Celebrating the Richness of Paleontology through Fossil Hunting

Fossils of Aurora, North Carolina - The PCS Mine and the Aurora Fossil Museum

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Aurora, NC Weather:

Aurora, NC Pages:
All About the Aurora, NC site
Identification: Shark Fossils found at Aurora
Identification: All Fossils found at Aurora
Recommended Books
Fossil I.D. Sheets for NC

Recommended Book:

Please Note: The Mine is CLOSED to Fossil Collecting. There are, however, other places to find fossils in the area. See below:

Aurora, North Carolina Fossils
Aurora, North Carolina Fossil Collecting

Travel to Aurora, North Carolina to find Fossil Shark Teeth:
Including the Huge Megalodon Shark!

Aurora, North Carolina
Roughly 18-22 and 2.5-5 Million Years Old
Early Miocene and Pliocene
Pungo River and Yorktown Formations

Fossil Hunting in the PCS mine in Aurora, NC

Collecting guides discussing the fossil collecting area in the mine

Fossil Shark Tooth Hunting in North Carolina

Looking over the fossil collecting area at the mine in North Carolina

Large Megalodon found in North Carolina

A find of the day, a 4 5/8 megalodon tooth. Don't mind the oversized hard hat!

Giant megalodon tooth found in North Carolina

One of Amy's megalodon finds of the day, a giant 6" megalodon tooth. It's 6" even with the chipped off part

Fossil Hunting at Aurora, North Carolina

"No fossils for me"
After not finding anything decent all day, I decided to end fossil hunting and try modeling. As the picture shows, I was also unsuccessful at that.

About the Aurora Area in North Carolina

Aurora, NC is a quiet town just south of the Pamlico River in rural North Carolina. It has a population of well under 1000. Although this is a small rural town, there is a rich geologic history lying beneath Aurora. This makes it the capitol of the world for many fossil enthusiasts.

The Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan (PCS) is currently operating a large phosphate mine in Aurora. In the process of prospecting for phosphate, the mine digs through several fertile fossil-bearing formations. This gives paleontologists and fossil enthusiasts a unique opportunity to collect and study this rich fossil bearing material.

Aurora has a Museum devoted to the geologic diversity found under the town. The Aurora Fossil Museum contains a wide array of fossil displays collected from the PCS phosphate mine. These displays include numerous shark dentitions, including the jaws of a Giant Megatoothed shark, to a walrus skull and a whale skull. The museum also has a room devoted to native American artifacts from the area. Also, the PCS mine dumps piles of fossil bearing sediments at the museum for visitors to search through.

Brief Geologic History of North Carolina Coastal Plain:

Throughout the Tertiary, North Carolina was part of the Albemarle Embayment. The Albemarle Embayment was one of the large embayments of the Atlantic Coastal Plain. The other was the Salisbury Embayment, which presently takes the form of the Chesapeake Bay. The two embayments are collectively called the SAE (Salisbury and Albemarle Embayment)

Similar to the Salisbury Embayment, this embayment may have acted as a calving ground for whales. The embayment housed a large diversity of life, including reptiles, and all kinds of fish, including sharks such as C. megalodon. It housed numerous marine mammals including large baleen whales, porpoises, seals, and sea cows. Sea going birds also thrived in this embayment. Also, remains of land mammals that washed out to sea can occasionally be found including horses and camels.

Throughout the Tertiary, sediments and animal remains were deposited into formations. The two most popular formations (fossil-wise) are the Pungo River (Miocene) and Yorktown (Pliocene). Many other formations were also deposited ranging from the Eocene formations to Pleistocene formations (James City Formation). The PCS Phosphate mine digs through these formations in search of phosphate that has accumulated in this ancient embayment.

Minning for Phosphate Phosphate pebble from PCS mine, Aurora, NC

This video shows the draglines in action digging through the Yorktown and Pungo River Formations in order to get to the phosphate bed.
To see all my fossil videos, go to my Youtube page: Thefossilguy100

View a Sample of Fossils Found at Aurora, North Carolina:

If you plan on collecting around Aurora or the North Carolina Coasts and need fossils identified, this is your place, click the image below!

