Friday, April 18, 2008

Carmel Church Quarry

We had glorious weather for a field trip to the Carmel Church quarry. Led by Dr. Dooley from the Virginia Museum of Natural History, we were allowed access to an active archaeological dig being conducted by the museum.

This site is "one of the most significant fossil deposits on the Virginia Coastal Plain. The Carmel Church Quarry is one of the richest vertebrate fossil sites east of the Mississippi. The 14 million-year-old Calvert Formation deposits at Carmel Church contain at least five species of whales and two dozen shark species, as well as manatees, crocodiles, turtles, birds, and bony fish".

The site itself wasn't overly large - perfect for a group of enthusiastic diggers:

Previous diggers had burrowed into the hillside leaving little "caves". The small piles at the base of the hillside are the remnants of past digs. While the piles had no fossils, small sharks' teeth were found in them.

Here's my littlest rock hound prying through the crumbly layers with a screw driver:

My son was really into it - literally!

Our find for the day - a partial shark's tooth:

Other's found more sharks' teeth and fossilized whale parts (technical term). One person even found something "museum worthy" that was taken by Dr. Dooley for further evaluation.
The only down-side of the day was the family that coordinated the trip was unable to attend, so I felt a little guilty about enjoying ourselves so much. They were sorely missed!!

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At 1:48 PM, Blogger dottycookie said...

Oh, how cool is that? I would love to take my children on something similar - there are digs around here but I'm not sure any of them let you go just for a day - mostly they seem to require training and a week's commitment. I shall have to look more carefully.

At 10:27 AM, Blogger Nita C. Grattan said...

I missed this years trip, I had a great trip last year though, Dr. Dooley is so informative. Man I bet they had a blast! I wish they would have 2 trips a year for this dig!!!

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