Tag: Geology

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Hook Head (Non-UK)

Southeast of Waterford and southwest of Wexford is the Hook Head peninsula, which is remarkable for the abundant, beautifully preserved Carboniferous fossils, at its furthest reach by the Hook Lighthouse. The outcrops around Hook Head consist of abundant exposures of Lower Carboniferous rocks in foreshore platforms, containing beautifully preserved crinoids, bryozoans, bivalves, corals and brachiopods. The cliffs and platforms are protected, but many loose fragments can be found containing significant numbers of jumbled fossils of all types, with superbly preserved detail.Carboniferous, Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦♦

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White Park Bay

Ten kilometres northwest of Ballycastle in Co. Antrim is White Park Bay. Successive layers of rock yield Mesozoic fossils including ammonites, belemnites and Gryphaea. However, the cliffs and platforms are protected, but many loose blocks containing fossils and some washed out fossils can be found. The beach is also known as one of the few places in the world to have “singing sand” – when conditions are right, the extremely fine sand vibrates to make a humming noise. The location is also known as a historic manufacturing hub for flint axes and arrow heads, due to the abundance of flint nodules found in the cliffs, with artefacts dating back as far as 8,000 BC. The landscape also features passage tombs looking out over the sea, where, on a clear day, the coast of Scotland can be seen.Cretaceous, Jurassic, Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦

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Eastbourne

This location is highly fossiliferous, with chalk packed with ammonites, echinoids, brachiopods, bivalves and crinoids. This is one of the best chalk locations in the UK and is full of surprises. It is highly recommended to all fossil hunters who love the chalk. Cretaceous, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦

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Where to find fossils

Fossils can be found in many places, most fossils are found on the beach or in quarries but many have been found in some very unusual places. Below is a list of places that you could find fossils. Please note some places such as quarries and farm fields need permission before you can enter, other places where fossils form part of the construction such as sea defences and walls, should not even be attempted. Damaging other peoples property is not only illegal, but morally wrong.

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Easton Bavents

Easton Bavents is the best location in the UK for finding Pliocene mammal remains and represents the only publically accessible site where mammal remains can be found in situ from the Norwich Crag. The location is of international importance, although fossils are limited to favourable tides. Today, fossils are uncommon, due to the thinning of the beds following many years of extensive erosion. Pliocene, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦

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Rusey Cliff

Rusey Cliff is one of the few places in Cornwall where well-preserved fossils can be collected. Plant remains can be found in slabs of the Lower Carboniferous-aged Boscastle Formation, and corals, brachiopods and goniatites can be found in similar aged limestone rocks along the foreshore. The site can be accessed by walking along a cliff top footpath, which takes you through a large area of landslip. Carboniferous, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦

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Foxhole Point

Foxhole Point features the Crackington Measures, which continue from Widemouth Bay. While it is possible to walk here from Widemouth Bay, it is best accessed from the village of Millook to avoid a long walk over difficult terrain. Plant remains and goniatites can be found here from the Upper Carboniferous. Carboniferous, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦

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Upton Cross

Upton Cross is situated between Widemouth Bay and Bude. The Bude Formation, which is Carboniferous in age, sandwiches outcrops of shale at two areas of the cliff and foreshore. These contain nodules that yield fish remains, worm tubes and tracks. Carboniferous, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦

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Chillesford Church Pit

This is the only place where the Norwich Crag can be seen deposited on top of the Red Crag. These Pliocene crags are rich in bivalves and foraminifera, but the shell beds are dominated by just one shell. Due to its geological importance, this site is an SSSI, but bivalves can be easily collected from the scree slopes without the need for any tools. Pliocene, Disused Pit, Rating: ♦♦♦♦

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Bracklesham Bay

There are nearly always people collecting at Bracklesham Bay. Fossils can simply be found washed up on the sand, and you can normally come back with bags full of decent finds, especially sharks’ teeth. During scouring tides, the fossiliferous Bracklesham Formation form the Eocene is exposed and the beach can be covered with ray and sharks’ teeth, and also bivalve shells. Occasionally, you can find corals, but you will definitely find lots of the often overlooked, large, single-celled foraminifera (Nummulites laevigatus). Eocene, Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦

