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Incognito Rockhound

Calvert Cliffs Mystery Vertebrae

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Incognito Rockhound

In addition to a trip to Flag Ponds this week, I was also able to spend a couple of hours at Calvert Cliffs State Park where is found the following peeking out from the clay at the surf.  I’ve been doing some research but am coming up empty.  Any ideas?

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Incognito Rockhound

B896FB1C-B01B-4026-B13F-77099FA51BA8.jpeg

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ynot

Iron concretion.

They do take some strange shapes.

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Incognito Rockhound

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Incognito Rockhound

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daves64

2nd & 3rd pics of the 1st set look like a spiral of some sort.

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Darktooth
49 minutes ago, ynot said:

Iron concretion.

They do take some strange shapes.

 

16 minutes ago, daves64 said:

2nd & 3rd pics of the 1st set look like a spiral of some sort.

I agree with ynot, it is a concretion. I have seen these many times on my hunts in the area. Though I usually find smaller examples than the one being  shown, they are of the same appearance  and texture. I think the spiral look that dave64 mentioned is purely coincidental.

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Rockwood

Agreed.  The spiral looks like successive events perhaps of sand covering a boggy area. This is also known as bog iron. Exposures often look like spreading pancake batter.

Here is an example.

IMG_1630 a.jpg

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Incognito Rockhound

Still cleaning the clay off of this and discovered that the second segment is hollow in the middle

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Incognito Rockhound

Another view

37212DA4-33F7-4878-BE4E-9E23F4532CF8.jpeg

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Xiphactinus

Is it magnetic?  Looks like a rusty spring

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Incognito Rockhound

I wish I had a better way to photograph this. Just haven’t been able to get a good dimensional representation.

 

Dave, all three spirals are very structured and distinct.

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Incognito Rockhound
2 minutes ago, Xiphactinus said:

Is it magnetic?  Looks like a rusty spring

 

Just tested it - no

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Incognito Rockhound

There is a shark fin looking appenditure at the top - with the overall configuration of this thing, if it is a spring, it would be unlike any spring I’ve seen.  The coils would be too thick

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Incognito Rockhound

As the fossilization process progresses, is it possible for the organic materials to be replaced with the iron in the cliffs? 

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Rockwood

Looks like a spring hole migrating upward to me.

The groundwater vent definition of spring. 

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Auspex

In certain zones, these iron/sandstone accretions are fairly common. They formed in the Pleistocene overburden.

LINK

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Incognito Rockhound

How interesting - thank you! Since it was stuck as much as it was in the clay, that didn’t even occur to me!  I’m so glad I have all of you - I am learning so much :)

 

Speaking of clay, the stuff at the base of the cliffs is a force to be reckoned with - I  nearly ended up leaving one my wellies behind because the clay is just like concrete!

 

Because the clay is so thick, I’ve had one heck of a time trying to remove it from specimens!  It has taken me nearly an hour to remove it from one fossil alone using a toothbrush.  I am afraid that if I let it dry and try to gently scrape it off, it will be even worse.  Has anyone had success finding an easier way to remove it?

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daves64

If you let it dry completely, the clay should actually come off easier with a tooth brush & water from what I've read. Soaking it in hydrogen peroxide may work as well.

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Incognito Rockhound

I will give it a try - thank you!

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InfoHungryMom

I am holding the internal mold of a burrow.  The other images are also “iron stone casts” of burrows.

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InfoHungryMom

These are pieces of the hardened clay that shows the spirals.... And large shells of modern ghost crabs... (sorry... no pics of Ghost Shrimp!)

2EAA663C-0094-43D0-816D-16ADE6A9A91F.jpeg

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InfoHungryMom

FYI-  The actual age of the iron stone concretion is not known.

 

AND... GOTTA LOVE THAT CLAY!!!

 

It’s safe to remove from your Wellies now (!) as well as from the iron stone.

 

In most cases I do not use any water or other liquid. It often makes the shells “softer” and they break more easily. Its different with bones. And the type of matrix matters too. Sandier matrix should be allowed to dry before cleaning. But if it is all or mostly all clay, keeping it covered with a damp cloth is ideal. When the high clay content matrix dries it contracts. It can actually cause more damage from those contractions that occur when the mud and fossils dry.

 

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Rockwood
22 minutes ago, InfoHungryMom said:

The burrows are very common at Calvert Cliffs

I agree. 

I've never seen any identified as looking like anything here though.

You might want to google Indian paint pot.

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