On a very wet, windy and cold day UKAFH members braved the elements and visited Charmouth’s East beach. This Jurassic coast location yields many pyrite ammonites, belemnites and occasionally marine reptile bones. When in the right part of the beach, in the right conditions, it’s possible to collect many ammonites.
Once everyone met in the car park and got kitted out we walked to the beach where UKAFH leader Steve Snowball gave us a informative talk on the Jurassic coast and an explanation of the stratigraphy and ages of the Jurassic Coast which stretches from Exmouth in East Devon to Studland Bay in West Dorset – 95 miles covering 185 million years, showing a near complete record from the Triassic to the Jurassic and then the Cretaceous period. The cliffs on Charmouth beach are Jurassic in age (195 million years) and show us what life was like when the area was a shallow tropical sea with the fossils people pick up every day on the beach. Then, UKAFH Leader Lizzie Hingley explained where the group would walk to along the beach, to hopefully find some of these fossils.
Once we reached a good area of the beach, under Stonebarrow (where there was a large landslide in 2015 which resulted in a lot of pyrite ammonites being distributed on the beach) the group started looking through the areas of pyrite, which were scattered along the strand line and in among the rocks on the foreshore, as the sea retreated. Soon we started to find some brilliant small pyrite ammonites and belemnites. Here are some of our finds:
A small beach pebble showing Ichthyosaur bones – possibly a partial Ichthyosaur jaw.
A small worn piece of Ichthyosaur bone and a couple of smaller pyrite ammonites
Some pyrite ammonies – the large on the left is an Oxynoticeras and on the right an Echioceras.
A large Eoderoceras ammonite segment and a smaller Eoderoceras in it’s pyrite matrix.
Over the course of the hunt our numbers dwindled slightly, which was understandable as we were very exposed to the elements! Apologies on the limited photos – this was also because of the weather (as leader’s cameras would not work in the rain)!
Thanks to all who attended and we hope to see you on another hunt soon!