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    Paleontology of Porter, Washington
    By Heidi Henderson | July 16th 2009 03:04 PM | 2 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
    About Heidi

    Blue Planet, Explorer in Residence. Co-author of In Search of Ancient BC.

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    The fossil exposures of the Lincoln Creek Formation, southern Olympic Peninsula, near the town of Porter, Washington, 46°56'20"N, 123°18'38"W, consist of tuffaceous siltstone and sandstone with concretionary beds throughout. They are slightly older than originally thought, coming in around 37 million-years, straddling the Eocene-Oligocene border. The site has produced several dozen different species of molluscs, including the elusive tusk shell, and is well known for crabs. 

    Here a wee modern tusk shell or scaphopod sits in the sand. The whitish aragonitic shells of scaphopods are conical and curved with a planispiral curve, looking a bit like an elephant's tusk, hence their common name. They prefer to live on soft substrates in subtidal zones so they are not as abundant or readily visible on our beaches as their gastropods and bivalves compatriots. Tusk shells and their fossil relatives, however, are found commonly in the sediments at Porter and other localities throughout the Pacific Northwest.


    I dind't realize the Pacific Northwest was such a treasure trove for fossils. The next time I vacation in the areas you described, I'll need to do more looking down.

    I didn't realize the Pacific Northwest was such a treasure trove of fossils. The next time I visit the area i'll be spending more time looking down. Your columns are enjoyable H. Henderson.