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Hello. There Are A Ton Of Shells And Sponges In My Front Yard!


fossilsarecool

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In my front and backyard there are 100s dhells and sponges lodged into the surface of the ground. I live in central Florida about an hour away from the ocean. It's almost like my land used to be a beach or even underground. I need to learn more about these fossils? Here is a picture of one I plucked from my yard. There is a lot more where this came from though.

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Welcome to the forum.

I'm also in central Florida, about an hour from the beach. Do you own that white house with the flamingo out front? :D

Those shells are called fossils, but they aren't as old a most of the fossils you will see on the forum. They are less then 2 million years old, usually. The shoreline of the ocean was much further in shore from where it is now, during the warm periods before that last ice age. The St. John's river used to be an intercoastal lagoon. The ancient shore line was about 30 miles inland from where is is now and your drive to the beach would have been only 15 minutes. :D

Your land may not have been in the lagoonal zone in those ancient times. It is common for people to take fill material from other sites to build up other land, so your lawn dirt might be from 15 miles to the east, in a zone that has lagoonal deposits. If you are about an hour east of the beach, you are likely sitting on a sand dune from the Miocene period, which is almost totally devoid of fossils. Are there any vacant lots around that are pure sand?

About 80% or more of the fossil materials you find may still be existing species. A species normally lives for about 2.5 million years, and the material in your yard is less than 2.5 million years old.

Post some photos of the things you find in the fossil ID area. I doubt if you are finding sponges, they are likely to be corals.

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Welcome to the Forum!

Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.
-Albert Einstein

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Welcome to the Forum. :)

Regards,

    Tim    -  VETERAN SHALE SPLITTER

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"In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks."

John Muir ~ ~ ~ ~   ><))))( *>  About Me      

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Welcome to the forum.

I'm also in central Florida, about an hour from the beach. Do you own that white house with the flamingo out front? :D

Those shells are called fossils, but they aren't as old a most of the fossils you will see on the forum. They are less then 2 million years old, usually. The shoreline of the ocean was much further in shore from where it is now, during the warm periods before that last ice age. The St. John's river used to be an intercoastal lagoon. The ancient shore line was about 30 miles inland from where is is now and your drive to the beach would have been only 15 minutes. :D

Your land may not have been in the lagoonal zone in those ancient times. It is common for people to take fill material from other sites to build up other land, so your lawn dirt might be from 15 miles to the east, in a zone that has lagoonal deposits. If you are about an hour east of the beach, you are likely sitting on a sand dune from the Miocene period, which is almost totally devoid of fossils. Are there any vacant lots around that are pure sand?

About 80% or more of the fossil materials you find may still be existing species. A species normally lives for about 2.5 million years, and the material in your yard is less than 2.5 million years old.

Post some photos of the things you find in the fossil ID area. I doubt if you are finding sponges, they are likely to be corals.

Wow that is so cool. Thanks for all the information. I was way off about my distance too the beach though.I'm technically only 20 minutes away. The beach I go to is like 45. That would change things right? Sorry for the poor information. I don't really pay attention to distance when driving.:P

Edited by fossilsarecool
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Yes, you might be close enough to be sitting on top of the lagoonal and shallow water deposits from a few hundred thousand years ago, so you would be under water. I was just warning you that construction people haul in base material so what you have under the house may not be the natural surface material. But then again, it might! You are real close to the ancient shoreline. I'm in a "high and dry" area, made of very pure sand, no shells or fossils unless they have been brought in. You can verify what you are sitting on by looking at undeveloped land.

The shelly material is brought into my area because it is more firm than the pure sand, so it is used on slopes and hills and unpaved roads. A very pure limestone is brought into my area (and yours) for use as a packing base material, like road beds. That is Ocala formation limestone and comes from the central backbone of the state. It is about 40 million years old and is Eocene. It contains many sea biscuits and sand dollars. It is a light brown, loose "dirt" with some rocks in in. When you pack it down it becomes fairly firm. If you see a pile of it for construction, it doesn't hurt to look it over for sea biscuits.

The sand in my area is so pure it is like sandbox sand.

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Welcome, If you post some of the other finds from your yard we could probably tell you what formation you are in. Knowing the formation could help you do more research on what you're finding, if you're into that. Natural exposures of Plio-Pleistocene shells is pretty uncommon in your area. Most likely your finds came from a quarry, as is the case with most 'roadfill' shell in Florida. Central Florida is a very broad area and each coast has it's own formations, so a few more examples would be helpful.

Edited by calhounensis
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Here are some more samples. This is the majority of what I'm seeing on the surface. My area is extremely rural. Don't that probably won't help much though but I figure it was worth sharing.

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More samples: the one to the right is the same as the one to the right above except turned over.

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Edited by fossilsarecool
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Here is one more for now. Thanks for the help everyone. The one to the left is all the ones I've picked up from my lawn except the whites shell on the upper right hand corner.

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Edited by fossilsarecool
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In post #10, it is the southern quahog clam. (pronounced "co-hog"). This is the one that is commonly used for modern clam bakes in Florida.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mercenaria

http://www.google.com/search?q=southern+quahog+clam&btnG=Search&hl=en&gbv=1&tbm=isch

In post #11 it is a coral and an oyster shell. Also, a picture of Einstein.

In post #12, that object with all the holes in it... I've never seen one of those. It isn't a sponge, but what could that be? I think the white shell is a species of Arca.

All of them are more than 140 thousand years old, which was the last warm period. Or they might be about 280 thousand years old, which would be the warm period previous to that one.

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The picture isn't great for 12. I thought it looked like seaweed, but I'm not sure. It is so awesome that you could identify almost all of those so quickly. It drives me crazy not knowing.

P.S: Sorry about the Einstein photobomb

Edited by fossilsarecool
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Here's what you do with the quahogs...

Catch-em

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Steam or BBQ-em

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When they peek open, they are ready

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And then some melted butter finishes it off...

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Mercenaria, the genus tmaier is calling a quahog, is found in many Holocene, Pleistocene, and Pliocene sites in Florida. That doesn't do much to narrow down a time frame. I've found them at Woodland and Archaic sites in Georgia and Florida. I don't know the corals well enough to tell you what they are, I suggest making a Fossil ID post with these if you haven't already done so. Keep looking!

Edited by calhounensis
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During the warm periods between ice ages the ocean rises and the fossils at the shoreline are pulled out and mixed with other periods, so trying to figure out the fauna of this period is extremely frustrating. If you walk down the beach around Daytona you will find fossil shells mixing in with modern shells and being redeposited together. The most you can say about the single Mercenaria being shown is that it is still an extant species and might have come from one of the warm periods over the past half million years.

You can make a better guess at the age of it if you can take a faunal set of data from the same deposit, with the hope that it is not too mixed up with other warm periods. Often the faunal set of these extant species can give more clues to the period than the single specimen by itself. There is periodic mixing of the fossils, so you can never be too sure.

And they are good to eat. :D

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Probably fill used when your land was raised by the developer.

It is possible that what he is describing is actually the native surface of his land. I live just a few miles west of that ancient shoreline and the property out there has lagoonal and beach material right near the surface. It is sand mixed with shells and corals, often with a salt-and-pepper color to it. That type of land is where we get our fill-dirt for this region from.

As I mentioned, the best way to figure it out is to go on to some undeveloped land with a shovel and dig down a foot or two. If you hit shells, it is the ancient shoreline.

Edited by tmaier
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