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Seven Sisters

This site is world famous for its highly fossiliferous chalk, which is packed with a wide range of different echinoids, brachiopods, bivalves and crinoids. This is one of the best chalk locations in the UK for its variety of fossils and is recommended to all keen chalk fossil hunters. Cretaceous, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦♦

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Hastings

Hastings is one of the only places outside of the Isle of Wight where dinosaur bones can be found and this popular and important site has yielded some important finds over the years. Fish, shark, plant, reptile remains, bivalves and gastropods can also be collected. Keep a look out for dinosaur footprints. Cretaceous, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦♦

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Park Farm Cutting

The Park Lane site is a road cutting in Pulborough that exposes the Sandgate Formation. Hard ironstones within the layer yield a variety of well-preserved bivalves. Although overgrown, the ironstones are highly fossiliferous. Therefore, once the bed is located, plenty of specimens should be found. Cretaceous, Roadside Cutting, Rating: ♦♦♦

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Newhaven

Many echinoids can be found at Newhaven, in particular, Offaster pilula, which is very common – certain chalk blocks can be split open to yield numerous specimens of this small species. Also abundant (but often incomplete) are Echinocorys. If you walk as far as Peacehaven, you may be lucky enough to spot giant ammonites (probably Parapuzonisa or Havericeras) in the wave-cut platform. Do not hammer or damage these. Leave them for others to see – they are too big to get home and should not be touched. Cretaceous, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦

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Peacehaven

Some lovely echinoids can be found in the chalk at Peacehaven, including some superb, large Echinocorys cincta. This locality is also good for fish remains, which can sometimes be found on the foreshore. Fossils at Peacehaven are best found during scouring conditions. They can also be found in the fallen blocks on the beach. Cretaceous, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦

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Bexhill

Bexhill was made famous after the storms of November 2000 exposed dinosaur trackways on the foreshore. Since then, collectors have been finding a wide range of fossils, including fish, crocodile, turtle and dinosaur remains. Cretaceous, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦

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Little Bognor Common

In the middle of this public common is a working sand pit. Since it is on public land, there are no restrictions on collecting and you can collect from the spoil heaps and sides of the pit itself, away from the main site. With permission, you can also enter the main pit. Cretaceous, Working Pit, Rating: ♦♦

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Shanklin

Shanklin is a very good location on the Isle of Wight for Lower Greensand fossils, in particular, dinosaur remains and molluscs. When the Lower Greensand is exposed to air and left to dry, it becomes extremely hard. However, when fresh and, especially when exposed on the foreshore, it is like clay. Cretaceous, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦

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Trimingham

Trimingham has the youngest chalk on the UK mainland, from which a few shells can be found in a small cliff face. The chalk has actually been tilted and folded by glaciation, and is a geologically important site. There is easy access onto the beach, although the road turning is easily missed. Cretaceous, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦

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Studland Bay

The famous plant beds from the Poole Formation used to be found at Bournemouth, but, after the sea defence was constructed, this bed gradually became obscured and today it can hardly be seen. However, the Poole Formation can be found at Studland Bay, which also yields some plant remains. Eocene, Cretaceous, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦

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Writhlington

Writhlington spoil heap was created by the Geologists’ Association to preserve fossiliferous spoil for future study and is open to the public for fossil collecting. It has yielded hundreds of plants and insects species and is well documented. There is plenty to be found and, occasionally, the spoil is turned over to allow for better collecting (but this has not happened for a while). Carboniferous, Spoil, Rating: ♦♦♦♦

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Crag Farm Pit

Crag Farm Pit is a classic Coralline Crag site and a site of special scientific interest (SSSI). It is rich in bryozoans and well-documented wave-features in the sands. There are few other fossils, but it is certainly a location to visit for anyone who is interested in bryozoans. Pliocene, Disused Pit, Rating: ♦♦♦

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West Runton

This is the location of the famous ‘West Runton Elephant’ find. From the West Runton Fresh Water Bed, mammal and fish remains are common, along with freshwater shells. On the foreshore, during scouring tides, the chalk yields echinoids and sponges. Pleistocene, Cretaceous, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