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Collecting sites around Maryland/Delaware

Posted by asdaven  
Collecting sites around Maryland/Delaware
January 05, 2006 08:42PM
What some good collecting sites around maryland and delaware where you don't need a permit or belong to a club? I am interested in fossil sites, rock sites, minerals sites, maybe geode sites. I think most of which you find in maryland is fossils. Anybody know where you can collect patuxent river agate or patuxent river stone? Any sites within a 2 hour drive of the baltimore/washington area?
Anonymous User
Re: Collecting sites around Maryland/Delaware
January 06, 2006 06:35AM
Hey, asdaven!
There are a number of good fossil locations in your area! Mostly Miocene Era marine fossils ie. shark's teeth, cetacean bone & teeth, bivalves, gastropods, castes, etc. If you map quest these names you can get directions-Purse SP, MD (on the Potomac, near LaPlata), Westmoreland SP, VA (on the Potomac, near nothing), Calvert Cliffs SP (on the Chesapeake Bay). I'd also recommend Jasper Burns book "Fossil Collecting in the Mid-Atlantic States" as a good referance for a few more places in your area. There is also a Triassic Basin that runs from VA to NJ so it has to cut thru MD somewhere. As far as mineral/rock sites go I'm afraid you're going to have to bite the bullet and join a local club in the area. Most of the best sites in the area are in quarries and they are reluctant to let clubs in let alone individuals. So, unless you luck out on a construction site your choices are limited to road cuts or private property.
PS- if you want more specific info on the fossil sites I mentioned just let me know. I've been to all of them several times (at least!) and would be glad to give you a couple of pointers, if needed.
Re: Collecting sites around Maryland/Delaware
January 06, 2006 08:04PM
Actually, I have been to the calvert cliffs probably 10 times or more but at different spots where different formations are exposed. I have been to chesapeake beach (bay front park or also called brownies beach), breezy point beach, flag ponds nature park, and calvert cliffs state park. Been to all of these places at least twice, except breezy point. Have also seen some fossils up in north beach which is a 1/2 a mile north of chesapeake beach. Bay Front Park is the best as far as finding fossil in abundance. Most of the stuff I have collected at these places has been small. Found a lot of stuff as far as different types of shark teeth and ray dental plates and some coral. But, nothing else. I have done sifting in the sand and just looking on the beach. Do you know of any other calvert cliff sites? What pointers do you have? Have been to Purse State Park once, found mostly shark teeth that look different from the ones I have collected at calvert cliffs and found some ray dental plates there. I have not been to Westmoreland State Park, but want to get there, but it is a 2 1/2 hour to 3 hour drive from my house. Do you know anything about the C&D Canal collecting site(s) up in delaware where you collect in the dredge spoil piles? I have heard of it, but I don't know where it is and what the rules are.
Anonymous User
Re: Collecting sites around Maryland/Delaware
January 10, 2006 10:40AM
Hey, asdaven!
Sorry its taken me a few days to respond (been moving out of my old apt.). Let me see if I can help a little....IRT-Purse SP. The shark's teeth are different because they come from a different formation (St Mary's or Aquia if I remember correctly), not Calvert Cliff. There are two families that are overwhelmingly there; sand tigers and mackeral sharks. However if you go down river from the beach entrance, past the duck blind and around the point you'll find some very nice turretella caste (4"-5"L) and ostrea shells. The C&D Canal- I've never been there but it is mentioned in the book I referanced and the last I heard (3 monthes ago at our clubs annual swap-meet) it was still available. By far, the best collecting I've found in the MD/DE/VA/PA area for these type, Miocene Era marine fossils, is down here south of Richmond on the James River. Just outside of the town of Surry, VA. I've found everything from Meg/Mako/tiger/sand-tiger/cow/snaggle-toothed shark's teeth; whale & porpise teeth and bone; dentalium/olive/cone shells; Ecphora shells (big as grapefruits), chesapectens (10"-12"); placopectens (5"); limpets; and one lady with a manatee tooth she had just found! I'm even leading a trip down there this weekend for the club I belong to. I know its a long way from home for you but if you ever decide to give it a try just get in touch with me and I'll see about taking you down there and filling up your car for you! Check out that book by Jasper Burns I mentioned, its full of much more helpful info! (sorry about all the errors-I nevr did lurn tto spel two gud) smiling smiley Good Luck! Mark
Re: Collecting sites around Maryland/Delaware
January 10, 2006 08:18PM
Any other tips on finding a tooth that is 1 inch or over at calvert cliffs or purse state park? Is westmoreland state park a good site? Is it any better than Purse SP? Is there a trail to the turretellas at purse state park? Do you follow the beach? Don't remember there being much beach. Have only been there once. Is it the same formation at westmoreland state park? Purse State Park is a much shorter drive for me. Richmond is very far from my house, so I can't make it down there. Could you maybe sent some fossils though the mail to me? Is the fossils down at richmond the same era as those found at Aurora,NC?
