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We bought a fixer-upper on Lake Erie at Ashtabula, Ohio, this past year. We were at the property yesterday knowing that most of the winter ice likely melted. We found this on our property above the beach. It's about the size of a basketball. I'll post 4 pics. one top view then one bottom view without flash then both again with flash. Any and all comments appreciated. 

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FE906E5B-4EC1-4222-9EB4-A676E83C1339.jpeg

7B73D6FA-6DCE-40DA-9BD1-6BEF91CF4D9F.jpeg

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That's one very impressive tabulate/colonial coral! 

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Ludwigia

Now that is really one humdinger!

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Thank you for your input. i guess i have some reading to do. That species (?) went extinct at the end of the Devonian, 358.9 million years ago? That i cannot comprehend. What's it been doing? Just hanging out at the bottom of Lake Erie while gradually being pushed ashore by wave action? The underlying bast to Lake Erie in my area is shale. A friend has found dozens of significant fossils in the shoreline shale. i think he's working with either Ohio State or Cleveland State. I'll check in with him. thank you again. 

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Back in the Devonian, we were about 30 degrees south of the equator, which meant that this was a subtropical zone. Think here of Jamaica or any Caribbean vacation spot to understand what the conditions might have been like back then. Coral reefs are delicate and require ideal conditions to thrive. We can see at the present day how coral bleaching in our reefs off Australia threaten to upend very complex ecosystems. I know @digit can spin a long yarn about coral reef complexes, and why some reefs fail. Coral are amazing animals, but very finicky. 

 

Because coral develops as a carbonate, they preserve very well. Think here that they basically form rock-like in their lifetime! In Ohio, Michigan, and Ontario, we are fortunate to find wave-tossed examples. Our great lakes are more recent phenomena created by the pressure of glaciers. Once they receded, we had huge depressions/lobes that formed the lakes we know today. We have two main cratonic basins: the Michgian and Appalachian sides, both of which might interfinger pending bathymetry.

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Tnx, it's difficult to comprehend the concept of "millions of years ago." To hold the coral in my hands and think of the rock as a colony of living creature in a warm, subtropical sea is even more boggling.

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47 minutes ago, Kane said:

Think here that they basically form rock-like in their lifetime!

Corals are the one thing that you can decidedly answer a simple 'yes' if asked the question "Animal, vegetable or mineral?" as the coral polyp hosts endosymbiotic single-cell algae within its tissues and it secretes a CaCO3 (limestone) skeleton which is what we think of when we envision coral reefs.

 

Reef-building (hermatypic) corals today (and likely in previous eons) needed to be in shallow clear waters (the upper phototic zone) because they receive the vast majority of their energy from the carbohydrate compounds formed by the algal cells living within their tissues. Today's corals (and likely all hermatypic corals that have ever been) have a fairly narrow band of temperatures that they can tolerate--much the same range as humans prefer. When water temps get above 30C (86F) for extended periods corals expel the symbiotic algae into the water and bleach white. Most corals have little in the way of pigments and the colors we know as healthy coral are largely produced by the algae within. Without the algae you can see right through the transparent coral polyps to the bright white limestone skeleton below. Water that is too cold, too silty, high in dissolved metals, chemicals or other pollution can also cause corals to bleach.

 

Corals have been around in one form or another for nearly half a billion years but they do require optimal conditions to thrive.

 

 

Cheers.

 

-Ken

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7 minutes ago, razman said:

is even more boggling

If fossils are not "boggling" your mind then you are simply not doing it right. ;)

 

 

Cheers.

 

-Ken

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Ken, great site i've stumbled upon here. Thanks for the ongoing information. Animal, vegetable, or mineral. i'll remember the answer: Yes

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Aye, what Ken says is truth. I know I am far too cavalier about corals given their abundance in my local area, but they are quite phenomenal. Our tectonic shift may be mind boggling but certainly interesting! The earth is always in flux. It's a constantly changing space and life adapts to it.

 

Welcome to our mind boggling world! Hopefully it deepens your appreciation for what is beneath your feet when most people haven't a clue!

 

Our friend Ken dives in modern reefs and has an impressive scholarly record. You can't do wrong on identifying our contemporary ecosystems than by going through him. 

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Thanks. I never imagined Lake Erie to be the ancient home to corals. My expectation was that one of you would say it was a Caribbean souvenir that someone discarded. Thanks for your comment. 

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Top Trilo
1 hour ago, razman said:

Thanks. I never imagined Lake Erie to be the ancient home to corals. My expectation was that one of you would say it was a Caribbean souvenir that someone discarded. Thanks for your comment. 

Like Kane said the land changes a lot, in the cretaceous Colorado was underwater. The great lakes formed relatively recently, in the time of early humans, your coral is thousands of times older and was in an ocean instead of lake Erie, here is one of many videos showing how much Earth's landmasses have changed over time. 

How were the Great Lakes formed? | EEK Wisconsin

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LabRatKing
7 hours ago, razman said:

We bought a fixer-upper on Lake Erie at Ashtabula, Ohio, this past year. We were at the property yesterday knowing that most of the winter ice likely melted. We found this on our property above the beach. It's about the size of a basketball. I'll post 4 pics. one top view then one bottom view without flash then both again with flash. Any and all comments appreciated. 

6C1D91C0-BFAC-499E-92AE-34828D1E2718.jpeg

F0741FF1-A3AF-4DFB-81FA-4BF8806769D5.jpeg

FE906E5B-4EC1-4222-9EB4-A676E83C1339.jpeg

7B73D6FA-6DCE-40DA-9BD1-6BEF91CF4D9F.jpeg

My old stomping grounds!

 

Lots of great fossils to find from Cleveland to Chautauqua.

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