Thursday, 28 February 2008

Shake, rattle and roll

I was half awake this morning as the objects on my bedside table started to dance and rattle. 'Oh! - earthquake' - I thought. 'It's a long way off,' - then went back to sleep.

This morning the whole country was buzzing about an earthquake centred on the Market Rasen fault in North Lincolnshire. The shock was a 5.3 quake, being felt from Glasgow to Kent and Wales to Amsterdam. That size of quake is unusual for the UK, but the level of damage was minimal, a few chimney stacks down in Gainsborough. A chimney stack fell through a house in Market Harborough and broke a man's pelvis. Another chimney stack came down in Market Drayton and blocked the main road. The comment on the local news was "such a British earthquake" - hardly any damage to talk of!

When Rosie saw the report on the news I told her about my experience - she had slept through the whole 10 seconds.

Later today I have been sorting through my boxes of fossils. I am missing a flint burin from my prehistoric stuff, and I would like to find where I have put it. In the search I came across these remarkable shells;
This shell is from the Lower Jurassic rocks of Long Itchington Quarry near Rugby. The fossilization has preserved the pigment of the shell in this Plageostoma gigantium. This is nearly 200 million years old and the pattern of stripes can still be seen.

This specimen is one of a group from the Ancaster Rag, which is part of the Estuarine Series near Great Ponton - just off the A1 between Grantham and Colsterworth. Of a similar Jurassic age, and with the shell colours accurately preserved in the shell surface, this fossil is from the Middle Jurassic - about 170 million years ago. This Plageostoma is not too dissimilar to modern species in its colouration. I am always amazed by the rare and splendid nature of some forms of fossil. The preservation of colour is very unusual in any fossil locality.

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