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april 2019
Last Modified:
april 2019

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Location description

The Aktulagay hills (Gora Aktulagay) are approximately 100 km NE of the town of Kulsary, 35 km north of the Embi (Emba) River. These hills are well-known for the Eocene shark teeth that can be found there.

Maastrichtian chalks crop out on and around the lower slopes of the hills, and are extensively exposed on their western margin, adjacent to the Tolagaysor lake (sor = salt lake) . The overlying Paleogene sediments comprise a localised very thin Thanetian limestone, followed by ~ 70 m of Lower and Middle Eocene marls, clays and silts. These strata are mostly exposed in the high escarpment forming the western boundary of the hills, dipping gently northwards. The Aktulagay hills are capped by a thin sheet of flat-lying Serravallian (middle Miocene) limestones, attibuted to the regional ‘Sarmatian’ which form a summit plateau. These cap limestones are an isolated outlier of the Miocene limestones of the Paratethys which form the surface of the Ustyurt Plateau, 200 km to the south. The cap-limestones of the Aktulagay plateau are relatively resistant to erosion, resutling in steep-sided slopes formed by the underlying softer Eocene sediments, which have largely protected them from superficial weathering and decalcification. The Eocene succession has been divided into the Alashen Formation (0-13.45 m), composed of marl and calcareous clay, the Aktulagay Formation (13.45-23.57 m), containing marl, clay and sapropelitic clay, and the more silty overlying Tolagaysor Formation (23.57-56.20 m; King et al., 2013)

One of the main sections is a steep slope in a small valley on the western flank of the Aktulagay hills (47° 32’ 31.47” N, 55° 09’ 13.75” E). This section (cited here as ‘Aktulagay section’) is mostly well exposed, and provides a key section for analysing the Ypresian stratigraphy of the middle Embi region.

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The Aktulagay section is (as of 2005) ~ 30 km from the nearest hard-surfaced road. Access is by infrequently used and often deeply rutted dirt roads. A four-wheel drive vehicle is required; in winter and spring, access may be difficult or impossible, due to mud and snow-covered or waterlogged terrain.

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Eocene shark teeth and other fossils.

There are 3 photographs of fossils from this location in our Fossil ID System.
Go to the Aktulagay Species List to identify your own finds!

Literature recommended by members

  • King, C., Iakovleva, A.I., Steurbaut, E., Heilmann-Clausen, C., Ward, D.J., 2013: The Aktulagay section, west Kazakhstan: a key site for northern mid-latitude Early Eocene stratigraphy.
    Stratigraphy 10, 171–209.
    Added by FossilDude

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Other locations in the area

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Thanks to Philip A Schmitz

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