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Misha

Coral, fossil or modern

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Misha

I have a friend that brought this chunk of coral from the Dominican republic and said that it washed out of a cliff face and he picked it up afterwards. I really do not see any signs of it being a fossil and believe that it is probably modern. What do you think?

Thank you in advance.

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Al Tahan

Im confident that is modern. Google Scleractinian coral and you will see these. 

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Misha
14 minutes ago, Al Tahan said:

Im confident that is modern. Google Scleractinian coral and you will see these.

Thanks!

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Al Tahan

@Misha no problem! And nice profile pic :) 

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Rockwood
31 minutes ago, Al Tahan said:

Im confident that is modern. Google Scleractinian coral and you will see these. 

That puts it on this side of the end Permian. How does it get the rest of the way ?

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Al Tahan
2 hours ago, Rockwood said:

That puts it on this side of the end Permian. How does it get the rest of the way ?

Not 100% sure what you mean. All I could say was it was a modern scleractinian (from the order scleractinia). That’s all I know lol...maybe it’s totally wrong I’m not good with the more modern stuff. If anyone has more to contribute please do. I got it started...so if anyone wants to add useful info and finish it I think @Misha would like it. 

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Rockwood

The fact that it washed out of a cliff face to me is pretty strong evidence that it is a fossil I would think. I can't say that I am able to identify it as an extinct species though.

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Kane

Agree with Don -- here is a fossilized scleractinian coral in situ I encountered from St James Parish, Jamaica:

IMG_4351.JPG

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fossilnut

I'm finding a number of scleractinain coral pieces on the Cherry Grove beach in North Myrtle Beach, SC that I wonder if modern or Pleistocene? Are there modern corals in the waters of South Carolina? Fossils on the beach here range from Cretaceous to Pleistocene eg Ammonites, echinoids, crow shark teeth to great white/megaladon shark teeth to mammoth/mastodon teeth. Any info on corals here would be appreciated. Happy Holidays and thanks.

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Al Tahan
4 hours ago, Rockwood said:

The fact that it washed out of a cliff face to me is pretty strong evidence that it is a fossil I would think. I can't say that I am able to identify it as an extinct species though.

I missed that part where it “washed out of a cliff”....I think the person who collected it may not know the exact details of it. Did he literally extract it from a cliff?? If did he pick it up on a beach near and eroding cliff? The geology is really complicated and twisted in the Caribbean. There is a lot of debate about what actually took place. If he literally pulled it out of a cliff than it probably is a very recent fossil. There is a lot of uplifted coral reefs that make up the carribiean island. If it’s a fossil it’s Eocene or Pliocene. Doesn’t narrow it down much :( ......the details of how it was collected will really help. 

 

I did some digging in my old “geology of North America” notes lol. 

 

Constant accretion from island arcs during the Paleocene and Pliocene uplifted a lot of material that you would see on the coasts. So that means this could be a fossil that is a few million years old and was uplifted into place from the accretion of island arcs several million years ago. So young fossil most likely. 

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Al Tahan
6 minutes ago, fossilnut said:

I'm finding a number of scleractinain coral pieces on the Cherry Grove beach in North Myrtle Beach, SC that I wonder if modern or Pleistocene? Are there modern corals in the waters of South Carolina? Fossils on the beach here range from Cretaceous to Pleistocene eg Ammonites, echinoids, crow shark teeth to great white/megaladon shark teeth to mammoth/mastodon teeth. Any info on corals here would be appreciated. Happy Holidays and thanks.

It’s probably less likely in the Carolinas...in the Caribbean there was uplift of these sea floors and carbonate shelf’s that make up the cliffs and rocks of some of the coast. There is a large reef off shore of NC I think that people scuba for shark teeth. Perhaps some coral has been swept inshore off those fossil shelf’s? I’m not knowledgeable enough to say for sure. Whoever is and expert on the Carolinas I hope they jump in lol. 

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Al Tahan

Maybe I should stick to my New York Devonian roots hahah lol.

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Kane
3 minutes ago, Al Tahan said:

Maybe I should stick to my New York Devonian roots hahah lol.

No, I think you should go to the Dominican Republic and do some winter "field research" at a sunny, warm beach with some pina coladas. :D 

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abyssunder

The specimen looks like it was washed by the see a long time (considering the polished all-around surface) before it was found by your friend. Is there any surface that is not weathered?

