Tuesday, November 18, 2014


Several years ago, I decided to explore a local creek. Since it was winter, it seemed like a good time, with the chance of running into snakes being rather remote.

It was the same creek where I came across the river otter tracks I talked about in another post. The tracks of a river otter were not the only interesting thing I discovered there. Almost immediately upon reaching the creek, I started observing fossilized shells in the bed of the creek. As it turned out, the creek was loaded with them.

This picture is of the first beautiful fossilized shell I picked up. It sits on my desk to this day, a reminder of the experience of discovering all those tiny fossils. There is something amazing about the realization that yours are the first eyes that have ever seen something from so long ago.

Over time, the creek had cut down into a layer of hardened mud that was once an "ancient" seafloor. Freeze/thaw seasonal cycles and hydraulic events related to heavy rains continue to cause the breakdown and dissemination of the fossils. Parts of the creek put me in mind of a sluice or luge track.

When you see one small piece of "rock" like this, you begin to realize how abundant ocean life was at that time. Sometimes it is difficult to determine if you are looking at the impression of an animal that has completely disintegrated or whether you are looking at an actual animal that has fossilized. Even the holes that were left are sites where shells and other sea life were located.

To be continued...

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