A GUIDE TO FOSSIL COLLECTING ON THE WEST DORSET COAST
by Steve Snowball and Craig Chivers
With prehistoric life and scene reconstructions by Andreas Kurpisz
Siri Scientific Press (2018) 978-0-9957496-6-5 RRP £18.99
224 pp, 240 x 165 mm, soft cover, 250 colour photographs & illustrations
COMING SOON (expected release 1 December, 2018) - Pre-order now at 15% discount to receive in time for Christmas!
From the back cover
This is a guide on the safe and responsible collection of fossils along the beautiful and often wild section of West Dorset’s Jurassic Coast.
This sumptuously illustrated book, in full colour throughout, provides invaluable advice for the fossil collector. It contains up-to-date information regarding the geology, the exposures and the fossils themselves, making this a ‘must-have’ guide to browse through at leisure, or as an invaluable aid to any forthcoming field trip to the many locations that are so vividly described.
The landscape and fossil photographs are exquisite and often quite breath-taking, with superb reconstructions of Jurassic life by Andreas Kurpisz.
Steve Snowball was the co-author of ‘A Guide to Fossil Collecting in England & Wales’. Craig Chivers is an experienced fossil preparator of the highest order. This book reflects their huge experiences within the area of West Dorset, in which they live and collect.
FOREWORD BY THE AUTHORS
1. INTRODUCING THE JURASSIC COAST: A World Heritage Site
The Eroding Coast
The Protected Coast: The West Dorset Code of Conduct
2. SHE SELLS SEA SHELLS: Mary Anning and Her Legacy
3. THE WEST DORSET SUCCESSION
4. TOOLS, EQUIPMENT & PREPARATION
5. FOSSIL COLLECTING EXCURSIONS IN WEST DORSET
EXCURSIONS AROUND LYME REGIS
Blue Lias Formation: Pinhay Bay, Chippel Bay, Monmouth Beach & Church Cliffs
Charmouth Mudstone Formation: The Spittals & Black Ven
EXCURSIONS AROUND CHARMOUTH
Charmouth Mudstone Formation: East Beach, Stonebarrow & Broom Cliff
EXCURSIONS AT SEATOWN
Charmouth Mudstone Formation: Golden Cap & Ridge Cliff
EXCURSIONS AROUND EYPE
Dyrham Formation: East Ebb Cove, Thorncombe Beacon to
Dyrham Formation: Eype Mouth to Watton Cliff
EXCURSIONS AROUND BURTON BRADSTOCK
Inferior Oolite Group: East Cliff, West Bay to Burton Cliff
& Cliff End, Burton Bradstock
6. MUSEUMS AND GALLERIES
Charmouth Heritage Centre
Lyme Regis Museum
Dinosaurland, Lyme Regis
8. ABOUT THE AUTHORS
9. INDEX OF FOSSILS ILLUSTRATED
Foreword by the authors
The collection of fossils along the West Dorset coast has been a fascination for over two hundred years and there’s certainly no sign of abatement. Indeed, every year and especially during the summer months, thousands of tourists visit the area. At this time of year and on a daily basis, seemingly every fossil in sight will have been picked up from the beaches along this particular stretch of the coast. By the very nature and composition of the rocks, combined with a staggeringly rapid rate of erosion, the replenishment of fossils contained within them is never in short supply. It’s a small wonder that it’s a popular place for fossil enthusiasts and during the winter months it comes into its own as a source of spectacular specimens.
The rocks here are exclusively composed of sediments laid down in marine environments of varying depths and over the course of between 166.1 to 201.3 million years ago. Mostly these are dominated by fine-grained mudrocks—clays, shales and marls—as displayed in the rocks of the Lower Lias between Lyme Regis and Seatown but are also composed of oolitic limestone, clays and sandstones shown in the majestic cliffs near Burton Bradstock.
This coast is undoubtedly one of the best sources of marine Jurassic-aged fossils in the world. It’s also an area world famous for its beautiful scenery, its history and its contribution to our understanding of life in deep time. The discovery of fossil specimens, hitherto unknown, is often the raison d’être for many collectors, perhaps wishing to contribute in some small way to the filling of gaps in the fossil record. For others, it is the sheer enjoyment of finding an organism that is so incredibly old and yet so tantalisingly beautiful that it often sets them on a path to find out more about our fragile planet and its past and possibly to a lifetime hobby of fossil collecting.
This UNESCO World Heritage Site has SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) designation, which emphasises the need for care and consideration when collecting. The collector, amateur and professional alike, has to adopt a responsible approach in order to help make significant advances to the study of fossils and to demonstrate that fossil collecting is essential, especially if specimens (some of which may be of great scientific value) are to be saved from damage or destruction by the sea. Collecting offers an opportunity for people to learn about the ancient past and to contribute to our understanding of it. The discovery of new finds can only give further insight to a time that only a fertile mind might imagine and whilst it is inevitable that thousands of fossil specimens are bound to be lost to the relentless tides, the dedication of the few and the enthusiasm of the many can help to restore the delicate balance between destruction and preservation.
We hope that this book will inspire the safe and responsible collection of fossils from undoubtedly a truly beautiful part of Britain and provide an insightful read in the process.
Steve Snowball & Craig Chivers
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