SMR Quarry – Florida 1-2015

It’s cold, it’s snowing and I’m cooped up inside and want to go fossil hunting. The solution? Go to Florida, of course! And that is how a plan was hatched to go do some fossiling in Florida. By happenstance, Roger Portell of the University of Florida was taking a group into the SMR Quarry the 1st day of our planned trip. We were lucky enough to get to tag along. Andy and Yvonne Kerek, Becky Guthrie, Earl Guertin, Ernest Klatt, Mark Kerns, Lynn Moore and I all arrived safe and sound in Sarasota, FL and were ready to go collecting on January 10, 2015. The quarry was immense and Roger a knowledgeable and helpful host. The Pliocene shell bed did not disappoint, with an amazing diversity of bivalves and gastropods, from huge horse conchs to tiny bivalves, with corals and bryozoans tossed in for good measure. All 22 participants found more than they could carry and many trips were made back and forth to the cars with loot. Then we got an even greater treat, as we were allowed to go to the bottom level of the quarry where the vertebrate material was found. Lots of whale bone and small shark teeth were recovered. The weather was great and the scenery was awesome – for a quarry. After several hours of collecting we had to call it a day – but the fun wasn’t over yet. We took Roger and Co. to a late lunch at the nearby Stonewood Grill and Tavern, where we all had great food, fun and told fossil stories to our hearts content.