Anonymous User
Re: Collecting sites around Maryland/Delaware
January 11, 2006 11:31AM
Whew! lot of questions! Let me give a caveat first-all my ref. books are still packed up due to my move so everything dealing with forms., geographical structures and the like are going to be from memory. Tips on finding large teeth? Patience, time, and location. Mostly PATIENCE! Out of the hundreds of teeth I've collected over the years, I only have a handful that are over 2". Understand that only a handful of shark species ever developed large teeth. So if only 1 out of 50 species in a given area developed large teeth what are your chances of finding one? Make sure that the area you're searching is the right age and has the right forms. for large teeth. One trick is to look for cetacean remains. Since the megs/makos co-existed with them at least you know you're in the right area.
Westmoreland SP is on par with Calvert Cliffs SP-few more teeth, few less shells.
For the turretellas at Purse SP-follow the beach and check for low tide schedual. It'll take about 30-45 mins. walking down river to start finding them in the bank or washed out on the beach. Its a different form. than Calvert Cliffs so the fossils are going to be somewhat different, as well.
The fossils from around here in Richmond are very close in age to the ones found at Aurora/Lee Creek/PCS (whatever you want to call it). Same era and even one of the same forms. crop out up here. It was a different environment however. Lee Creek's deposits were formed in a calm bay behind a barrier island according to current theory. The deposit at Surry seems to be from a fairly open bay with possibly an underwater channel or cliff face.
Anyhow...(whew! long winded for me) I'd be glad to send you some stuff. Just e-mail me with your address at as well as any other question or comments that I might be able to help you with. Jolyon said he didn't mind limited fossil discussion on mindat but I think we're getting past the "limited" point. smiling smiley Mark
Re: Collecting sites around Maryland/Delaware
January 11, 2006 08:44PM
Will email you- I have not been able to find any shark teeth past 3/4 inch. I only have found one that long. A lot of them are 1/2 inch and most of them are very small (1/16 inch). How is westmoreland state park compare to Purse State Park? Is it the same formation as Purse State Park? I don't think Westmoreland and Calvert Cliffs are the same formation or era.
Re: Collecting sites around Maryland/Delaware
January 20, 2006 07:01AM
I'm a creek hog, myself, looking for fossils and native american artifacts. Not sure if you are looking for specific fossils, but there is a great spot along a creek right next to Rosecroft Raceway that runs parallel and cuts through Brinkley Rd. I have never been anywhere that yielded such an abundance of Ostrea molds. They are literally everywhere. Take your pick. Most still retain calcium linings, making them appear even more shell-like. You can also find other various shell fossils there.
Another good place is along the Piscataway Creek that passes under Rt. 210. There is a cliff face there, and this time of year (winter) is a great time to go to avoid all the nasty mosquitos and overgrown foliage. You can find tons and tons of turretella molds there. That's pretty much it. Also a great area to scout for arrowheads and such from the Piscataway Indian that used to have their seate there.

I haven't been to Westmoreland State Park over in VA, but plan to go there in the spring and look for sharks teeth. It's really too bad that there is so much private land off limits to fossil seekers.

Good luck!
