Buried Treasure at Crossgreen
The remains of Crossgreen shale mine near Uphall
F17021, first published 17th May 2017
Seams of oilshale often contained layers of unproductive blaes, ribs of cement stone, iron-rich nodules and other waste material that had to worked along with the oil shale, brought to the surface, and then dumped at the pithead. Modest bings of this black pit waste still mark the site of some former shale pits, but are gradually disappearing as land is redeveloped or landowners quarry the tips to repair roads or fill in areas of subsidence.
A good part of the pithead tip of the Broxburn Oil Company's Crossgreen mine (which closed 1910) has been excavated in recent years, giving a clean cross section of waste accumulated over a couple of decades of operation. Some unexceptional fossils can be found among the laminated shales while iron-rich nodules can be hammered open to reveal glittering iron pyrites with black specks that might once have been shreds of vegetation or perhaps fish scales. Buried amongst the waste stone there are also occasion relics of the mining operations; pieces of pit timber, bolts, rail spikes, short lengths of rail, and odd pieces of pit hutch.
Above: A cementstone nodule with a beautiful skin of black shiny oilshale.