Fossils index

Fossil Rocks

Fossils are animals or plants that have been turned to stone. Usually we concentrate on what the plant and animal is, its shape, how old it is, and so on. On this page, we will look at the stone itself.

Fossils can exist in many different types of mineral, and I am only going to cover a few.


Blue Lias Blue Lias

Blue Lias is made of layers of limestones and shales, laid down in Jurassic times, between 195 and 200 million years ago. You find Blue Lias at Lyme Regis, Dorset and Whitby, Yorkshire. It makes cliffs in both places. The cliffs can be dangerous, since it is a soft stone, and there are frequent cliff falls. But this means that you can search along the beach for fossils that have fallen from the cliff, or washed up on the beach. Both Lyme Regis and Whitby are famous for ammonites and you can find belemnites and bivalves.


Portland stone

Portland stone is limestone from the Jurassic period quarried on the Isle of Portland, Dorset. The best quality stone has been used for many buildings in Britain, such as St Paul's Cathedral and Buckingham Palace in London. This stone has few fossils, as fossils produce weak ponts, and spoil the look of the stone. However, there are fossils in the poorer quality stone, and you can find bivalves and gastropods on Portland Bill.

Bivalve found in Portland stone

Frosterley Marble Frosterley Marble

Frosterley marble has been used in Durham Cathedral. It is not really a marble, but a black, Carboniferous limestone which is speckled with fossils. These photos show a brooch and a tie pin made of the stone.

Frosterley Marble


Limestone with fossils Fossils in limestone

You can buy limestone eggs with fossils. These are not real eggs, of course. They have been cut and polished to that shape. But it's fun looking at all the tiny fossils on the surface.

Limestone with fossils

Turritella Agate Turritella Agate

Some fossils are so common not they name minerals. This is Turritella Agate which is full of Turritella fossils, a type of gastropod. The stone has been polished to show the fossils better. These type of stones are sold as attractive mineral specimens rather than fossil specimens, so often you can't find out much about the fossils concerned from the shop.


Flint

It may be surprising that fossils can be found in flint, but you can. Two of these fossils were found on Hastings beach, in Sussex, and two in my garden in Cambridgeshire. Neither location is particularly connected with fossils, so it shows that you should keep your eyes open wherever you are! These are bivalves and brachiopods.

Flint fossil Flint fossil Flint fossil Flint fossil

Chalk

You often find flint in chalk. Now, you don't tend to find fossils in chalk, it's more that chalk is nothing but fossils! It is made from the shells or calcite plates of tiny marine creatures called coccolithophores.

Chalk