• "Celebrating the Richness of Paleontology through Fossil Hunting"

Aurora, NC Fossil Trip - 2008


Please note, the Mine is CLOSED to collecting - This is an older trip report from 2008. Please don't call the mine or museum asking to fossil hunt in the mine. You can still fossil hunt at the mine tailings in front of the museum. Go to the Aurora page for more information.




Fall Aurora Fossil Trip Report from back in 2008
Desert Survival Strategies 101



fossil hunting in Aurora, North Carolina

fossil hunting in Aurora, North Carolina


HOT would be the one word to describe this mine trip. If two words could describe it. it would be "very hot." Upon arriving in the parking lot at 7:00 am. we already noticed people saying that is was humid. Heck, the sun had just risen, revealing a thick fog just minutes ago. We knew this would be a hot day, especially in the mine; at 100 feet down, it has a death valley like effect.

By 8:30 eveveryone was drenched in sweat. When 9:00 arrived and our water was half gone and our clothes drenched. we found ourselves discussing desert survival strategies. Here are a few notable ones.

1. Keep your mouth shut to prevent excess moisture from escaping the body

2. Cover up from head to toe. In my case, an old dish towel from head to neck worked wonders.

3. Bodies of desert victims are most often found with bottles of water on them. They try to conserve water by not drinking it and then die of dehydration. Therefore, don't conserve water. When you're thirsty, drink it!

4.Well, I forgot #4. because at that moment I spied a megalodon shark tooth!

Fortunately, right when I was getting ready to curl up and die from heat exhaustion I spied a fossil megalodon tooth and all was well. Who cares about the heat, there are megalodon fossils here! The first megalodon shark tooth of my day was a 3" one lying fully exposed from the tropical storm that passed through the day before. After that, the fossil pickings were sparse.

The next descent megalodon tooth came when I spied a little piece of root sticking out of limestone in the Pungo contact layer. Finding teeth in matrix is a mixed blessing. On one hand a tooth has been found and that's the point of coming to Aurora. On the other hand they are usually in boulders of dense limestone that need chiseled down. The last thing someone wants to do is chisel for 45 minutes in the searing heat.

I finally got the limestone with the tooth into a manageable 30 pound block and got the tooth mostly exposed. It turned out to be a beautiful 3 5/8" tooth. Not wanting to carry this 30 lb block around with me in the heat, I headed back to the bus, probably 3/4 mile away.

After making the grueling hike up and down countless ridges I arrived at the bus to see some people already gathering for the early bus out of the mine. Yes, the heat was taking its toll. Some people were starting to get heat exhaustion. There ended up being two early busses out of the mine. The last bus out, the 3:00 bus, which Amy and I took, had only about 15 people on it. That seemed crazy as this was the first day of the season; this day contained the diehard collectors and paleontologists who stop at nothing to fossil hunt. Overall, lots of megs were found. The find of the trip was George Powell's 5.5" perfect monster megalodon shark tooth. Thank you PCS for allowing us back into the mine this season!


The megalodon find of the day, a giant 6 inch fossil megalodon shark tooth. It's 6 inches even with the chipped off tip.

The megalodon find of the day, a giant 6 inch fossil megalodon shark tooth. It's 6 inches even with the chipped off tip.






Below are the fossil found from the mine in Aurora, NC


Here I am searching a ridge.  Notice the dish towel to defend against the sun.

Here I am searching a ridge. Notice the dish towel to defend against the sun.


Here is an other hazard of the mine.  Black Widow spiders.  Watch where you put your hands while climbing up ridges! I almost put my hand on this one.

Here is an other hazard of the mine. Black Widow spiders. Watch where you put your hands while climbing up ridges! I almost put my hand on this one.









Here is the first megalodon (chubutensis) shark tooth found.  Lying exposed on a hillside of pungo.
 Notice the vertebra next to it.

Here is the first megalodon (chubutensis) shark tooth found. Lying exposed on a hillside of pungo. Notice the vertebra next to it.


This is the second megalodon (chubutensis) shark tooth found.  Only a tiny portion of the root was exposed in the side of the limestone.  This is from the Pungo River contact layer.

This is the second megalodon (chubutensis) shark tooth found. Only a tiny portion of the root was exposed in the side of the limestone. This is from the Pungo River contact layer.


Here it is after being chiseled into a maneagable piece.

Here is the megalodon shark tooth after being chiseled into a maneagable piece.


Here it is all prepped up. 3 5/8 inch slant length. I left it in the matrix for a nice display piece.  It kind of looks like one of those broken megs glued into a random piece of matrix.  I assure you. it's not!

Here it is all prepped up. 3 5/8 inch slant length. I left it in the matrix for a nice display piece. It kind of looks like one of those broken megs glued into a random piece of matrix. I assure you. it's not!


This is another angle of the prepped fossil shark tooth.

This is another angle of the prepped fossil shark tooth.


Here are most of the finds (minus the meg in matrix).

Here are most of the finds (minus the meg in matrix).


This is the 3 inch slant chubutensis fossil shark tooth.

This is the 3 inch slant chubutensis fossil shark tooth.


Here is a nice Extinct white (C plicatis). it has a 2 5/16 inch slant height.

Here is a nice Extinct white (C plicatis). it has a 2 5/16 inch slant height.



This is a nice cow shark tooth that Amy found.

This is a nice cow shark tooth that Amy found.


Here is a rare Hexanchus gigas tooth I found at the mine.  Notice the cool cone is broken off.

Here is a rare Hexanchus gigas tooth I found at the mine. Notice the cool cone is broken off.


Here is a barely pathological Carcharinus sp. tooth.  It almost has a double tip.

Here is a barely pathological Carcharinus sp. tooth. It almost has a double tip.


This is a dolphin jaw section." > <p itemprop= This is a dolphin jaw section." />

This is a dolphin jaw section.


Here is a rare Hexanchus gigas tooth I found at the mine.  Notice the cool cone is broken off.

This is a squalodon jaw section. Click on this link for information on the odd Squalodon shark toothed whale.




Recommended Books for North Carolina Fossil Collecting:



** PLEASE DESCRIBE THIS IMAGE **
Shark Tooth Hunting on the Carolina Coast

by Ashley Oliphant, 2015

This is a great 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!




** PLEASE DESCRIBE THIS IMAGE **
Fossil Shark Teeth of the World

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 North Carolina teeth can be found in it.




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.




Recommended Link

ELASMO.COM

The best site on the web for fossil shark teeth! It's dedicated to Aurora and many other sites!


Get Your Very Own Megalodon Tooth:

These are Authentic Megalodon teeth sold by Fossil Era , a reputable fossil dealer (that I personally know) who turned his fossil passion into a business. His Megalodon teeth come in all sizes and prices, from small and inexpensive to large muesum quality teeth. Each tooth has a detailed descriptions and images that include its collecting location and formation. If you are looking for a megalodon tooth, browse through these selections!



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