Saturday, 25 January 2014

Day 4 of the Great Fossil Hunt

It's getting to become a habit this... Friday, head to the coast and look at stones.. To be honest, it's not the worst thing you can do on a Friday.

I had done some more research this week and felt a bit more comfortable in what I should be looking for, I'd also sourced out a new site to visit (15 minutes drive away so easily manageable) and with the low tide being right on lunch time it was a perfect time to get out for a good few hours and so, packing my tools, getting a grunt from the better half as I left the flat (she was busy) I got in the car and headed east for a bit.

Finding the beach was easy, pretty obvious, it looked promising and rocky as I made my way down the pier thingy and I had a decision to make.. To my left was more beach and rocks, to the right 'cliffs'.. So I did what anyone should probably not do and headed straight for the cliffs!

After wee bit of walking over countless stones and rocks I got to the cliffs and settled in a rough area to start looking. I was completely alone and had plenty of time to start breaking things apart. Looking over some of the rocks I worked out there was quite a bit of shale around which was handy as this is the best stuff to find fossil material in. Rock after rock felt the wrath of my hammer and chisel as I turned ancient stones into dust... OK, perhaps not, I'm no dwarf but I broke enough rocks to feel that I'd made a sizable dent in the worlds rock population.

I found a great bit of shale which clearly had plant markings through it, breaking it into layers showed more and more and I actually had to throw away some of it.. Wow, my fourth day and I'm throwing away fossils.. Though to be fair, it was pretty boring lines which indicated plant matter but not much else. After a while I stood up to survey the damage... Oops...

Yeah so a fair few rocks broken up, but plenty around and not near any walkers or dogs (seriously no-one would take a dog this way) so I didn't feel bad about the mess.. It'd be washed away in a couple of hours anyway. Just after I took this picture I noticed another rock with a rock inside it... Looking closer it was clearly.. something... so I broke the 'inner' rock out and was well chuffed.. a very clear fossil of what I have now found out is a calamite ( a bamboo like tree thingy.  My best find to date and really if I do say so, not bad looking for 330 million years old. It's about the thickness of a wrist and about two and a half inches long.. No bad!

After a while I finished up and took the 'best bits' back home with me to wash up and clean to see if there was anything great about them. Because the shale is dark it's not the easiest to see but you can see what I found below. Only one other thing I've been able to is a big leave from a cordaites (

So here's the other bits that came out OK. I may give it a break for a week or two before heading back out but I now know I've got a 'goto' spot for stuff, even if it is still just 'plant material' but just learning the rocks and being able to identify them is half the battle (the other half being lucky enough to open the rock at the right spot and for there to be anything in it to start with).

Yay old stuff!

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