sheet which moved down across eastern North America.
There are abundant marine and plant fossils, along with fossil imprints, which can be found in Garrett County. Excellent examples of marine fossils can be found in the loosely consolidated limestone deposit in the Underwood area. It contains beautiful fossils of Brachiopod (Articulata), Mollusea (Cephalopoda), Arthropoda (Trilobita), and Echinodermata (Crinoidea).
Plant fossils are found in sandstone formations adjacent to the coal seams. Imprints of Lycopoda can be seen in the sand stone formation at Swallow Falls and occassionally whole pieces of Lapidodendron can be found in other places.
Rare imprints or tracks of ancient creatures can be seen in Garrett County, but are almost impossible to find. One set on top of Backbone Mountain has been the object of speculation for a century and a half. A simple description of the tracks in the white sandstone is that they are about four inches long and were made by a creature having an 18 to 24 inch stride. Locally, the imprints were called panther tracks and it was thought that they were made by an ancient creature that was the ancestor of the panther.
Following the Law of Superposition, the sandstone on top of Backbone Mountain is part of the Allegany and Pottsville formation; this makes the white sandstone over 300 million years old. Judging by identical tracks observed in other states for the same time period, the creature which made the tracks in the sandstone was probably a sea scorpion (Euryptorida).
'Stone Coal' is the name which early settlers gave to the bituminous coal which was found in the Garrett County area. For many years it was only used for blacksmithing.According to Brown's Miscellaneous Writings, the first coal mine in the area was located north of Grantsville towards Salisbury near the MD/PA boundary line.
This was from the Garrett County Historical Society Museum, a page found on the Deepcreeklake website. It's very interesting. I recommend to have a peak at it. http://www.deepcreeklake.com
(Courtesy of Carol Vivier)