Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Jurassic Parking Lot


During our visit to the James E. Grey Preserve down in New Port Richey, I couldn't stop staring at the parking lot aggregate. The entire lot was "paved" with sea shells ... fossil seashells.
It's probable that they were quarried in nearby counties where large deposits of shell and lime rock remind us of Florida's submerged history. Sweet Florida expands during ice ages and contracts as global warming ends those ice ages and seas refill covering much of the peninsula.
You dieters will recognize this as the original yoyo effect.
I get a kick out of imagining that somewhere in the far future, there is a another shallow sea covering PFHQ and mollusks like these are enjoying "my" little piece of paradise.
The animals who made these shells lived in a shallow sea that covered the southern half of Florida millions of years ago. How many millions of years depends on the deposit they were quarried from, but certainly anywhere from 1 to 25 million years is a good ballpark.
So the title is a bit misleading, if you know your prehistoric time zones, but I couldn't resist the pun.
After the park dedication, as we stood around in the lot talking and trying to decide where to go eat (Beef O'Brady's), I couldn't focus on the conversation even though I was pretty hungry by then.
The shells kept calling me and I found myself head down, toe riffling through the shelly gravel, seeking the fossil shark teeth that must be there somewhere.
I did not find any ... this time.

9 comments:

dani813 said...

We get alot of strange looks when we hang out in the parking lots doing this. Even better but illegal, Mr. can drive by construction sites and spot a good pile that they've brought in and goes back later and gets a couple buckets full. We have the best time in the backyard with the sifter and hose finding teeth and bone.

Jason said...

The aggregate they used to pave the parking lot of our rental unit has fossil shark teeth in it. An occasional stingray barb too. Lots of fun walking the dog, looking for fossils in the pavement.

roger said...

i'm jealous. we have to walk on the beach at low tide to see fossilized shells, but then we also get to see fossilized whale bones too.

there is some irony about a fossil shell paved parking lot for vehicles powered by ancient plant mass (oil).

robin andrea said...

It seems a rather ignoble end for a fossil to end up in a parking lot. Nothing like paving paradise with even more ancient paradise. OTOH, I wouldn't mind finding a shark's tooth on the way to the car.

Deb said...

Usually I keep my eyes down on roads and parking lots, but here they are gravel and I'm looking for agates. Shark teeth would be cool, though.

Floridacracker said...

Dani,
Your little one is so lucky. You are providing such cool experiences.
I've borrowed gravel too.
;)


Jason,
It's really addicting isn't it?


rober,
actually, whale vertebrae and ribs turn up in this stuff sometimes.i see the irony too.

Robin,
You wouldn't want to walk on this barefoot, but as paving it is nice and porous so rain can percolate into the soil.
Fossilized sharks teeth are shiny and dark so they really stand out, especially after a rain.


Deb,
Agates would be cool. I remember walking around Cumberland Island National Seashore once after a rain. The NPS had paved the dirt road with shell gravel and shark's teeth were pretty easy to find.

Rurality said...

Sure, sure, taunt us with your "fossils, fossils everywhere" tales!

I dug one of those whelky things up in my yard once here in Alabama. Now THAT was cool!

threecollie said...

Treasure hunting-the best thing. Fossil sharks' teeth-the best treasure hunting....I am plumb green with envy.

Floridacracker said...

Rurality,
Yeah, but you have rocks.

3C,
I love treasure hunting ... I can burn up some serious hours looking for goodies.