A Guide to Fossil Collecting on the South Dorset Coast
by Steve Snowball and Craig Chivers
With prehistoric life and scene reconstructions by Andreas Kurpisz
Siri Scientific Press (1 Feb, 2020) 978-0-9957496-8-9 RRP £18.99
224 pp, 240 x 165 mm, soft cover, 300 colour photographs & illustrations
IN PREP for FEB 2020 - Available to pre-order now at 15% discount
From the back cover
This is the second in a series of guides on the safe and responsible collection of fossils along the coast of Dorset. This sumptuously illustrated book, in full colour throughout, focusses on the central section of the coast, extending from the start of the Fleet lagoon and then eastwards to the Chalk headland of White Nothe at Ringstead Bay.
All information on the geology and fossil exposures is fully up-to-date, with stunning photographs throughout of the beautiful coastal landscape and the fossils to be found there. It makes this a fantastic book for browsing at leisure or for using as an invaluable reference for field trips to the area.
The book’s beautiful format is complimented by superb reconstructions of Jurassic scenes and prehistoric life by paleo-artist, Andreas Kurpisz, who also collaborated with the authors in their previous publication.
Steve Snowball and Craig Chivers are also the authors of ‘A Guide to Fossil Collecting on the West Dorset Coast’ published by Siri Scientific Press. This book again reflects their considerable experience, in both the collection and preservation of fossils, found in the area in which they live.
FOREWORD BY THE AUTHORS
1. INTRODUCING THE SOUTH DORSET COAST
A World Heritage Site
The Eroding & Protected Coast
2. FOSSIL COLLECTING CODE OF CONDUCT
3. THE SOUTH DORSET SUCCESSION
Geology & Landscape: An Overview
Making Sense of the Fossil Record
The Jurassic Period
The Cretaceous Period
4. FOSSIL COLLECTING EXCURSIONS IN SOUTH DORSET
EXCURSIONS ON THE FLEET LAGOON
West Fleet to Tidmoor Cove
Fuller’s Earth Formation, Forest Marble Formation
Cornbrash Formation, Oxford Clay Formation
EXCURSIONS AROUND FERRYBRIDGE & PORTLAND HARBOUR
Harbour Mouth to Nothe Castle
Kimmeridge Clay Formation, Corallian Group
EXCURSIONS AROUND BOWLEAZE COVE, REDCLIFF POINT& BLACK HEAD
Oxford Clay Formation, Corallian Group, Gault Formation
EXCURSIONS AROUND OSMINGTON MILLS
Corallian Group, Kimmeridge Clay Formation, Gault Formation
EXCURSIONS AROUND RINGSTEAD BAY
Kimmeridge Clay Formation, Gault Formation,
Upper Greensand Formation, Grey Chalk Subgroup
White Chalk Subgroup
EXCURSIONS ON THE ISLE OF PORTLAND
Kimmeridge Clay Formation, Portland Sand Formation,
Portland Stone Formation, Purbeck Limestone Group
5. ABOUT THE AUTHORS
6. INDEX OF PHOTOGRAPHS
Foreword by the authors
The opportunities for the collection and study of fossils along the coast of Dorset are boundless. The Jurassic Coast, comprised of sedimentary rocks from the Triassic (found just across the border in East Devon), the Jurassic and the Cretaceous periods, is famed for its remarkable fossils and its breath-taking scenery. Thousands of visitors flock to the region annually, to experience fossil collecting (perhaps for the first time) and to take in the splendour of the magnificent coastal scenery. This book focuses entirely on the southern, central section of the coast, where Weymouth is the dominant seaside town, with its glorious sandy beach, bustling Georgian promenade and holiday tourist facilities. The area around Weymouth is no less favourable to the fossil collector but has neither the reputation, nor the popularity of Lyme Regis or Charmouth, to the west of the county. However, it is a fascinating area for the geologist and fossil collector alike, with an astounding variety of rock types present and from which a good range of fossils can be found.
Walking westwards along the Jurassic Coast is a journey back in time. The early Jurassic rocks displayed in the west of Dorset are entirely of marine origin, whereas the rocks towards the east begin to display evidence of changes to the environments and conditions under which they were formed; shallower seas, lakes and lagoons were very much part of late Jurassic Britain.
In keeping with the rest of the Jurassic Coast, the sites in the southern section are protected by SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) status, thus allowing future generations to enjoy and to collect from this remarkable coastline. Responsible collecting is encouraged and the rule of no digging or directly hammering into the bed rock applies here and as equally as it does anywhere along this World Heritage Site. It is essential to follow the fossil collecting code of practice, which emphasises both the safe and responsible collection of fossils. The relentless action of the sea not only shapes the Dorset coastal scenery, it also acts as the means by which fossils are regularly washed out of the rocks. Collection of fossils from loose material is essential and in any case, a good pair of eyes rather than picks, spades and hammers will find the fossils.
This section of coast has no association with Mary Anning or the famed marine reptile skeletons from the county’s western section. However, finds such as Pliosaurus kevani—the Weymouth Bay pliosaur, are neither less spectacular nor less important and such a find certainly bears testimony to the contribution to science made by amateur fossil collectors, who contribute far more to the discovery of new species than they probably realise!
In this second volume, our journey continues eastwards along Dorset’s spectacular coast and attempts to highlight the sheer variety and beauty of the fossils that can be found here.
Steve Snowball & Craig Chivers
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