Day trip to the moler museum Mors
Last Updated: 4th Mar 2013
Why go to visit a moler museum, some may ask? Well it is the only mineral related museum in my neighbourhood.O.K. there is also one on Fur, but for me it would be a detour of half the country, so that is why the molermuseum is the goal of my trip. They mostly have fossils on display. Oh there is also some large pseudomorph after Ikaite.
Some say the world largest. But what is moler? well the Danish word moler is somehow redundant. The first part Mo is dialect, and mean claysoil, and the second part Ler mean clay. The moler or mo-clay as I will call it from now on,consist of diatoms and clay minerals, a so called clayey diatomite.Diatoms are microscopic opaline algae living as plankton near the surface of the sea. After the diatoms lifespan they sink to the ocean bed, and make the large mo-clay layers we now have today. A total of 110 species of diatoms are identified in the mo-clay The largest are 0.2mm and the smallest 0.02-0.04mm.
Apart from diatoms the mo-clay contains radiolarians and silicoflagellates, both repsentatives of siliceous microfossils, whereas calcareous microfossils are lacking. This has prolonged the discussion of the age of the mo-clay and its biostratigraphic correlation to Tertiary depostis elsewhere in Europe.( The Fur formation is 54-55 mill. years old)
Was the calcareous plankton absent or are the calcareous microfossils lost due to dissolution? It is likely that the lack of calcareous microfossils is partty the result of post-sedimentary dissolution. The mo-clay contains also a significant amount of clay minerals. The dominant clay mineral is smectite. An analysis shows that the mo-clay on an average consist of 2/3 of diatoms and 1/3 of smectite. Whithin the mo-clay are several ash layers. Each individual ash layer reflects one volcanic eruption. The ash layers has been numbered from -39 to +140. During the eruption the volcamic ash formed a cloud which spread and eventually reached the sea that covered the present Jutland. The ash particles fell through the air and settled through the water column and ended by forming a layer on the sea floor. One of the ash layers -19 is bluish and its composition is comparable to kimberlite. Sorry no diamonds to be found.
Also in the mo-clay Calcareous concretions (Cementsten in danish) occur as lenses or continuous layers. Within the concretions the pore spaces are filled with Calcite. These concretions are interesting from several points of view: They are found at specific stratigraphic levels and are useful in the recognition of a given level. They are indurated wich means that fossils found in the concretions are better able to stand handling and transport than fossils found in the soft mo-clay. The concretions was formed early after deposition of the sediment, and the fossils are therefore preserved uncompacted. The mo-clay contains fossils which are rare in most other marine sediments,and lack fossil which are common in most other fine-grained sediments. In the mo-clay one may find: Fossils that represent the life in the sea: Fish,planktonic organisms. Fossils transported from the surrounding land: insects,wood,leaves,seed and some rare birds. Trace fossils: Soft-bodied fauna from the sea floor.
The Molermuseum has several petrified wood trunks in exhibition, some reach 4-5 meters. A find of a trunk with a small colony of attached bivalves (Mytilus roesnaesiensis) proves that the trunk floated in relatively shallow water for some time before it sank to the sea floor. Found of foilage and cones suggest that most of the petrified wood are cornifers. Redwood (sequoia) Araucaria and Ginko are recorded.Impressions of leaves and flattened stems are also found in the mo-clay. The most common are bamboo-like grasses.
A single leaf of salvinia, a tropical water fern, has also been found. The plant material includes fascicles of pine needles, winged coniferous seed and nuts.
In the dating of the Fur formation the leaves of macclintockia have played a large role.The plant is now extinct, but the leaves are reported from many Paleocene and Eocene deposits. The leaves are large and often the tip is missing. This could indicate that the plant shed leaves which had begun to wither. The withered tips were less resistant during tranport and are missing in many of the fossil finds.
The moler museum has also a large number of insects, the following insects have been recorded: Pentatomoid bugs,cicadas,crane flies,caddisflies,flies,beetles,lacewings and grasshoppers.
the museum has fragments of about 70 birds, and one almost complete fossil. It belongs to the order Coraciiformes which today include birds as Kingfishers,hornbills,bee-eaters,rollers and hoopoes.
The most common fish found in the mo-clay is a small argentinoid, a slim pelagic plankton-feeder. but the museum has also fossils of Mackerel,eel and Osmeroid. Also some Exotic fish like Polymixiids (beardfish) And Sharks represented by teeth. Minerals from the mo-clay are not so plenty as the fossils. But Calcite, Gypsum, Natrojarosite, Opal can be found and some in crystals. By the way the large calcite crystals after Ikaite not to forget. The crystals are fusiform, typically 10-30 cm long and 5-10 cm in largest diameter. Often they grew as aggregates of radiating crystals.
One large crystal on 82 cm are in the museum and put together with the other radiating crystals will make a total of 1,5 meters in diameter.
If you are a fossil collector the Mo-clay on Mors and Fur is a good possibility to find something interesting. If you are a Mineral collector there is a chance of finding the large Calcite pseudomorph. But to get that you need two things:1) luck.2) speed. Because you need to get there before the museum curator, who have informers at the local workers in the mo-clay quarry,and he normally get there first. He is by the way a friendly person, who are willing to give tip to collectors. But maybe more to paying visitors. He is also chairman of the local Rock and fossil club.
I would like to have posted some more photos from the museum, but the photos did not turn out very good (as usually)
But the mo-clay museum is worth a visit I would say.
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Locality Updated: Gatch Quarry (Gatch Crushed Stone Company Inc.), Harford Co., Maryland, USAFrom Bruce Wayne Osborne, 6th Dec 2013 03:45:19