Fossil Collecting Collecting locations at Aurora, NC and North Carolina Coastal Spots

Please Note:The PCS mine is CLOSED to fossil collecting. Please don't call the mine or the museum asking to fossil collect in the mine.

1. The Aurora Fossil Museum
Aurora Fossil Museum

The Aurora Fossil Museum:
Before you collect these tertiary fossils, I highly recommend a visit first to the Aurora Fossil Museum. There you can see the type of fossils to look for, and even fossil hunt at their spoil pile across the street from the museum.

The Tailings at the Museum:
The Aurora Fossil Museum has spoil piles (of Pungo River tailings) right across the street for visitors look through & collect fossils.

This is a great spot to search for fossil shark teeth. It's also very family friendly. They also have a picnic area next to the piles.

2. Emarald Isle and Topsail Beach: North Carolina
Emerald Isle shark tooth collecting

Topsail Beach and Emerald Island:

These beaches have Miocene and Pliocene rock outcroppings on the shelf offshore. Water erodes this outcropping, setting fossil shark teeth free. Eventually they wash ashore. Although the large fossils rarely wash ashore, small ones are common.
Search the shell areas near the surf. Be patient and go through scoop after scoop. You'll eventually find the fossil shark teeth.
The teeth from these beaches are from the same type of sharks as at Aurora, so the identifications will be the same.
The fossils are usually black with some streaks of other dark colors. The black is from phosphate minerals replacing the original material. Black bone fragments are sometimes found as well.

Recommended Equipment

Shovel and Sifter, or Sifter Combo

The only fossil equipment you need to drastically increase your finds is either a shovel and sifter, or one of those sifter/shovel combos.

This is a light weight all in one sifter, you scoop, shake, and flip to sift. It's really convenient! 10" Shark Tooth Sifter (Tri Star) . This one only weighs 3.5 pounds and comes apart for easy storage. Made by Tri Star, a small family business in Venice, Fl.
They also sell a smaller 7" version for kids!

This is a sifter designed for shark tooth sifting: the Shark Tooth Seashell Floating Sieve Sifter . A floating sifter is a big help for sifting along coastal areas and rivers! This one is 15"x15" and has the recommended 1/4" mesh.

Recommended Books for North Carolina Fossil Collecting:


Shark Tooth Hunting on the Carolina Coast
by Ashley Oliphant, 2015

This is a new field guide for locating and identifying fossil shark teeth on the beaches of North and South Carolina. It is filled with clear photographs and easy to read descriptions.
There's not too many books about North Carolina Sharks teeth. This one is pretty good!


Fossil Shark Teeth of the World , A Collector's Guide
by Joe Cocke, 2002

A great book for identifying all those teeth. This book is laid out "as simple as possible." It's ease of use and small size makes it great to carry during collecting trips. This book shows teeth from around the globe, but all the Calvert teeth can be found in it.

Megalodon: Hunting the Hunter
by Mark Renz, 2002

A Great book about megatoothed sharks. A nice read for anyone interested in megalodons. It has sections dedicated to megalodon evolution, extinction, pathologies, and locations of meg fossil-hunting grounds around the world.

Unfortunately, this book appears to be out of print. There are tons of used ones. Occasionally, one can find a cheap used copy.

Seal/Dolphin ~ Phoca/Stenella: A Skeletal Comparison of Two Marine Mammals
by John R. Timmerman, 1997

This is a very good book if you want to attempt to identify the numerous bone fragments encountered at this site.
This book can be purchased through the North Carolina Fossil Club - When at their website, click on the publications tab.

Links to other websites about Aurora, NC:

The best site on the web! Dedicated to Aurora, and many other sites!

Aurora Fossil Museum
The Aurora Fossil Museum