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Found 55 results

  1. Matoaka Beach cabins

    Enjoyed a nice walk at matoaka and found my biggest tooth yet.
  2. Birthday Fossil Hunt 12/21/18

    So the 21'st was my birthday and we wanted to go out. It was supposed to be the lowest tide of the year due to the position of the moon, and that is what we prepared for. However, by the time we arrived Matoaka had been swollen by rain and was producing nothing, so we went to Brownies instead, expecting a high tide. It was really quite annoying because we had expected to be able to walk along the cliffs as we pleased. We were not able too, unfortunately. Brownies produced a few really nice smaller teeth but that was really it. Unfortunate.
  3. 2018 Recap: Gotta love the Hastalis!

    Now that the final fossil hunt of 2018 is over, it's safe to make a recap of this incredible year. This year is so special. Fossil Hunting has developed into my favorite thing in the world. From uncertain 5 tooth hunts to euphoria inducing 200 tooth hunts, 2018 had it all. I was introduced to this forum as well! Thank you all you wonderful people for helping me amass knowledge, teaching me of civility and ways to express myself, and letting me have fun and drool over other's awesome fossils! My tooth spotting skills have improved, very much, and so has my knowledge. Only a couple of big teeth so far, but a meg next year right ladies and gentlemen?! This is a recap of my posts this year, Enjoy.
  4. Matoaka Beach 11/07/18

    Hi all, I finally made the trek to Matoaka Beach, a fossil collecting site along the Calvert Cliffs on the Western Shore of the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland. The beach is accessible to the public for $5 per person per day. Once we arrived, we reported to the front office where the property owner and his adorable newborn daughter were happy to collect our fee and give us access to the beach along with advice on how to best hunt the grounds. He advised us to head North (left of the entrance), which was what I had also read online. Apparently, the farther North you head, the better the fossils tend to be. So my dad and I made our way down the stairs to the foot of the cliffs, and began searching. The beach is very wide, so it's difficult to decide where to walk. I was finding fragments of Chesapectan shells left and right, but nothing quite worth keeping. But then, after maybe 5 minutes of hunting, I looked down at my feet and saw a large, complete, Ecphora staring back at me. I could hardly believe it. At a site where invertebrates dominate the matrix, a nice Ecphora is just about equivalent to finding a Megalodon tooth. And yes, I am aware that Meg teeth can be and have been found at this site before, but the find that I was after that day was certainly Ecphora. It was a gorgeous specimen, much larger and more complete than any other I'd found before. And there it was, just laying out in the open, a couple hundred yards from the entrance. I excitedly showed my dad the find, and promptly continued hunting, although I knew there was likely no beating what I had just found at the very beginning of the day. As I walked farther North, I marveled at the cliffs, which were absolutely chalk full of invertebrate fossils. It was incredible, and unlike anything I'd ever seen before. I kept finding crushed shells and small pieces of fossilized coral, but nothing spectacular. That is, until I stumbled upon the section of the beach where many huge chunks of the cliffs had fallen. I decided to look for large shells sticking out of the cliff falls, and very quickly discovered the best method for finding fossils at Matoaka. Immediately, I began finding giant Chesapectan every couple of inches in the cliff falls. After unearthing about a dozen, I decided to head North again to see if I could find another similar section. I walked at least a mile farther and found next to nothing, so I turned around and headed back towards the digging site. When I arrived, I saw that my dad has discovered the falls and was digging through them just as I had been. We both set down our gear and decided to spend the rest of our day there carefully excavating shells from the matrix. This was certainly different than the fossil hunting I've done in the past. It felt more like the traditional "dig site" hunting that most people think of when they think of a paleontologist or archaeologist. It was really cool. At one point, I saw a familiar spiral structure just poking out of one of the falls, and quickly recognized it as a small Ecphora. I plopped myself down on the ground next to it and spent the next 20 or so minutes cautiously excavating it. I foolishly forgot to bring a digging kit, so I resourcefully used broken fragments of sturdy shells around me to dig out the specimen. Although I chipped off a few pieces of it, I managed to extract it from the matrix mostly intact. With that, we headed back towards the entrance. We decided to sift for a bit to try for some shark teeth, and eventually I found one and my dad found three. Matoaka is unrivaled for invertebrate fossils along the Cliffs, but it's definitely not a top spot for teeth. Overall, I was incredibly pleased with my first trip to Matoaka Beach. From the friendly owners to the beautiful scenery and wildlife and the fantastic fossil finds, Matoaka Beach is a must for any fossil hunter in the DMV area. We ended up finding a ton of Chesapectan, ranging from "itty bitty" nearly the size of my hand, some stunning Ecphora, fossilized coral and barnacles, some Turritella, and a few shark teeth as well. I already can't wait to go back to Matoaka. Thanks for reading my report. Hoppe Hunting!
  5. Matoaka Beach - 12-02-18

