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Chris Carpenter

Here is a brief report from one of our latest forays into Calvert County, MD.  The well-known stretch of shoreline along the western Chesapeake Bay is loaded with Miocene fossils, with the Calvert, St. Mary's, and Choptank formations progressively exposed along a ~24 mile stretch of beach and cliffs. We found an Airbnb in Lusby, MD which was not too far from Matoaka Lodges, which seemed the best bet since the nearly 2 mile walk to the beaches at Calvert Cliffs State Park is impractical for our family at this time.

 

Covid-19 and Maryland's onerous private land regulations can make it tough if not impossible to access some of the other municipal beaches along the coast.  For example, Brownies Beach, Dares Beach, Cove Point, and Flag Pond are all restricted in some way to town or county residents only.  Matoaka Lodges however will grant day-pass access for a small fee, and the beach is from my experience very diverse and productive in its fossils. We spent a total of 5 hours there, employing an 1/8" sieve and also simply walking the surf line.  The largest tooth pictured here actually washed up at my feet as I was surreptitiously bending over at the same time.  Most of the rest were found with the sieve.  

 

Most of these are shark or sting ray teeth and a few turtle shells plus some of the smaller items I could not identify. A local told me that porpoise teeth can be found there also. This lot comprises the smallest fossils found; in addition to these (mostly) teeth and shell fragments were found a large and diverse sample of vertebrate fragments, corals, miscellaneous other fossils (snails, mollusks, etc.) which I will post in the follow-up report to this one. 

 

Having spent some time at some of the other sites along Calvert Cliffs this summer, I would say based on the diversity, number of fossils, and time spent collecting, that Matoaka is definitely worth the return trip. 

shark teeth_Matoaka Obverse copy.jpg

shark teeth_Matoaka reverse copy.jpg

shark teeth_Matoaka_2_Obverse copy.jpg

shark teeth_Matoaka_2_reverse copy.jpg

sting ray teeth_Matoaka_1 copy.jpg

sting ray teeth_Matoaka_2 copy.jpg

teeth_Matoaka_miscellaneous copy.jpg

turtle shell_Matoaka_obverse copy.jpg

turtle shell_Matoaka_reverse copy.jpg

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56 minutes ago, Chris Carpenter said:

For example, Brownies Beach, Dares Beach, Cove Point, and Flag Pond are all restricted in some way to town or county residents only. 

 

I have been to Brownies and Flag... never heard of this.  Is this new?

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Just FYI: Not all of your items are necessarily fossils:

 

 

5f8dda84ee73d_teeth_Matoaka_miscellaneouscopy.thumb.jpg.6ef7c4742240ece6e6d75483eaaf2599.jpg  5f8dda7ed6dc5_sharkteeth_Matoaka_2_Obversecopy.jpg.8fd9521ff6f5bc8900df9d9df98289fe.jpg

 

 

 

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51 minutes ago, jpc said:

I have been to Brownies and Flag... never heard of this.  Is this new?

Last I saw, Flag is not open to out of county residents until 1 November.

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1 hour ago, jpc said:

I have been to Brownies and Flag... never heard of this.  Is this new?

The current owner told me it has been in his family since the 1920s. Formerly a Girl Scout Retreat. Not sure how long it has been open to the public.

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1 hour ago, Fossildude19 said:

Just FYI: Not all of your items are necessarily fossils:

 

 

5f8dda84ee73d_teeth_Matoaka_miscellaneouscopy.thumb.jpg.6ef7c4742240ece6e6d75483eaaf2599.jpg  5f8dda7ed6dc5_sharkteeth_Matoaka_2_Obversecopy.jpg.8fd9521ff6f5bc8900df9d9df98289fe.jpg

 

 

 

This is very kind for you to go through these, very helpful, thanks so much. Tough to tell sometimes esp. with little to no experience in the Miocene.

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6 hours ago, Chris Carpenter said:

The current owner told me it has been in his family since the 1920s. Formerly a Girl Scout Retreat. Not sure how long it has been open to the public.

The part I had not heard of was these places being closed to the public.  I have been there at Xmastime, maybe that's why these are news to me. 

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8 hours ago, jpc said:

The part I had not heard of was these places being closed to the public.  I have been there at Xmastime, maybe that's why these are news to me. 


The current restrictions are because of COVID.

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