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Hunting for Miocene shark teeth in the Wienerberger quarry in Rumst (Belgium)


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Last saturday I went on my 2nd fossilhunt to the "Wienerberger quarry" in Rumst (Belgium) with my girlfriend and the BVP, my fossil club.
This quarry is only accessible for fossil collections during official excursions organised by fossils clubs. 

The quarry existed out of multiple layers, the oldest was a oligocene clay layer dating back to the Rupelian (named for the region) around 33.90 - 20.10 mya, although I didn't hunt in that layer, some of the finds that could be done there were bivalves, gastropods and brachiopods.

The layer where most people hunted was a very thin miocene layer dating back probably to the Burdigalian around 20.43 - 15.97 mya. The most common finds here were multiple species of shark teeth and some marine mammal fossils. 
And then there was another layer were it was possible to find Pleistocene fossils dating back to the last ice age, but the chances of finding anything there was quite slim.

 

So me & my girlfriend and most of the other fellow fossil hunters mostly hunted in the miocene layer in search for fossil shark teeth.

 

The overlook to the entrance of the quarry, looking at the oligocene clay layers.

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Everyone digging for and sieving through that thin layer full of miocene shark teeth

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Me looking for some teeth

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My girlfriend looking for some teeth

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And while we were digging for the layer like everyone else, the finds were a bit meager at first, not just for us but for everyone. But then my girlfriend found a tooth a bit lower on the hill and we started scraping away the top layer of sand. Turns out that some previous land slides washed the best material down hill, lower than were the rest was hunting and so the spoils started coming. We found most material there including our best find, a 6,5 cm long C. hastalis tooth found by my girlfriend and a partial marine mammal vert found by me! 

I believe our hastalis tooth was the 2nd largest tooth found that day, only a megalodon found during the trip was bigger. :) 

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As the day was drawing to an end and our spot was becoming depleted of fossils we took a walk around the quarry to look for a new spot only to return to our old spot to start digging towards the miocene layer again. But this time a little bit more to the right. We found a few nice shark teeth while doing this and a lot of iron concretions but but much else. Only during the last few minutes of the trip I did hit something that wasn't a concretion. After some digging it turned out to be a piece of wooly mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius) which ended up a little bit above the miocene layers during a previous land slide.

 

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Manticocerasman

Nice report Ken :) Glad you had a nice day.

to bad we had to miss that trip, mebay next year :)

 

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Nice trip report and great pictures! Do you have a picture of the megalodon tooth?

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At the end of the day we returned with around 40 shark teeth, although a lot of the teeth we found were partial or broken , sometimes just the enamel layers. But we found some beauties as well :) 

 

These were the teeth we found that were in a pretty good condition. 
Most of them are C. hastalis but the others I haven't been able to ID yet, so any help is always welcome! :) 

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The three smallest teeth we found, I suspect they might belong to the same species but I have no idea which.

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Another beauty we found, I am not sure about the ID, could be hastalis but it's a lot more narrow than the others we found

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Same story with this one

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The biggest tooth found by me, which is pretty beaten up but still nice enough for me.
Not sure about the ID either, could be a weirdly shapen hastalis or a very worn Otodus angustidens, I know they do show up occasionally and are usually in a similar worn state because they from another miocene layer that is no longer present in the quarry due to errosion.
Also the glossy look on the tooth is due to the fact that I coated it with paraloid, the excursion leaders told me that due to the high amounts of iron in the ground it migh not be a bad idea to treat the teeth with a bit of paraloid to prevent decay over time.

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Some of the C. hastalis teeth we found

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Then we also found these 3 teeth which were some of my favorite finds, they are definiatly not hastalis but might belong to Carcharias (gustrowensis), but I'll send an email to the excursion leaders so they might help me out with the ID

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The we also found this tooth, although quite big it lost most of it's enamel. We also found this tooth in the zone were we looked for teeth that got washed down in land slides. 

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One of my favorite teeth we found was this nice white glossy tooth, that kinda shines like silver of pearl in the right light. 
Also I have no clue on the ID

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And our best tooth of the day, the large 6,5 cm (2,5 inch) C. hastalis tooth which was found by my girlfriend!

It dwarfs all of our other teeth and I really love the coloration on it. Also the markings on the teeth are apparently scars from a time when the layer were these teeth were in was permafrost during the last ice age.

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12 minutes ago, Manticocerasman said:

Nice report Ken :) Glad you had a nice day.

to bad we had to miss that trip, mebay next year :)

 

Thank you, we had a great day and we were so lucky that the weather was in our favor. :D 
Hope you can join next time, we kinda missed seeing you and Nathalie around.

 

8 minutes ago, belemniten said:

Nice trip report and great pictures! Do you have a picture of the megalodon tooth?

Thank you, I unfortunatly didn't see the meg tooth but luckily our club posted a photo of it on the facebook page of the bvp. 
So this was the megalodon tooth that was found :)

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And then these were our other finds of the day.

 

A shell imprint found by my girlfriend

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The worn partial marine mammal vert that I found

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Some bone fragments, most are probably mammoth some might be marine mammal.

