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It would DEFF be worth doing that!

Practice on broken bits first.

It's very rewarding doing it yourself no matter how rough the results are.


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Hello everyone,

I was hoping that someone might be able to tell me more about the rocks pictured below, which I keep finding at Charmouth. I've been there once a year for the last 3 years, the most recent visit was on Saturday. 

Each time I've pulled one of them out of the clay at almost exactly same point on the beach, they are very heavy, very hard, and appear to be packed full of ammonites, bi-valves and other bits and bobs. 

They look like a layer of mud from the sea floor that has fossilised and broken up, and I'm assuming it must be pretty common, so I was wondering if it had a particular name etc?

Below is a picture of the part of the beach they all come from, behind the couple in orange. you can just about see the Visitor centre at Charmouth in the middle of the picture.


Saturday's Rock...



Last year's rock...



aaaannnd, the first one...


As ever, any info gratefully received

Thanks all!


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Hi Mark, for the geology of the Dorset coast and a few other sites you can't do better than to get into this enormous website. It is very detailed, but search hard enough and you will find what you are looking for!
WARNING! You may get sucked into this site and forget the time!

Edited by prep01 2014-09-15 16:20:53
Colin Huller
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I would be interested to learn more about these blocks, too. I have a large chunk that I manfully hauled off the beach (or maybe I got my wife to do it, I forget the details). It appears that most of the ammonites are flat in the centre, like with your block, but I wonder if going down further into the rock they might turn out to be complete?
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Hi Aurelius - On mine,  if you look at them side on you can see there are ammonites running all the way through the blocks,  so I guess at least some of them should be complete.

I wondered if it would be possible to have them prepped in some way to reveal the complete ammonites inside (was that what you were thinking?) or at least show more of what was going on. 

I found the first block on one of those organised fossil trips from Charmouth visitor centre, the guy running the trip said the matrix was too hard to get any of the ammos out, but I don't know if that means that nothing can be done with it at all, or if he was just trying to stop me whacking it with a hammer and ruining it! :-)

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These are easy to identify but on a scale of 1 to 10 on the prep chart were 1 is easy and 10 is effing nuts. it is a 8.5 -9! not impossible but skill and right tools needed. 

This stone is part of what is locally if not geologically known as the "Hummocky Limestone" it is obviously lower lias, lower jurassic in age and comes from the rareicostatum zone and usually contains the ammonites echioceras rareicostatum, echioceras rareicostoides and gleviceras sp. 

Please not only mechanical prepping followed by intensive air abrasion gets the fossils out. if you hit it with a hammer they do not pop like the promicroceras stones. 
I will up load a photo of my best hummocky limestone find in a moment that was found on the stonebarrow side.

fossils-uk, whitby
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Here is my best find in that stone. 
Huge 12 inche gleviceras surrounded on the front and back by 50 echioceras

Gleviceras1.jpg Gleviceras2.jpg 
fossils-uk, whitby
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Now that is exactly what I was hoping might be achievable,  that looks amazing.

Did you prep that yourself or get someone else to do it for you? I don't have the tools to try it myself,  any idea how long it would take and how much it might cost?

Thanks for the info about rock type by the way

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It took about 100 hours ish. No I didn't do this one it was when I was just starting to prep so a friend did it for me. Although this is going back 15 years it cost me back then ƒâ€š‚£500 for the prep work. But that kind of work would probably be about double that now if not more.. 100 hours at about ƒâ€š‚£15 an hour ish yeah ouch! Even at ƒâ€š‚£10 an hour it's ƒâ€š‚£1000. Anyway when you pay for prep work you get what you pay for. So guys I know charge ƒâ€š‚£25 per hour but then some charge ƒâ€š‚£5 or ƒâ€š‚£8 but then you know what to expect.
Cheers byron
fossils-uk, whitby
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I think they might have to stay as the interesting grey rocks on top of the cabinet for the time being! 

It would almost be worth investing the money in the kit and learning to do it although I suspect it would take a long while to be able to do it that well.

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