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New to NC, looking for sites to dig!


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Hey there, just moved to Charlotte area from up in CT.  I got bit by the fossil bug bad up there in Little Falls NY, fell in love with trilobites and the "just one more."  So, having just settled in, I am looking for places to go hunting nearby.  I know there's a place in the Uwharrie to find petrified wood, and the eastern rivers have shale and fossil beds, but can't quite find any open or legal locations defined enough to be able to drive to them.  In the rare case I can make it to the coast, I'll be beachcombing for hours if anyone can point me to a decent shoreline.  I'm interested in any sites to go fossil digging, as well as anywhere to go rockhounding within 3-4 hours of Charlotte. 

 

There are so many mines just west of Charlotte that are just the sluice and "buy a bucket", or mines that seed the area with rocks from Brazil and such, I'm looking for a native-rock mine that gives a decent chance.  I don't have any machinery (unless a metal detector and UV lamp counts), but I've done my time splitting shale/limestone, and have a good eye for tiny things.  I like digging holes in debris piles, rainy days that make things shine, and meeting people covered in mud, doing crazy things just to find a really cool "rock".

 

My move to NC has been amazing so far, everyone is so much less frenzied than up north, and y'all are great!  If anyone can point me in a gps direction, thanks!

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1 hour ago, Birdleaf said:

Hey there, just moved to Charlotte area from up in CT.  I got bit by the fossil bug bad up there in Little Falls NY, fell in love with trilobites and the "just one more."  So, having just settled in, I am looking for places to go hunting nearby.  I know there's a place in the Uwharrie to find petrified wood, and the eastern rivers have shale and fossil beds, but can't quite find any open or legal locations defined enough to be able to drive to them.  In the rare case I can make it to the coast, I'll be beachcombing for hours if anyone can point me to a decent shoreline.  I'm interested in any sites to go fossil digging, as well as anywhere to go rockhounding within 3-4 hours of Charlotte. 

 

There are so many mines just west of Charlotte that are just the sluice and "buy a bucket", or mines that seed the area with rocks from Brazil and such, I'm looking for a native-rock mine that gives a decent chance.  I don't have any machinery (unless a metal detector and UV lamp counts), but I've done my time splitting shale/limestone, and have a good eye for tiny things.  I like digging holes in debris piles, rainy days that make things shine, and meeting people covered in mud, doing crazy things just to find a really cool "rock".

 

My move to NC has been amazing so far, everyone is so much less frenzied than up north, and y'all are great!  If anyone can point me in a gps direction, thanks!

I would STRONGLY suggest Little Pine garnet mine in a small town called Marshall by Asheville. Garnets the size of baseballs can be found and can be cleaned up pretty nicely; no equipment needed (or allowed) but it does cost a pretty decent chunk of change for most mine ($75 if I can remember correctly). Heres the website ran by the owners: https://www.sandybottomtrailrides.net/index.php/gem-mine theres also: Mason staurolite and Emerald Village are some I can remember off my head. 

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The NC coast is very nice, and has some fossils.

 

North Topsail Beach has been a good place for shark teeth and a variety of other fossils.  2013 NC forum posts for NTB include pics and the best place to look.

 

Green Mill Run, Greensville NC, has a wide variety fossils in it.  Check previous posts for more info.

 

An NC geological survey was published in 1988, "Fossil Collecting in North Carolina."  It lists 34 fossil sites in NC.  Very detailed.  Unfortunately, many of those sites are no longer available for access.  Some NC libraries have a copy.  Abebooks.com has a copy available.

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The book can be purchased form the State Geological survey also. Lots of other books relating to NC geology and paleontology as well and most only a few bucks.  Navy Day is correct that some are closed but most aren't and every one I've been to was very good if you can comprehend geology from their descriptions. I think that 4 hours would get you to the Georgia trilobite site that a lot of forum members have been posting. You can do some searching here on this forum for more information. 

  Charlotte area in general has basically no fossils. The Triassic outcrop belt isn't too far from there though.

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FossilDAWG

Unfortunately it's more like 5 1/2 hrs from Charlotte to Chatsworth/Dalton according to Google Maps.

 

Don

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sixgill pete

The Emerald Hollow Mine in Hiddenite N.C. Its about and hour and a half North Northwest of Charlotte. It has the "touristy" sluiceway with purchased buckets, and creek sifting and digging in their mine. Great place. They have a good website also.

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On 6/5/2019 at 5:26 PM, FossilDAWG said:

Unfortunately it's more like 5 1/2 hrs from Charlotte to Chatsworth/Dalton according to Google Maps.

 

Don

goes to show you how accurate my perception of space and time are! I can get to Charlotte from Wilmington in four and it looks like about the same distance from Charlotte to Dalton. Estimating on the fly like that doesn't allow for convenient roads of course.

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