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And the wooly mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius) bone I found during the last few minutes of the trip!

I'll have to glue the fracture and I'll be coating the entire bone in paraloid because it's quite fragile and the red color indicated that there might be a lot of iron in the bone. 

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Some great finds! Congrats :) 

And thanks for the picture of the meg tooth. They are very rare there or?

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Great report. Great finds. Great photos.

Looks like a pretty great trip. :)

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2 minutes ago, belemniten said:

Some great finds! Congrats :) 

And thanks for the picture of the meg tooth. They are very rare there or?

Thank you! 
And yes I believe so, the quarry is only open for hunting since 2016 and even then only a few times a year when the clubs are allowed to dig organize an excursion there.
So I don't think that many megs have been found there before :) 

2 minutes ago, Tidgy's Dad said:

Great report. Great finds. Great photos.

Looks like a pretty great trip. :)

Thank you, it was a great second fossil hunt! Time flew by while we were at it :) 

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Thanks for the great trip report!

 

The matrix looks very sandy. I wonder, did anyone take home a batch of matrix to look for micro shark teeth? Sandy matrix is often associated with conditions that favor a high concentration of extremely small shark teeth, etc.

 

 

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4 hours ago, sharkdoctor said:

Thanks for the great trip report!

 

The matrix looks very sandy. I wonder, did anyone take home a batch of matrix to look for micro shark teeth? Sandy matrix is often associated with conditions that favor a high concentration of extremely small shark teeth, etc.

 

 

Well I am not sure whether some did take some matrix, but I am kinda sad that I forgot to do it, cause I was kinda planning to take same samples to sieve through but I just entirely forgot. I will definiatly take some during my next visit next year. :) 

 

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Just being near the surface will eat away at a shark tooth over time because water can seep through rock.  The soaking/drying gets into micro-cracks and expands them with the root being less-resistant than the enameloid.  The freeze/thaw of night-to-noon and winter-to-summer of a temperate climate is rough enough on teeth.  It's a miracle you find any decent teeth at Rumst with the glacial-to-interglacial freeze/thaw on top of it all.  It's great to see a trip report from there (a site I know of but had never seen) and what you found.  I have seen some teeth from Rumst before.  That C. hastalis upper anterior your girlfriend found is a real prize.

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On 18-11-2019 at 11:32 PM, Mark Kmiecik said:

Congratulations on your finds and thank you for sharing your report.

Thank you! :) 

On 20-11-2019 at 10:39 PM, siteseer said:

Just being near the surface will eat away at a shark tooth over time because water can seep through rock.  The soaking/drying gets into micro-cracks and expands them with the root being less-resistant than the enameloid.  The freeze/thaw of night-to-noon and winter-to-summer of a temperate climate is rough enough on teeth.  It's a miracle you find any decent teeth at Rumst with the glacial-to-interglacial freeze/thaw on top of it all.  It's great to see a trip report from there (a site I know of but had never seen) and what you found.  I have seen some teeth from Rumst before.  That C. hastalis upper anterior your girlfriend found is a real prize.

Yes indeed, those teeth have been through lots, the odds of any decent teeth survived this long.
That's why most than half of the teeth we found were in a pretty bad shape, I think we were very lucky with our findings, just to think of the odds of finding a tooth like the one my girlfriend did. We were very lucky :) 

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On 18-11-2019 at 5:26 PM, sharkdoctor said:

Thanks for the great trip report!

 

The matrix looks very sandy. I wonder, did anyone take home a batch of matrix to look for micro shark teeth? Sandy matrix is often associated with conditions that favor a high concentration of extremely small shark teeth, etc.

 

 

I took some matrix from another layer but haven't found any sharkteeth yet. I did find some interesting gastropods. I will try to post some finds later today. 

 

Regards,

Arno

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5 hours ago, Indagator said:

I took some matrix from another layer but haven't found any sharkteeth yet. I did find some interesting gastropods. I will try to post some finds later today. 

 

Regards,

Arno

Cool, I'd love to see some of your finds from the trip :) 

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I've collected material from the same layer with my dad and we were able to get some decent out. I took a picture of the best ones. The best finds for me are the two hexanchidea and the Eurhinodelphinidae indet. Mammal teeth are quite rare for this location I was told so I was quite happy to find it in the sieve. More pictures of the smaller gastropods I will make tomorrow due to lack of time. (they are a few mm in size..)

 

Regards,

Arno

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fifbrindacier

That's an interesting spot for teeth.

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On 25-11-2019 at 11:22 PM, Indagator said:

I've collected material from the same layer with my dad and we were able to get some decent out. I took a picture of the best ones. The best finds for me are the two hexanchidea and the Eurhinodelphinidae indet. Mammal teeth are quite rare for this location I was told so I was quite happy to find it in the sieve. More pictures of the smaller gastropods I will make tomorrow due to lack of time. (they are a few mm in size..)

 

Regards,

Arno

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Those are very nice teeth as well, definiatly love the dolphin tooth. You were very lucky to find find it since they are so rare in Rumst :) 

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I nearly forgot, but we were also able to collect some broken septarian nodules at the site :) 
This one is by far the prettiest we found.

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