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Gorges du Verdon, France
The Paris basin is located in the area around Paris, and has a diameter of hundreds of kilometres. The basis in filled with almost horizontaly layers of sediments (mainly containing chalk) from the Eocene. The Parijs basin is known as collection location of many species of bivalves and gastropods from the Eocene (part of the Paleogene period). Unfortunately many collection locations have vanished or are closed for fossil collectors.
In the area around Fleury you can still find fossils. Everything around this village is about grapes. From the village looking south, you will see the Marne valley and the small city of Damery. The edges of the valley (chalk) are grape fields. Above the valley, you can see the forests on the ‘Plateau de la Montagne de Reims’.
Fossil collectors dig holes in the forest to extract the fossils. The forest is part of the reserve ‘Parc naturel de la montagne de Reims’ and is managed by the ‘Office national des forêts’. This to mention that you are collecting on the property of others.
The sediment is a thick layer of sandy marls. Sometimes soft, sometimes more solid. The sediment contains lots of shells and shell parts. The conservation is exeptionally good. In one day of collecting here, you can find up to 100 species (in you also count the small ones).
Some people dig holes up to 2-3 metres. They hope to find a large Campanile giganteum, but I havent seen complete ones from here.
Local collectors extract the fossils very carefully digging horizontally. Slowly digging down and using a brush to clean the freshly dug areas. Locals have collected impressing collections this way.
The danger on this location is limited. The material is quite stable. Always use common sense! Do not dig horizontal holes, and do not dig too deep, and do not go alone. In Fleury there are several other possibilities to collect.
Grape farmers use chalk to improve the ground quality. Sometimes the chalks on the fields also nice contain fossils. Of course the stratigraphy of these fossils is unknown, but collecting this way can be rewarding.
You can walk all the way along the edge of the foorest. The edge of the forest follows approximately the boundary between Lutétian and clay layers on top (Laon clay ?). Use a small shovel and a sieve where you see interesting layers exposed.
- Pommerol Ch. / Feugueur L., Bassin de Paris - Guides Géologiques Régionaux, Masson, Paris 3e edition, 1986
- Lapparent A.F. de, Région de Paris – Excursions géologiques et voyages pédagogiques, Hermann, Paris, 1964
- Gea vol. 5 nr. 1
- Cossmann M. / Pissarro G., Iconografie complète des coquilles fossiles de l’Eocène des environs de Paris, Paris, 1904-1913 These books are expensive, but you can sometimes get photocopies. In the beginning of the last century these books were sensational because of the real photographs in stead of drawings. You can download the Cossmann & Pissarro here (parts): http://www.cossmannia.com/
- Cossmanniana, periodical. Several special issues.
- Issues from the WTKG.
- Website from Nicolas Demassieux http://ndemassieux.aginux.com/
- The exeptional website of the M.N.H.N. in Paris : http://www.somali.asso.fr/fossils/index.php?lang_=fr
Photo 1 of 3
One of the pits in the forest near Fleury
Added by: onsmartin on 21-04-2014
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Fleury-la-Rivière is located in the French region of Marne (51), southwest of Reims and northwest of Epernay. The location is east of the village, near the edge of the forest.
The quarries in Fleury-la-Rivière and Damery once were fine fossil collecting locations. Now the quarries are closed or protected. If you are lucky you can find fossils in this area in temporary exposures (i.e. roadcuts).Drag the map and zoom in or out for the best view of this locality.
In sediments of the Paris basin many kinds of bivalves and gastropods are found. You can find also other fossils like foraminifers, corals, shark teeth, fish remains, otoliths, bryozoa and scaphopods.
Gastropod from Fleury Clavilithes (s. str.) parisiensis (MAYER-EYMAR, 1877) h. 73 mm. © Photo: Johny Laporte
Gastropod from Fleury. Cryptoconus glabratus (LAMARCK, 1804) 29 mm. © Photo: Johny Laporte
Gastropod from Fleury. Pterynotus (s.str.) crenulatus tricarinatus (LAMARCK, 1803) h. 24 mm. © Photo: Johny Laporte
Gastropod from Fleury. Mitraria (s. str.) elongata (LAMARCK, 1803) h. 46 mm. © Photo: Johny Laporte
Gastropod from Fleury. Rimella fissurella (LINNE, 1767) h. 25 mm. © Photo: Johny Laporte
Gastropod from Fleury. Cryptochorda stromboides (HERMANN, 1781) h. 46 mm. © Photo: Johny Laporte
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Thanks to Johny Laporte for his contribution to this description.
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