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Misha
2 hours ago, Al Tahan said:

did he pick it up on a beach near and eroding cliff?

It was picked up on a beach near a cliff that supposedly had fossils washing out of it.

2 hours ago, abyssunder said:

The specimen looks like it was washed by the see a long time (considering the polished all-around surface) before it was found by your friend. Is there any surface that is not weathered?

All surfaces of it seem to be weathered.

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Misha
3 hours ago, FossilDAWG said:

It's hard to be certain about this particular specimen, but such corals are common in raised Pleistocene and Holocene reefs.  If it came out of a cliff it's quite possible that it is a fossil.  Tectonic activity has elevated coastlines in places all around the  Carribbean.

 

Scleractinian corals appeared in the Triassic and continue to the present.  It's not safe to assume a coral is modern just because it is scleractinian.

 

Don

That is the thing that I am really not sure about he says that he picked it up near a cliff with fossils, so there is really no way to tell if it is a fossil or not.

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Barby

I would vote for fossilized coral-- for 3 reasons: One, you dug it from a cliff-- therefore it was probably not in a modern strata; secomdly , it has the "sheen " of fossilized coral. Modern corals are "chalky" in appearance. Thirdly, the specimen has been tumbled to that smoothness and sheen in rolling tides....probably after fossilization.I'm no expert, but have seen this sort of coral often in the shell pits here inFlorida.

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Misha
8 minutes ago, Barby said:

you dug it from a cliff-

I don't know if it came from a cliff as it was found near one.

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ynot
2 hours ago, Barby said:

One, you dug it from a cliff-- therefore it was probably not in a modern

Said it was found as float on beach, not dug from cliff face.

 

2 hours ago, Barby said:

secomdly , it has the "sheen " of fossilized coral. Modern corals are "chalky" in appearance.

This is not accurate, fossil coral can be chalky and modern coral can be polished to a high sheen.

 

2 hours ago, Barby said:

Thirdly, the specimen has been tumbled to that smoothness and sheen in rolling tides...

Which could apply to modern or fossil corals.

 

In My opinion the only ways to tell if it is a fossil or not would be to analyze the mineral makeup or prove it is not an extant species.

 

Until then We can only guess.

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Rockwood
1 hour ago, ynot said:

In My opinion the only ways to tell if it is a fossil or not would be to analyze the mineral makeup or prove it is not an extant species.

 

Until then We can only guess.

With some good navigational charts to get a read on currents that drive the sediment drift, and some data on the occurrence of modern coral of this general type one could likely calculate the relative odds fairly accurately. 

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ynot
14 minutes ago, Rockwood said:

With some good navigational charts to get a read on currents that drive the sediment drift, and some data on the occurrence of modern coral of this general type one could likely calculate the relative odds fairly accurately. 

That's still just a guess!:P

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Rockwood
36 minutes ago, ynot said:

That's still just a guess!:P

You would never make it as a gambler.:)

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ynot
52 minutes ago, Rockwood said:

You would never make it as a gambler.:)

That's the nicest thing You've said to Me!:blush::D

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flyg
11 hours ago, fossilnut said:

I'm finding a number of scleractinain coral pieces on the Cherry Grove beach in North Myrtle Beach, SC that I wonder if modern or Pleistocene? Are there modern corals in the waters of South Carolina? Fossils on the beach here range from Cretaceous to Pleistocene eg Ammonites, echinoids, crow shark teeth to great white/megaladon shark teeth to mammoth/mastodon teeth. Any info on corals here would be appreciated. Happy Holidays and thanks.

 

Scleractinian corals are found along the coast of South Carolina and the Atlantic Bight generally. Cherry Grove has been renourished multiple times with material from various sources, so the material you find there is likely not from natural deposition--but it is probably from fairly local sources.

 

This site is not comprehensive, but has a few nice photos.

http://www.dnr.sc.gov/marine/sertc/gallery.htm

 

This is an interesting story that came out this summer. Just before this story came out, I attended a talk be by Dr. Leslie Sautter about his voyage aboard the Okeanos Explorer, featuring some cool photos and rover footage of deep sea corals in the southeast and the Gulf of Mexico.

https://www.postandcourier.com/news/south-carolina-s-deep-ocean-is-home-to-vast-/article_e9e34724-aa1e-11e8-bec3-839607de538d.html

 

G

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