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Fossil-collecting from the middle Miocene Carmel Church Quarry marine ecosystem in Caroline County, Virginia

Alexander K. Hastings and Alton C. Dooley
Fossil-collecting from the middle Miocene Carmel Church Quarry marine ecosystem in Caroline County, Virginia (in From the Blue Ridge to the beach; geological field excursions across Virginia, Christopher M. Bailey (editor) and Shelley Jaye (editor))
Field Guide (Geological Society of America) (March 2017) 47: 77-88

Abstract

The Carmel Church Quarry fossil site in central Virginia has yielded thousands of vertebrate fossils over more than two decades of excavations conducted by the Virginia Museum of Natural History. The exposure of marine sediment here includes a highly fossiliferous bone bed within the Calvert Formation. Unlike most fossil finds from this formation along the Potomac River, the majority of fossils collected are from in situ deposits. The exposed section at Carmel Church includes Paleocene to Pliocene sediment, with vertebrate fossils also having been recovered from the Eocene Nanjemoy Formation. Common fossil finds within the Calvert Formation are typically isolated shark teeth, especially of Isurus (mako sharks) and Carcharhinus (requiem sharks). However, many large teeth of Carcharocles megalodon have been found as well. The ancient shallow sea ecosystem also supported a diversity of bony fish, reptiles, birds, and marine mammals. Carmel Church is the type locality for the mysticete (baleen) whale, Eobalaenoptera harrisoni, and has produced numerous other cetacean taxa. In addition, 28 species of diatoms have been identified from the site, further correlating the fossiliferous zone of the Calvert Formation to Bed 15 of other localities. The Carmel Church site also has one of the richest land mammal faunas of the Calvert Formation, particularly for the upper section, including fossil horses, tapirs, and peccaries. Despite intense excavations over many years, the site is still producing a large volume of fossil material, allowing participants the opportunity to help contribute to new discoveries from this fascinating locality.


ISSN: 2333-0937
EISSN: 2333-0945
Serial Title: Field Guide (Geological Society of America)
Serial Volume: 47
Title: Fossil-collecting from the middle Miocene Carmel Church Quarry marine ecosystem in Caroline County, Virginia
Title: From the Blue Ridge to the beach; geological field excursions across Virginia
Author(s): Hastings, Alexander K.Dooley, Alton C., Jr.
Author(s): Bailey, Christopher M.editor
Author(s): Jaye, Shelleyeditor
Affiliation: Virginia Museum of Natural History, Martinsville, VA, United States
Affiliation: College of William and Mary, Department of Geology, Williamsburg, VA, United States
Pages: 77-88
Published: 201703
Text Language: English
Publisher: Geological Society of America, Boulder, CO, United States
References: 23
Accession Number: 2017-032788
Categories: Vertebrate paleontology
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus. incl. strat. col., 2 tables, sketch map
N37°46'60" - N38°15'00", W77°40'00" - W77°04'60"
Secondary Affiliation: Western Science Center, USA, United States
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2017, American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data supplied by the Geological Society of America, Boulder, CO, United States
Update Code: 201719
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