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Matoaka Beach - 12-02-18


rockfishmatt

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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!

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Edited by rockfishmatt
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Some nice finds there. :)

Love the different pectinids. 

Good luck with the shark's teeth next time. 

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Great finds! Although you can clearly have some success beachcombing at Matoaka, I’ve personally found that the most efficient method is digging through the massive fallen chunks of cliff. Those things are absolutely chalk full of invertebrates. That’s how I managed to find dozens of huge Chesapectan, as well as a nice Ecphora that I cautiously excavated. Now, I’m not sure what method you used, but if you didn’t dig through the cliff falls then I definitely suggest giving it a shot next time. Should increase both quantity and quality of your haul. Always love to see reports from Matoaka. It’s truly a unique Calvert site. Thanks for sharing! 

 

Hoppe hunting!

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Those are some wonderful finds! I especially like your snail shell! Looks like a successful trip!

 

I'm nodding in agreement with Hoppe Hunting's advice to dig through the cliff falls. The first few times I went to Matoaka, I didn't know about digging, and I had barely any finds. I marked Matoaka off as a poor fossil site, but then I saw what people were getting out of the cliff falls. There are some beautiful shells hidden there! 

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Thanks for the tips on the cliff falls!  I was concerned about breaking the law given you can't dig in the cliffs.  I guess the falls are ok.  There were some HUGE pieces of gray pieces of clay that had fallen before I got there.  Is that what I should look for next time?  Also, any tips on finding sharks teeth?

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As a property owner of cliffside property please don't just go digging in the cliff falls blindly.  At best it is borderline legal if the slump is high and dry and often it is dangerous since those spots are inherently unstable.  While the falls may not be "attached to the cliff" they are often still part of the cliff and do provide a barrier to further erosion that often lasts months depending on the matrix and size when left undisturbed.   I'd say it's one thing to pick a shell or two or a tooth off the outside of a fresh fall or pick through the loose stuff from a small slump that is going to wash out with the next tide but quite another to go breaking clay boulders blindly looking for a fossil or go climbing up larger slumps shovel in hand.    I say this not to point at anyone in particular but because I've witnessed people halfway up 20 foot slumps with shovels digging 4 feet deep holes and tossing the material on the beach thinking they will find the "big one" and claiming to anyone that will listen "it's legal because the slump fell off the cliff". 

 

My advice if you want to be responsible is if you can't pick it up freely with your hand or dig it up off the beach with a small spade from the actual material beneath your feet then leave it be.  Admitted personal caveat to this... a larger vertebrate fossil that is clearly visible prior to excavating AND in a large boulder or in the clay beneath your feet AND below the high tide mark AND most importantly you know what the heck your are doing in terms of collecting and preserving it. 

 

As an aside the only tools I ever bring with me if I bring them at all are a small metal rake for walking/balance and grabbing larger fossils from the waves or giving a quick surface rake to a loose fall, a small walking stick/scoop for grabbing fossils out of the waves, and a small flat head screw driver to pop tooth or whatnot off the surface of a boulder or the sand on a frozen day.  That's it. No shovels, no screens, no real digging ever and my collection is substantial by most standards.

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Here’s another find from yesterday at Matoaka.  This piece of conglomerate has a lot of shell, sand, and clay.  Notice the large piece protruding on the right hand side.  Possibly a piece of bone.  Afraid to break it apart.  I don’t have a drill.

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How were the leaves? I made a trip to the cliffs about a week ago and everything was blown out which was nice but I needed a rake to sift through the inch of leaf cover... beautiful finds though!

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A lot of willow oak leaves.  You’re right, a rake is useful.  A lot of little shell pieces as well which made shark tooth searching difficult.  I need to get out there on a really low tide

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FossilsAnonymous
22 hours ago, racerzeke said:

How were the leaves? I made a trip to the cliffs about a week ago and everything was blown out which was nice but I needed a rake to sift through the inch of leaf cover... beautiful finds though!

When do the leaves normally disappear? Winter is my best time to fossil hunt really and they always disappear at different times.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Matoaka is awesome! Digging in the falls there is perfectly fine as long as you are on their property and have paid the 5 bucks you don't have to worry about the high tide line.  Just don't dig into the cliff face directly and youre legal.  Don't bury yourself though. Safety first. 

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