    Took a trip to Matoaka Beach for the first time today. Alot of bivalves, barnacles, couple pieces of coral, and one snail. Here's a pic! No sharks teeth but I will keep trying! IMG_1322.HEIC
  6. Ecphora Study

    Ecphora Study
  7. Tooth ID

    Hello. I found this tooth today at Matoaka and wanted to get a different perspective than mine. This tooth seems way old for the Choptank formation. First, it seems like a Paleocene tooth snuck in to a Miocene formation. To me, it seems more like otodus obliqqus than hastalis. Reason? Cusps. My tooth has more pronounced, albeit worn down cusps than any I've seen on hastalis. All i'm trying to say is that it is very different and uncommon and would like to know what it is. Tooth.
  8. Shell Shocked at Matoaka

    Calvert Cliffs has been a popular place lately and I hesitated to post one more trip report this week, but as I look for other kinds of things, I decided I'd share. I have been told on several occasions that the cabins aren't worth much. All they have are shells. as @WhodamanHD put it, "If you like snails, go to Matoaka." Well, yes. That's why I love it so much. Last year I documented at 50 species of mollusk from one spot on the beach, and that's just what I was able to bring home! I returned to the for Independence Day week. and the cliffs did not disappoint! A landslide so recent that there was no sign yet of rain erosion stretched out into the bay just north of the beach. It's a treacherous place to linger and to traverse, but I was banking on the fact that this part off the cliff had done it's falling for now -- I hoped. In other spots, trees dangled precariously over the cliffs. If you ever doubted that this can fall on you, remember this -- I'm pretty sure that the sound of thunder I herd the night we got in was the landslide I worked all week. It only rumbled once, on a windless, rainless evening. The innumerable fallen trees I had to climb over to get to my favorite spot tell the rest of the ongoing story. If you feel a bit of gravel fall own your head, RUN. You were warned. That said, we all know this is an addiction, so I se too work with a screw driver most of the week, chipping away at the loose material at the base that was sitting in the nice, cool water most of the day. On a blisteringly hot day, there's no place I'd rather be! The fall exposed all kinds of things that most folks think I'm a bit silly to carve out - clams, snails, bryozoa, brachiopods, but I love the biodiversity of the place. I chipped away at big blocks during the day, until it got too hot, the tide too low and the snack supply diminished. I met the wonderfully astute @FossilsAnonymous out there and loved getting to talk to a fellow hunter who didn't think me crazy for chasing after punky sea shells. I wrapped everything in aluminum foil and carried them in a metal pail for the mile or so trek back to the cabin, where I had my make-shift lab set up on the porch. That's where the real work began. The day before we left was blustery after successive storm cells moved in and out the night before. The beach was totally rearranged from wave action. The bay spewed forth all kinds of things. My daughter and I walked the beach to find whatever had washed ashore. I found 3 Ecphora snails sitting on the beach right at the entrance. A little further down, we met another forum member, whose name I cannot find now in my tag options HI! We spoke for about 10 minutes while she and my daughter dove into the lapping waves to grab the shark teeth that washed up at our feet. How they saw them is beyond me, but they must have collected 30 between them while we were standing there! It's taken me a week since I got home to unwrap and clean most of what I brought home. It took me an entire afternoon of diving into half a dozen texts to identify the few shells that were new to me. One I can still only get down to a genus. (see comments!) So far, I've found at least 8 more species of mollusks to add to my count. My daughter brought home great gobs of shark teeth. We even brought back a few big bone shards, one of which I believe is a (rather rare for this section) dugong bone with scratches that might be a predator's bite marks. There is still a big blocks of matrix in the basement waiting to be carefully picked with the old dental and clay tools. There is still a pile of micro matrix to sift through that I carved out of the larger shells as I prepped them. It's been like opening gifts at Christmas. This Christmas may last for a couple very happy months!
  9. Ecphora Snail

    Unusual coloration. Typically these are red, sometimes with buff patches, but not usually all buff. The broken areas show the buff color to be a layer on the outside as there is red showing through the breakage. Collected from fallen cliff matrix in the bay containing index fossils of the Drum Cliff Member, Shattuck Zone 18. Donated to the Delaware Museum of Natural History
  10. Spinifulgur spiniger

    From the album Calvert Cliffs

    Whelk, Siphonal devexa Aperture view Middle Miocene St. Leonard, Maryland Choptank Formation Drum Cliff Member This is one of four found in the fallen matrix in four days of excavation. It is the only one that was found intact.

