Sunday, March 15, 2009

Hide & Seek with Oregon Beach Fossils...

Recently while posting in the blog FIREWATER IMAGES the series BEACH PHOTOS was the focus. This led me to researching my files and therein I found this group of pictures from a late winter trip to the Oregon Coast.

This is an interesting series in that Catherine and I discovered a fossil bed in the beach rock uncovered by the recent storm surge of those mighty Pacific waves.


This shell fossil (above) is a typical representation of the fossils still embedded in the matrix that the surf uncovered (right click in the image for a larger view).


Preserved in rock from an earlier geological period the fossilized shells in this 'cluster of fossils' have eroded through the action of waves & the minute grinding of sand for thousands of years. .

Try as we might we could not catch this image of this fossil without a thin covering of water. It was one of those times where we would follow the ebbing waves out until this fossil was nearly exposed. Then I'd take a few shots of it through the water and then run from the next flooding surge of the waves.

On the same day we discovered the fossils we found this partial cave that Catherine is pictured standing in. It was several hundred feet from the fossil field.

In front of the cave stood these 'mushroom' rocks. Part of the same matrix the shells had fossilized in, the mushrooms are approximately three feet from the puddles to their tops. This is an important point for the next part of this notation.
The afternoon of our fossil discovery saw the Pacific frontal weather system turn foul. The tide was flooding, the hard rain falling, and a cold ocean wind blowing as we left the beach in search of hot coffee and a lap top to view our photos on. A plan developed to return to the beach the next day at the lowest of tides and photograph as many fossils as possible. Alas, the best-laid plans of mice & men... The storm continued through the night and we were delighted to find some clearing the next morning. When we arrived at the edge of the rock face which housed the cave we were stunned to find the over night storm surge had laid hundreds of thousands of tons of sand, several feet deep all down the beach. The small band of stones, to the left of the cliff face in the photo above is the top of the mushroom rocks of the previous image. Yep, nearly three feet of fresh sand shifted to cover the fossils and protect them for another day. Hide & seek with Oregon beach fossils...
Hope you still find pleasure in exploration & discovery...
Foster Fanning

Here's some reference info...
Stonerose Fossil Center:
http://www.stonerosefossil.org/

Oregon Beaches:
http://visittheoregoncoast.com/

Oregon Fossils:
http://www.oregongeology.org/sub/learnmore/fossils.HTM

3 comments:

Jeannette St.G. said...

beautiful these fossils - history always leaves us a trail:), thanks for sharing!

big Dog of Foster planet said...

rock n roll, big bro, way cool

Anonymous said...

hey what beach was this on im going to Oregon and want to fossil hunt