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Low-Co Otodus

I’ve been getting my fill of the North Carolina Cretaceous on the past couple of outings, so back in early February I decided it was again time to make a road trip to the Low Country of South Carolina. My daughter Juli was coming along so when the area received an inch of rain on Thursday I was teetering as to whether we should postpone the trip to another weekend. The outlook was bleak until I received a message from PaleoBum Friday afternoon indicating we would be able to collect at a quarry with a new early Eocene formation - it was Go time!. Saturday morning temps were in the low to mid 30s and aside from the one 7 mile detour thanks to mapquest, we arrived at our meeting place as planned. We signed in at the office and headed out into the quarry. I wasn’t sure whether the minivan would be able to get through the 8 inches of mud lying on the access road but it handled like a champ. The area we going to collect was a 200 ft stretch of 10'-15' mounds placed along the roadside for the museum to study and collect from. As it turned out the quarry was in the process of removing the mounds to allow for the expansion of mining activities - another few days and they would have been gone. After a quick geology lesson from PaleoBum, we understood what we were looking for - weathered dark brownish/gray material. The un-named formation we were after resides at the bottom of the lake created in the mining process. The drag lines scrape the limestone formation from the bottom until they start bringing up this darker layer. Once the operator sees it, they move to the next spot and repeat the process. Normally this fossiliferous layer would never see the light of day, but the quarry was nice enough to dig down beyond where they normally would and create these mounds for study. We quickly saw that there were plenty of small croc and shark teeth to be had. Juli found a nice 1.25" croc tooth within the first 10 minutes - her first one ever. About an hour into the collecting I picked up what I initially thought was 3/4 of a small Auriculatus. I didn’t bother to wipe off the dirt and placed it right into my container. About a half hour after that, I picked up what at first glance looked like another small Auriculatus. This one had only some slight tip damage and after wiping the dirt off I realized that these were in fact Otodus teeth. This second tooth was by far the nicest Otodus I’ve ever found and my day was made. We collected until about noon time and after shoveling a couple of gallons of material to search through at home, we departed the quarry to get some food and move on to our next destination. We arrived at the quarry at Cross at about 1:30. The mound we were going to collect was about a mile from the entrance and again there was thick mud every inch of the way. Juli kept reminding me of the potential mom reactions if she saw the car - a small price to pay for a quality day of fossiling. We arrived at our destination and again received a quick geology lesson from Paleobum. The collection area was a huge mound of Pliocene overburden removed to allow the mining equipment to get at the limestone formations below. We parked a short distance from the mound and hiked the remaining 1/4 mile around the pit which allowed us to take in some of the more recent signs of nature including numerous racoon, deer and bobcat tracks. We arrived at the mound picking up a beat up piece of meg on our ascent to the top. Once at the collecting area we could see there was a lot of fish and invert material including some nice dime sized sand dollars that Juli enjoyed picking up. We scanned for a little over an hour picking up a couple of beat up smaller teeth with a small sand tiger tooth in limestone matrix being the nicest find. As the cold began to take its hold through our rubber boots we all agreed it was time to call it a day. We thanked PaleoBum for an unforgettable day of fossiling and headed out. Once on the road I again began to hear the “ Mom’s going to flip when she sees the car” comments. I found the first gas station with a car wash and sprang for the deluxe wash with under-carriage treatment - not a word was said.
Location South Carolina, South Carolina, USA

ID791
Memberxiphodan
Date Added3/2/2007

The drag lines scrape the limestone off the bottom until they hit the darker formation and move on to the next spot.
The drag-line operators formed these mounds for study. You can see how the mound gets darker towards the top indicating the older formation.
Our finds from the mounds.
The combined Otodus finds for the day.
A nice ray plate that PaleoBum found.
A large leatherback turtle scute.
Juli and I at Cross. The large mound on the far side of the pit is where we collected.
Our finds from Cross.
This small tooth was embedded in a 50 pound block of limestone. Fortunately the matrix was soft and we were able to chisel it out.
  

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1 1/4" Otodus Shark Tooth
1 1/4" Otodus Shark Tooth
  

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