Potomac River MD.

Oct. 2010

I meet a friend recently while collecting in one of the local streams and the topic of our conversation soon drifted to the different areas we had collected since we last meet. He had been down to the Potomac River this past spring and he gave me a couple spots to try. The Potomac River in Charles County, Maryland has been on my list of areas to visit for awhile now and the upcoming weekend promised some decent weather and tides. A quick check online showed a hotel that accepted some of the points I had accumulated when I travel extensively on business. A little out of the way, but still a free night’s stay, I was good to go.
 Fossils on the shores of the Potomac can be spotty and I only had a general idea of where the productive areas were. I had arrived early and the day promised to be warmer than anticipated, time to start some serious hiking. The first few hours produced almost nothing, and then I spotted the glint of a blade wedged in the rocks. An Otodus, my first one! I turned around and there was a second one right at the water line. Another 5 minutes produced a third. My anticipation of a banner day slowly faded as the remainder of the day produced only a few isolated sand tigers and a partial ray plate.

The Aquia formation, which is late Paleocene, is exposed in a number of locations along the river and some areas are virtually littered with the internal molds of the gastropod turritella.  I personally have a fondness for fossil shells and spent a good portion of the day poking around the large blocks of shell packed formation that had separated from the cliffs.

 Overall a decent outing, the three Otodus Obliquus are my first. No complete Otodus from NJ yet, but I'm working on that.



A view of the Potomac shoreline from the Maryland side.


The three Otodus was really the highlight of the trip
(click to enlarge)



Otodus Obliquus


Turritellia casts were all over the place, some reaching close to 4 inches in length.
In speaking to one of the locals on my hike back casts of this size are not considered
common. He attributed the abundance of these larger casts to a storm surge a few weeks
back that washed away most of sand from the shoreline uncovering and leaving mostly
larger material.


Turritellia casts in matrix.
The cast on the left is just under 4 inches.


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