• "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 2005. 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 2005
Fossil Megalodon in Pungo River Limestone Matrix




Before hitting Aurora, we hit the beach to help us forget about the ending of summer

Before hitting Aurora, we hit the beach to help us forget about the ending of summer


Leaves are beginning to change color. The temperatures are starting to drop. Days are getting shorter. To ease the slowly approaching winter, we decided to take a spontaneous fall beach trip while on our annual fall Aurora fossil trip. Taking some vacation time, we left the fall like conditions and forgot about the autumnal equinox that had just occurred and headed south to 90+ degree Emerald Isle. There is nothing better than soaking up the sun and playing in the surf to ward off the fall.

After our little excursion, it was off to Fossil business! The collecting area is quite large this year, with some nice Yorktown near the end of the area. Once there, we noticed the wrath of hurricane Ophelia. There was quite a bit of flooding and large runoff channels cutting through the collecting area. Also, nature was reclaiming the pit in the form of large patches of weeds. Not just weeds one may see in their lawn; these are massive weeds, taller than the average person. All of this jumbled together in one big collecting area made for maze like conditions. Hopefully in the coming days, the water will evaporate making it easier to navigate for collectors.

Once at the mine entrance, and after a false start at finding the correct entrance to the collecting area, all of the collectors eagerly headed in. Amy and I went right, then climbed up and down some hills to the rear of the mine to find the new Yorktown formation. Once down a few hills, we encountered lots of water and had to return to nearly the entrance. We then headed further right, and headed back down the hills. This time we were able to get past the water traps. Unfortunately we had to navigate through a massive overgrown hill with vegetation over our heads. After way too much backtracking and weed whacking, we finally made it to the new Yorktown section.

Once there we found two 2" c. hastalis teeth, a few smaller ones, and a few G. contortus teeth all within minutes. A little further up, some Pungo was mixed in with the Yorktown, there I found a small meg in the matrix and a little while later a 3" megalodon shark tooth in a big chunk of Pungo limestone matrix. After about a half hour of chiseling, I got it down to a 50 lb block of matrix with the tooth in it. With a decisively heavy rock that needed carried back to the bus, waaaayyy on the other side of the pit, and already feeling exhausted and dehydrated, I decided to stop collecting and carry it back to the bus, then head back in to continue to collect. Needless to say, it did not go too well. It took over an hour to get it back!!! Way too hot and tired to head waaaayyy back to the new Yorktown section, I decided to scour the Pungo near the entrance instead. As we started to collect the sky fell; a deluge occurred. The floodwaters from above began to inundate us. Hoping the deluge would expose something new in the scoured Pungo area, our spirits were high and we continued to collect. Unfortunately, minutes later, a crack of thunder echoed across the pit, successfully ending our collecting day around 2:15.

As we stood waiting for the bus to arrive in the torrential downpour, we realized, despite the backtracking and chiseling, we made out well. I was hoping the meg I found in the large chunk of Pungo limestone would be complete. When I returned home, I carefully chiseled away at it, slowly exposing more and more enamel and root, until a perfect 3" tooth was revealed. What a good trip it was! Thanks PCS for allowing us to collect!






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


The 2005 Collecting Area.  It's the same place in the Pit as last season, but the
 area has been extended to enclose some nice piles of
Yorktown formation.

The 2005 Collecting Area. It's the same place in the Pit as last season, but the area has been extended to enclose some nice piles of Yorktown formation.


Climbing a hill at the Aurora Phosphate mine.

Climbing a hill at the Aurora Phosphate mine.


Amy doing some weed whacking, trying to make it to Yorktown exposures.

Amy doing some weed whacking, trying to make it to Yorktown exposures.


Amy navigating a water hazard.  Hopefully the mine will dry out somewhat as the collecting
 season progresses.

Amy navigating a water hazard. Hopefully the mine will dry out somewhat as the collecting season progresses.


Around 2 pm a torrential downpour began, then a crack of thunder rang, which ended the collecting day a little early.

Around 2 pm a torrential downpour began, then a crack of thunder rang, which ended the collecting day a little early.


Here are some of the finds from the day.  A few nice makos, a TINY meg, shark cartilage.
Not shown here are 2 megs (actually subauriculatus) in Pungo matrix, and lots of whale bone.

Here are some of the finds from the day. A few nice makos, a TINY meg, shark cartilage. Not shown here are 2 megs (actually subauriculatus) in Pungo matrix, and lots of whale bone.


This is a closeup of two of the larger white sharks we found, both are approximately 2 inches in slant.

This is a closeup of two of the larger white sharks we found, both are approximately 2 inches in slant.


Here is my best find. A 3 inch C. subauriculatus shark tooth in a chunk of Pungo Limestone.
The bourlette is missing and there is a small amount of feeding damage to the tip, but it
 makes for a nice display piece.

Here is my best find. A 3 inch C. subauriculatus shark tooth in a chunk of Pungo Limestone. The bourlette is missing and there is a small amount of feeding damage to the tip, but it makes for a nice display piece.


This little tooth was found in the same area as the larger one in matrix.  
Fortunately, it was easier to chisel it from a large limestone block. Unfortunately it was
broke when found.

This little tooth was found in the same area as the larger one in matrix. Fortunately, it was easier to chisel it from a large limestone block. Unfortunately it was broke when found.


Here is a nice extinct white shark tooth eroding out of a hillside.

Here is a nice extinct white shark tooth eroding out of a hillside.


A Yorktown G. cuvier trying to hide under a piece of Pungo limestone (Can one say: mixed formations).
 Fortunately for me, he did not hide well enough.

A Yorktown G. cuvier trying to hide under a piece of Pungo limestone (Can one say: mixed formations). Fortunately for me, he did not hide well enough.


He was only a mere inch from being stepped on... Look where you're walking!

He was only a mere inch from being stepped on... Look where you're walking!


Yet another Pungo C. hastalis shark tooth laying around.

Yet another Pungo C. hastalis shark tooth laying around.




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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