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jbstedman

Caumsett State Park (ny) And A Geology Lesson

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jbstedman

While spending a long vacation on Long Island, New York, I was desperate to fossil hunt. But, Long Island, the product of glaciers some 20,000 years ago, is largely bereft of fossils. So, I decided to get out in the field for a geology lesson about the work of glaciers. I spent a day at Caumsett State Park on the north shore of Long Island, NY, exploring the evidence left behind by the glaciers. A 2 mile hike brings you to a wonderful section of beach. The first two pictures below show some of the large boulders (so-called “erratics”) on the beach. They were moved by the glaciers from the north (what is now Connecticut) and deposited here. The beach is backed by tall, eroding cliffs. These cliffs have sections/bands of cretaceous sediments that were pushed (long after they were originally deposited) by glacier action from the bottom of Long Island Sound and dropped here – the cretaceous material is the pinkish/reddish material in the cliff side picture (3rd picture below). It is topped by Pleistocene material.

I was guided in my exploration by the geological history of this area and related materials posted on the web by Dr. Bennington at Hofstra University (link to site).

Of course, the fossil bug is never fully suppressed. So, I hunted for fossils in the red shale that has washed down from the cretaceous material (no climbing on, or digging in the cliffs allowed). On rare occasions, the shale and other material have produced some wonderful fossil impressions of plants. I hesitate to include the last 2 pictures below given the newly pinned advice in the fossil id section, but I think I’ve done my homework. Anyway, it may be just my imagination, but I think I found an impression of a leaf in a piece of shale. The last 2 pictures are of this piece of shale. In the 2nd, I doctored the picture to highlight the suspicious areas. Arrows point to possible veins. The circle at the bottom may be the beginning of the stem. The rectangular shape may highlight a leaf edge. Still, don’t hesitate to give me the fossilforum salute – “Looks like a rock to me.”

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MikeD

I have spent some time further up on the north shore near Riverhead admiring the work of the glaciers. I did not know there were any fossils around there. Looks like you may have something there.

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