Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Fossil Hunting in England's Jurassic - Charmouth and Seatown

Some quality time with the sea
April 21 - Charmouth and Seatown
Today's low tide:  4:30 am and 4:50 pm - giving us time to play a bit.  We've been so immersed in fossils that we're seeing them everywhere, even in our leek and potato soup.  This morning we sat on the Charmouth beach for an hour just watching the waves come and go; a couple of sea kayaks went past, one sailboat, and that was it. 

Then we drove to Seatown, had a walk up Ridge Cliff to the east, past sheep muddy from last night's rains, and found a bench at the top where we took a nap next to several badger setts.  The cliff was sheer, and with so many landslide warnings about, we only looked over a couple of times.  The sheep, however, had no hesitation about grazing absolutely on the edge, which drove Barry crazy.

Sheep without fear
View from Ridge Cliff east of Seatown, which is at center right with Golden Cap in the distance.  It gets its name from the Cretaceous sands at the top=>

Refreshed, we walked once again west of Seatown to the Green Ammonite Beds and the Belemnite layer, and for the first time in our travels we found many fossils.  The Belemnite layer is the same bed we discovered two days ago, but this time we approached from the east and the bed lay at the foot of the cliff instead of in the water. 

Close up of Golden Cap with Green Ammonite Bed along bottom half.  Belemnite Bed is located where cliff meets the sand.

Another bloke found some much larger robust belemnites, probably at the foot of Golden Cap.  I'm not certain we will venture there, considering multiple landslide warnings for that area.

Our best find of the day from the Green Ammonite Bed
The Green Ammonite layer (Lower Jurassic, Lower Lias) is named for the greenish crystals of calcite that fill the ammonites found there, and judging by the impressions in rocks left behind, someone had found some very nice fossils. The Brittle Star from the Starfish Bed eluded us; they are difficult to locate as they tend to fall Brittle Star side down on the beach.

Exposed Belemnite Beds Today's catch - ammonites and belemnites

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