Last Update: 10/11/04
C & D Canal in DE
65 to 85 Million Years Old
Late Cretaceous, Maastrichtian
Mount Laurel Formation
"Yup... a canal"
The fossils found in the spoil piles come from the Mount Laurel
formation which is dredged up from the bottom of the canal. This formation
was deposited during the late Cretaceous, somewhere between
65 to 85 million years ago. This was a time when the great interior
seaway of North America began to close, and a new ocean was forming.
During this time, this area was just off the coast in the
new Atlantic Ocean.
According to the fossils found in the formation, this area was full of
Beleminites. Also, Mosasaurs and
sharks thrived. Along the coast,
Dinosaurs, such as hadrosaurs, were still common.
Please note though, masosaur and dinosaur bone fragments are extremely rare. However, you will
find literaly hundreds of belemnites, and some nice shells. Also, shark teeth are occasionally
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has jurisdiction over these canal lands.
They allow small scale collecting for private collections.
It is illegal to collect fossils from the area to sell.
Just south of Delaware city near the base
of Reedy Point Bridge on Rt 9 are spoil piles from the canal (you can se the bridge
in the images above).
To get to the spoils, go toward the bridge from Delaware city, just before going onto
the bridge, make a right onto a small road, this road will lead to the edge
of the canal, make a left, you will see a small road leading to the spoil piles.
There are also dredge spoil piles near St. Georges, again, follow the road next
to the canal until you see the piles.
A visitor to this website went here in late 2004. He indicated fossils are still
plentiful, however much of the place is overgrown with vegitation (Thank you for the update!).
So be prepared to hack through some vegitation when collecting here.
A stick or something to move the sand around.
Thick shoes to protect against all the broken glass.
Delaware Geological Survey Special Publication No. 18 "Cretaceous Fossils
from the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal: A Guide for Students and
by E.M. Lauginiger
Delaware Geological Survey
It would probably be good to collect after a rain, so more fossils will be
washed out of the sand.
Also, look around in the "shrubbery." In these areas, the fossils
are less likely to be run over and smashed.
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