    © Heather JM Siple 2018

  11. Siphonalia devexa

    From the album Calvert Cliffs

    Snail, Siphonalia devexa Middle Miocene St Leonard, Maryland Choptank Formation Drum Cliff Member Excavated from landslide material NW of Matoaka beach access in St Leonard, Maryland

    © Heather JM Siple 2018

  12. Perna conradensa

    From the album Calvert Cliffs

    Mussel Shells, Perna condensa Middle Miocene Choptank Formation Excavated from matrix submerged in the Chesapeake Bay, about 10 feet off of the beach at St. Leonard, MD, at low tide. Internal molds from a Miocene mussel bed, left in fine clay and stabilized with Paleobond to prevent disintegration

    © Heather JM Siple 2018

  13. Whelk

    Excavated from landslide material approximately 1/2 mile nw of Matoaka beach access. Found 4 that week. Two survived excavation. This is the only one discovered intact.
  14. Volute Snail

    This specimen was made incredibly soft by the surrounding matrix. The thin veneer of glossy coloration has worn away, but can be seen on this specimen, which came from the same 2 ft x 1ft x 1ft block of matrix that fell out of the cliff into the bay. Half a dozen of these were collected from that and one other small, adjacent block that day, along with more than two dozen other species. Layer originally designated Shattuck Zone 18. Donated to the Delaware Museum of Natural History.
  15. Clam

    Found on beach at low tide. Exact origin unknown. Donated to the Delaware Museum of Natural History.
  16. Tiny little Mako?

    Miocene tooth from a recent Matoaka trip. I realized I didn’t know what it was and I couldn’t let that stand. looks a bit strange but maybe a posterior lower Isurus desori? .8 inches Sorry for bad pictures
  17. Matoaka beach, Choptank FM, Lower Miocene Before I start out, may I just say Matoaka is a beach not known for its shark teeth. Most fossil hunters go there for invertebrates, Which are incredibly abundant. Shark teeth are usually small, a bit worn, and take lots of work to find. The old saying (that I just invented) goes “If you want a chance at a meg, go to brownies. If you want lots of sharks teeth, go to Purse. If you want a snail, go to Matoaka. If you want to be told you can’t walk under a cliff go to Calvert Cliffs state park” I decided that I was going to walk as far as I felt I could and still get back with daylight. For the first stretch I found literally nothing of interest and the nagging fear that I was going home empty handed kicked in. I had set my mind to “Ecphora mode,” because sharks teeth were not gonna be found. The tide was lower than last time, so I got to have a good look at a new slide that looked really promising. I was right, it was littered with Ecphora. Unfortunately, almost none were extractable or worth the extraction. This one was a real heart breaker, big for me but sliced in half and in really loose clay.
  18. Ecphora prep

    Went out and found some Ecphora! Now, time to prep! First one: Size:1.7 inches pre-prep prediction: Not great
  19. Matoaka Ecphora Hunt

    Warning: Lot’s of photos Well hello everyone, Ever since the monster rains we had I’ve been hearing about some great finds at Matoaka possibly hailing from the new slides. @Shark Tooth Hunter Found an awesome meg, @FossilsAnonymous walked out with some nice teeth and a big ole bone, and @I_gotta_rock found Ecphora(e), a plethora of inverts, and another big bone. She also said some person walked out with a chunk of clay bearing a complete cetecean vert and ribs. How could I pass this up? Though visions of megs danced in my head, I went with lower expectations (Matoaka is not the place you go to hunt megs). However, I love a good Ecphora! I was confident I could find a good one or two. Before I got there, I stopped at Jim’s roadside fossil stand. Had a good conversation with him, got to see some epic finds, and learned some good tips. Also bought some bones, ones kinda funny (get it! It’s a complete cetecean humerus! Permission to roll eyes and stop reading granted), and the next is a cetecean skull element, I’m not sure exactly what you call it (not up to date on my cetecean cranial osteology) but it holds the ear bones in it. Also got an Ecphora as a failsafe.
  20. Crassinella Clam

    Collected from matrix deposited in the Chesapeake Bay by landslide. Donated to the Delaware Museum of Natural History.
  21. Miocene Mystery Shell

    Okay, here's a real stumper. I have five specimens of this shell species, all collected on the beach at Matoaka Cabins, but on various trips. They are all about the same proportions, and all irregular shaped, but with the same growth rings and what looks like maybe attachment area. So far, I have looked in Glenn's 1904 volumes, Vokes, Peteuch, Ward, The Calvert Marine Museum web site, a book on Delaware Miocene fossils, and the FF Facebook page. It shouldn't be that hard if I have five of them! Anyone have a clue?
  22. Venus Clam

    Collected from matrix deposited in the Chesapeake Bay by landslide. These shells are extremely fragile and are not to be found loose on the beach. Most disintegrated when I was working the matrix. This specimen was donated to the Delaware Museum of Natural History.
  23. Ark Shell

    Excavated from matrix deposited in the Chesapeake Bay by landslide. Donated to the Delaware Museum of Natural History.
  24. Venus Clam

    Collected from matrix deposited in the Chesapeake Bay by landslide. Donated to the Delaware Museum of Natural History.
  25. Tongue Shell

    Collected from matrix deposited in the Chesapeake Bay by landslide. Donated to the Delaware Museum of Natural History.
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