Wednesday, March 11, 2015

My Refugio Fossil Fest 2015

The last time I got out of my cage to rockhound was on September 4, 2014... today was March 11, 2015 (four-year anniversary of the Great Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami, on an unrelated note). That is to say it has been a half-year and a week since last I rockhounded. Today I rockhounded. That was not "my" original plan for the day but often the best things in life are things that happen "off-the-cuff" or "spontaneously." Today I picked up a dear loved one from a medical facility in Long Beach and drove them home. On the way home we stopped at Refugio State Beach in Santa Barbara County on the Gaviota Coast to unwind. There I looked around in the newly-sorted cobbles on the "beach" as I have done in the past. Unlike in the past, I found an abundance of interesting and even unexpected things, all in a rather small section of beach and in only about an hour's time. Earlier this winter some fairly vigorous wave events churned this coastline refreshing the cobbles and stones along the coast. As many of you know this coastline is famous for its petrified whale bone and less commonly, petrified wood and even sharks teeth and on rare occasions, whole shark jaws and whale brain casts. Today's visit was my most fruitful one ever for any location along the Gaviota Coast and I recommend my rockhound brethren check this place before the summer wave pattern starts dumpting sand atop some of this material. Pictured below are each of the items I found today.

Balanced-rock monument
My search area looked like this.
The rocks generally looked like this.
This specimen appears to capture a turbidity zone on the ocean bottom which might have been a submarine landslide.
Calcite nodule/geode.
Generic petrified whale bone specimens.
Petrified whale bone vertebra.
Heavily silicated petrified whale bone vertebra. 
Closer view of whale bone vertebra.
Even closer view of same vertebra: note bone cell structure.
Petrified whale bone in matrix.
Odd-looking petrified whale bones in matrix are cervical vertebra.
Different view of previous specimen with alternating layers of bone.
Large, well-preserved petrified whale bone vertebra with both disks attached.
Close-up of silicated fossilized coral.
Petrified drift wood encased in worm-eaten concretion. All photos by Kim Patrick Noyes (all rights reserved)


  1. Very cool. How do you display your whale bone?

    1. Jodi,

      Thanks for taking the time to check out the images and I'm glad you enjoyed them.
      Most of my mineral and fossil collection is stored in flat boxes or trunks as I currently live in too small a space to have room for display cabinets and the like I do keep a handful of my best specimens on my bookshelves blended in with my books. The specimens in these images are currently sitting outside in my backyard on the pavement but will be moved into some sort of storage bin. I might grab two or three and keep them inside on display.