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May 2017

The famous Faringdon sponge

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FOSSIL SPONGES

115 million years old

Faringdon Sponge Gravels
Faringdon, Oxfordshire

These gravels were formed during the Cretaceous period when the area was submerged beneath the sea. Sponges lived on the sea floor and when they died underwater currents swept them into hollows where they accumulated to form the gravels.

The Faringdon Sponge Gravels is part of the Lower Greensand. It is composed predominantly of the remains of calcareous sponges, with brachiopods, echinoderms and bryozoa. Derived fossils such as reptile bones from older formations also occur such as a partial Ichthyosaur rostrum I have (I think that’s what it is at present).

I’ve only lightly dusted them as they will make a great prepping project for someone to pick out all the tiny pieces of gravels.

Except for this one as an example which I believe to be the sponge Raphidonema Faringdonense, a classic fossil from the Faringdon Sponge Gravels.

These specimens are from an old collection and were collected at the date below give or take a few weeks. ​ I’ve decided to keep the old newspaper that the fossils were wrapped up in with the fossils for future generations to read.

Thank you for bringing them to light T&J 😉

Regards,

SDGS.

Dermal tubercles found at Steeplehouse quarry

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Found on a previous SDGS field trip
Name: Petrodus patelliformis (dermal denticles)
Age: Carboniferous
Location: Steeplehouse quarry, Wirksworth, Derbyshire, United Kingdom

The scale bar is in millimetres.
Petrodus patelliformis dermal denticle

Petrodus patelliformis dermal denticle

Petrodus patelliformis dermal denticle

Petrodus patelliformis dermal denticle

Petrodus patelliformis dermal denticle and associated crinoids

Additional information quoted below from the excellent ukfossils.co.uk website which I thought was very informative.

” The shark remains are the most interesting aspect of this quarry. The bedding plains of the large slabs are full of dermal tubercles of the shark-like fish, Petrodus patelliformis. These are hard to see and most are worn, but they are 5 to 8mm in size and look a bit like squashed limpets. Tiny teeth from another shark, Anachronistes fordi, can also be found. Remains from both of these sharks are normally rare from the Carboniferous, but are quite common here, suggesting that a shoal of them suffered a mass mortality event. ”

Brought to light by T&J 😉

 

Just a quick note for two long-standing members “T&J”

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Dear Terry & Jean,

That was the most enjoyable short visit, on route to pick up chickens imaginable. Watching my children scurry around your gardens was like out of a scene from Alison in Wonderland. While Clare and I stepped in and out of what felt like little Aladdin Caves dotted around your rather picturesque abode.

As promised the TLC with further research has started on some of the fossils/minerals you have “loaned” to us. There is a lot to learn at present i.e. reclassification from these finds and especially for potential “keepers” in the future.

While Elliot attended to the new chicken additions, Iris (pictured below) topped up her fairy rockery which is made up of the bivalve Pholadomya fidicula, with some of your fragmented Bajocian bivalves from Ketton Quarry (I need to reclassify some of the complete ones working from the note that was in the box).

Clare took the rhubarb you gave us around to her Grannies house, who was most delighted to have the missing ingredient for her apple and rhubarb crumble.

As for me I got to work on some of the Ordovician shale’s (pictured below).

The graptolite (pictured below from one of your shale’s) is normally found at Abereiddy Bay and is a species known as the ‘tuning-fork’ graptolite, Didymograptus murchisoni. It existed for only a relatively short period of time, during the latter part of the Middle Ordovician, about 470 to 464mya. Therefore, it is used as an index fossil for this period of time, which geologists refer to as the Llanvirn stage (after a farmer’s cottage on the lane leading to Abereiddy).

Didymograptus murchisoni

We have also spotted what appears to be some kind of crystal rosettes ( pictured below ),though they are the same colour as the graptolites…so the jury is still out with these at the moment.

Also a rare, all be it fragmented Trinucleus fimbriatus trilobite from the same pieces of shale ( pictured below ).

(pictured below is a museum example of Trinucleus fimbriatus  ).

As you both know there’s a lot more intriguing finds to get through. With Elliot stepping up to the plate on the minerals, scribbling notes here, there, and everywhere.

Perhaps when we meet again you could tell us some associated stories that go with the finds. As I can see from some of your additional notes in the boxes they were found on organised Stamford and District Geological Society field trips.

…..that would make for a very interesting read indeed 😉

All the best from the SDGS “family members”” the Withers family “

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