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I_gotta_rock    39
I_gotta_rock

Last week I visited one of my favorite spots for fossil shells. Out near St. Leonard, MD (Calvert Cliffs) there is a spot where a landslide carried matrix loaded with shells out into the bay. Today, all that remains is a shelf of packed sand visible only at very low tide, and a layer of shells -mostly broken- on the bay floor. You never know what you'll find, though. This time I found more than two dozen different species, most of them withe specimens in good enough condition to be keepers.

IMG_2659.jpg.6680fc01893f1a70b2f04562eb6ba6b1.jpgIMG_2496.thumb.jpg.b9cbbb9f971ba9b7432de9462ae187b8.jpg

 

Back home in Delaware, I sorted everything out. My collection is big enough that I try to keep the best examples and not bring home bucket loads. I'm running out of shelves, and for the sake of domestic tranquility I don't overload the house with boxes all in one shot. In this case, however, I did bring home bucket loads. I had another agenda.

 

I started volunteering at the Delaware Museum of Natural History's Collections and Research Dept., which prides itself on its Mollusk collection, a few months ago. They were looking for a volunteer to sort, classify and catalogue their Florida fossil shells. Turns out that they had exactly 3 fossil shells from Maryland, all of which I donated last fall. This month, both the Collection Manager and I are fixing that problem. 

 

I spent yesterday morning at home cleaning the first batch of shells and picking out the nicer ones to bring along, then spent a quiet, happy afternoon in the cool, shady archives identifying every piece. Eventually, it will all go not only into their private database, but a searchable online database with detailed photos for other researchers.IMG_1267.thumb.jpg.5c2c83124ee32db28e5210a1411d400d.jpgIMG_1268.thumb.jpg.348db3f4f57141ebaeffb0f803358efa.jpgIMG_1272.thumb.jpg.3eaf1fc8bffe1b0a072f077afc1f2d22.jpg

 

Now to go scrape away more matrix lumps and see what else I can find!

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RJB    357
RJB

Looks like a nice way to spend ones time.    Ive only been there once and it seemed to me that everything in those cliffs were about to fall apart?  

 

RB

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Fossildude19    3,498
Fossildude19

Nice finds! :) 

Thanks for posting them. 

Glad you are remedying the lack of Maryland shells in the collection!

Regards,

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I_gotta_rock    39
I_gotta_rock
37 minutes ago, RJB said:

Looks like a nice way to spend ones time.    Ive only been there once and it seemed to me that everything in those cliffs were about to fall apart?  

 

RB

Yes, they are. But, the cliffs themselves are private property and off-limits anyway. It's not only discourteous, it is illegal and rather dangerous. The best way to find shells that won't fall apart is to find the ones that did not fall apart - they are already out of the cliff, on the beach or in the water. I found a complete pair of fossilized quahog clam valves (You can they are fossilized by tell by the soft texture caused by millions of years in acidic sand, and being partially caked in a block of sand is a pretty good indication, too;)) sitting on the beach just as pretty as you please with some vey modern barnacles growing on them! The spot I collected matrix from is hit or miss. In some areas the shells are all crumbled bits of debris that broke up when the shells were reasonably new. In others, I can find some intact specimens and even excavate the occasional really fragile one. I have maybe half a dozen complete pairs of bivalves from this trip so far. Found another one last night. More pictures when I'm done working through my matrix lumps! 

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I_gotta_rock    39
I_gotta_rock
4 hours ago, SailingAlongToo said:

@I_gotta_rock

 

Have you checked out this website/database? 

 

http://neogeneatlas.org/

 

I find it pretty useful.

I use that a lot for the Florida collection. It mentions a few things for Calvert Cliffs, but only in as far as it lasted to the Pliocene/Pleistocene and is found further south. Petuch published a good book on the Chesapeake Miocene, but the shells illustrated or described are all the index fossils and his own new species descriptions. I had to go through five different publications on or offline to find one particularly pretty and fragile shell. I'm really hoping that the FF database takes off. It could really be useful. As it is now, if I try to Google information about places where I'm hunting, I frequently get my own posts! For Calvert Cliffs, I'm digging through actual books for a lot of it. There is a wold of information out there for those who still know what print is, but it can be hard to find!

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I_gotta_rock    39
I_gotta_rock

Busy! Busy!  I've spent the last month prepping, identifying, and photographing this donation, one afternoon each week. This list is still growing, but so far we're up to 34 species! The next step is posting them on the FF collections section so that the next person doesn't go quite as mad as I did with the identifications!

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caldigger    435
caldigger

I gotta tell you Heather, your work table is way too organized, there must be something wrong with you.

 

I have drawers in my fossil cabinet that look just like that.  What did people do before those little white boxes were invented?! They are the best things.

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I_gotta_rock    39
I_gotta_rock

oh, that's just a volunteer workstation where I set up to identify that trayful. THIS is my personal workspace...

IMG_1402.JPG

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FossilDAWG    1,835
FossilDAWG

That's more like it!! :P

 

Don

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caldigger    435
caldigger

Oh ya, now we're talkin!   A healthy work station is not being able to see the table surface.

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