Re: Collecting sites around Maryland/Delaware
January 20, 2006 10:45PM
Are both those places you mentioned, public property? Don't want to trespass on someones property. Where can you park?
Paul Howard
Re: Collecting sites around Maryland/Delaware/Virginia
March 14, 2006 12:50AM
There is a geological formation that runs roughly from the northeast to the southwest, beginning on the eastern shore of Maryland and ending somewhere around the Virginia/North Carolina border. It cuts through all the rivers in between. Our family, years ago, extracted a great number of examples from the Horse Shoe Cliffs at Westmoreland State Park and Strattford Hall. At different times I have since found similar material near St. Mary's, Maryland, Yorktown, Virginia, and Norfolk's beaches. Looking to go back on a search for more material has been blunted, since most land available to collecting is private property, or public property where collecting has become more strictly prohibited. I feel that there is an unbeleivable amount of material easily accessed without harming nature. Perhaps some of this will again be available to interested, serious collectors by property owners.
avatar Re: Collecting sites around Maryland/Delaware
March 14, 2006 04:39AM
what was found there?
Re: Collecting sites around Maryland/Delaware
April 05, 2006 12:33AM
Hi. Sorry to horn in on the conversation, but the site outside of Surry, VA, caught my eye. I've been to most of the places in Burns' book but have never heard of the Surry site. Can you tell me exactly where this site is? I'd like to give it a shot in a couple of weeks. What kind of quantity of shark's teeth do you usually find? I'm used to picking up maybe 200-300 teeth in 3-6 hours' time at my favorite couple of spots (although they're not usually very large at all). I'd love to find a new favorite site, even though it would be quite a hike for me to get there (from northern Maryland). Thanks!
Mike Hudson
Re: Collecting sites around Maryland/Delaware
July 04, 2006 03:56AM
I used to collect tons of sharks teeth as a kid in my old neighborhood in Princegeorge VA . Now I have my own kids and would like to have fun with them looking for sharks teeth as I did . Now however the old places I used to go are occupied by houses or are otherwise on private land anyone know good spots we could go and have fun looking for teeth ? Thanks
Re: Collecting sites around Maryland/Delaware
August 01, 2006 04:55AM
Hi,I live in Newark Delaware and I was wondering if there are any good places to look for sharkteeth and fossils within a not so long drive. I only know of one place to look but it is too far. Thanks
Re: Collecting sites around Maryland/Delaware
October 01, 2006 12:16AM
Mark- Are you still there? Did you ever recieve that package of fossils I sent back to you? I tried your email, but it has been discountinued. Are you still offering the KY and NY fossils? I decided against the wv plant fossils as I already have some from PA. I am interested in the horn coral, bryozoans, nataloids, crinoid stems, and trilobite fragments.
Joseph Lipovsky
Re: Collecting sites around Maryland/Delaware
November 19, 2006 08:24AM
I have been to both the Henson Creek site near Rosecroft Raceway and the site where Piscataway Creek passses under route 210. The Henson Creek site is loaded as discussed above. There were also shark teeth in the creek. At the Piscataway site I found a broken 4 inch tooth. I live in Illinois now but still go back and collect when I am in town.
Mike Speelman
Re: Collecting sites around Maryland/Delaware
January 15, 2007 03:10AM
Does anyone know of collecting sites in or around the College Park, Beltsville, Greenbelt area?
Re: Collecting sites around Maryland/Delaware
January 20, 2007 03:31PM
Is that henson creek and the piscataway site public property? Do you need promission? Do you have directions? Is there parking?
Re: Collecting sites around Maryland/Delaware
January 24, 2007 06:28AM
I was given shark teeth when delaware rout one was built by some family contruction workers in the Dover area...You can fine some info on this at Del Dot ,in Dover De.
Re: Collecting sites around Maryland/Delaware
January 29, 2007 03:09AM
The site referenced above from the Delaware Route 1 excavation is no longer accessible. The old Pollack Farm (as it was known) is currently a re-created wetland. The Delaware Geological Survey rescued a fair amount of material from the site for study and reference, but the zones that the mateial came from you can't get to anymore because of the reconstruction that went on at the site.

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