“The cliff exposure in the Fossil Bay area is recognised as the best example of lower Permian strata in Tasmania, if not the world.”
The dark grey rock containing the fossils consists of alternating beds of fossil-rich limestone and siltstone that is estimated to be about 16 metres thick. At Fossil Cliffs you will discover the prolific occurrence of fossils of the thick-shelled clam Eurydesma. The soft parts of the creatures have rotted away, leaving only the hard shells, Fossil Cliffs which have lasted almost 300 million years. In some areas, almost all of the rock is made up by the broken shells of Eurydesma. On the lower rock shelf you can see a variety of fossils including sea fans, coral-like creatures, scallop shells and sea lilies. It is thought that such an extensive accumulation of fossils may be related to the cold conditions associated with the polar sea of the time. Amongst the fossils are some large rocks, called dropstones. These have been transported by floating ice. As the ice begins to melt, the stones fall to the sea floor and settle amongst the finer sediments. The stones consist of different rock types, including granite and quartzite, and may have come from nearby, or from great distances away.
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Fossil Cliffs Walk
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