February 21, 2005
Pictured above is a 200 million year old fossil Cycadeoid from the late Triassic period, which was found and photographed near Gulf, North Carolina. Although these fossils appear similar to ferns, Cycadeoids are actually gymnosperms or coniferous plants closely related to modern cone-bearing evergreen trees.
Gulf is located near the North Carolina Fall line (the division between the Piedmont and the coastal plain), is home to both active and abandoned clay pit mines. In an inactive area of the clay pits lay exposed siltstones and sand stones that date to the late Triassic period. In a state dominated by igneous and metamorphic rocks to the west and marine sedimentary rocks to the east, this area boasts some of the oldest fossils in North Carolina. Besides cycads and cycadeoids, numerous fern species, horse tails, and rare animal fossils have been preserved in the loosely consolidated shale.
Lat/Long of site for GPS equipped fossil hunters
35d34m 03.6s North 79d17m48.8s West