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m4's Inversand Trip

Well, after years of waiting for a trip to this spot, today was the day. I have heard about the Inversand Pit in Sewell, Gloucester County, New Jersey for years and have been looking forward to visiting this site. It has a reputation for Cretaceous Mosasaur and Crocodile remains, and often times the remains are associated. This spot also has a nice view of the KT boundary so a very cool spot to be at. I was hoping to find a Crocodile vertebra or two and maybe a few sharks teeth so with hopes high and 1.5 hour drive behind me I was finally there. It was a lot smaller of a place then I had imagined, so I decided after a quick walk around surface scouring this was going to have to be a DW type of day - find the layer and go digging!!!! It took a while to figure out what was the “layer” but after a helpful nudge from our trip sponsor I was hunkered down and digging. The layer here is referred to as the MFL or Main Fossiliferous Layer and is located in the basal Hornerstown Formation. I had been told that the crocodile fossils were very fragile so I decided to dig with a large screwdriver – no shovel or pick on this stuff. The layer was a very sandy marine clay and was extremely easy to dig through. After about 2 hours though, ease became replaced with frustration – I had found only a small section of turtle shell and had moved over 10’ by 4’ by 3’ of dirt!!! After considering a move to another spot, I took a break and decided to tough it out. While starting up, another DVPS club member came by to check out the hole. He mentioned that several years ago he had found a string of crocodile vertebra at the same level in the layer I was excavating and then, I kid you not, as soon as he finished his story, I hit some bone. It was way flakier than I had counted on and so I had to go get the paleobond from the car. With no plaster, and the layer too sandy to just remove in a block, our host gave me the idea of just spraying the area with the paleobond and let it set the whole thing in place – Great idea!!! There were a number of scutes and verts visible but it was going to have to wait a few weeks after drying out to see how many were really in there. I made sure that the host had no objection to me taking the specimen (it is a NJ State Museum research site) and he was cool with me taking it home – SWEET!!! A few weeks later I prepped it out. Some verts were good enough to remove as single pieces but there was a mass of bone that I decided to just prep in a relief pose. The NJSM host has identified the specimen as the small Cretaceous Crocodile Thoracosaurus, sp. In total there are 13 vertebra and over 5 scutes of varying size. No teeth, but there are some rib and limb fragments in there as well. Very cool!!! I’m creating a display jacket for the main section and kidding around with the idea to make a travel jacket as well. We’ll see how it goes….
Location Gloucester County, New Jersey, USA

Date Added7/8/2006

View of the hole
View of the pit
bone mass
Croc bits
other bones and shell casts

Inversand trip, Sept 2007
Inversand trip, Sept 2007
Fossil hunting trip to Inversand Pit in Sewell, Gloucester County, New Jersey
Fossil hunting trip to Inversand Pit in Sewell, Gloucester County, New Jersey





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