A New Fossil Site in Alabama


Junie Moon looking for fossils sites

On our trip home from Memphis, we took a new route across Alabama. We drove Hwy 78 to Birmingham, and then south on the interstate to Montgomery. From there, we took Hwy 231 south to I-10, and from there, it was a straight shot home. Very nice drive, with no bad traffic. They have extended Hwy 78, exposing some wonderful new road cuts. At the exit for Hwy 22, we stopped to look around.


New road cut

New road cuts are always fun, because you have no idea what you will find. If you look carefully, you can almost always find something interesting, and this one held some very nice surprises.


Nancy is ready to find fossils!

The limy shale was hot from the sun, but was easy to look through. There are some layers with lots of tiny mica flakes, which also have carbonized plant fossils in them. Very sparkly and easy to find. Most of the plant remains are small bits, but I managed to find a few large stems, a seed, and some pieces of leaves. We did not stay long, as it was HOT, but I suspect that with more time, some very nice fossils will come from this site.


Black Widow

I noticed several spider webs which looked like Black Widow webs. Sure enough, a closer look showed that each one had a large, black, shiny spider, with that characteristic red hour glass. Road cuts are good places to find them, so be careful when you are looking for fossils. They are not going to jump out and attack, but if you accidentally stick your hand into their home, they will defend themselves.


Nice Plant Fossils

The fossil plants are carbonized, and are easy to spot. We found more in the higher part of the cut, west of the exit. If you are going to visit the site, be aware that it is on the side of the highway. Don't dig, as the rocks are very loose, and the highway department frowns on people messing up their road cuts. You should be able to find plenty of fossils by surface collecting. Be sure to obey local laws and don't leave trash.

Anonymous wrote on Wed, 05/01/2013 - 23:51:

Fossil Collecting is a great hobby for young and old alike. No matter where you are in the world you cannot escape the fact that there is geology in your neighbourhood, and certain types of geology means fossils. Fossil collecting is a relatively inexpensive pastime, can be immensely satisfying and provides a window on the history of the Earth for you to explore. Remember, that fragment of Trilobite or piece of fossil coral that you found links you to some of the greatest scientists and palaeontologists in the world today, and the best thing of course, is that you found it first.

Anonymous wrote on Wed, 02/20/2013 - 00:25:

Thanks for all your help. A couple of questions. I talked with a Gelogist in Blount Co. in Blount Springs. He mentioned an area in Blount Co. near Hayden that had Petrified Wood. Do you know of any close areas to this. Also I've seen that Bluntsville, Al was said to have Agate. Any truth to this. Is there any gems near Warrior, Hayden, Corner etc. thanks and great site.

Anonymous wrote on Fri, 12/28/2012 - 19:33:

I have recently collected in a well known site in south Montgomery. While there we found several different shark teeth, bone,ammonite, sea biscutes and other clams, but the biggest of my finds was a whole star fish. I I also found a tooth that looks like some sort of bone but from my research its a shark tooth. I have found most of the shark teeth but no info on the star fish. Its not a cookie cutter star fish it actually looks like the star fish you buy at a suvanear shop at the beach. The ones with with the four hours in the middle. It came from that creek and its aged but in great condition. I can not find out what it is and the strange shark tooth that look likes a bone. If you know any info on this I would like the feed back on it. thanks.

Anonymous wrote on Sun, 09/09/2012 - 22:18:

I have a site in North Jefferson Co. I have many fossils similar to the one in the pic. One was about 2 ft. In length and 2 in. Wide. It looks like a tree branch, but not sure what I found. Anyway to send a pic???

Anonymous wrote on Wed, 04/25/2012 - 14:52:

I was recently at this site and found footprints of a small lizard or salamander with tail drag. this site is very close to the Union Grove footprint site. I live very close to it and have found a lot of Horseshoe Crab tracks.

Anonymous wrote on Mon, 11/21/2011 - 00:17:

I have heard people have actually found shark teeth somewhere near
Pine mountain? How many sites are the best to find fossils in Alabama?
I live in Auburn and am trying to find good spots for young children to
see fossils or to even hunt for them. Thank you for your time:)

lrussell1511 wrote on Thu, 11/29/2012 - 18:28:

Check Out Shark Tooth Creek

We had a field trip to Shark Tooth Creek. It is a very cool experience

24114 Alabama 14, Aliceville, AL 35442, United States

Anonymous wrote on Fri, 10/26/2012 - 23:41:

My daughter came back from her 4th grade class's field trip today on Monte Sano Mountain in Huntsville where the park allows them to "dig fossils" from the limestone cliffs. My daughter actually found a fossilized shark's tooth in the limestone dig area - a long curved, brown, very long pointy tooth about an inch long from base to tip, with fine serrated edges. Their guide said this was the first shark's tooth that has been found on this site in the 15 years she's worked there! Auburn isn't but 3 1/2 hrs away - just get on 280/231 and come on north. One tooth in 15 years may not rate high for frequency of a find, but shark's teeth are definitely here! Very cool souvenir from her outing. Of course now Dad and I have to go back and see if we can find more, so come join us....WAR EAGLE!

rkrampf wrote on Tue, 11/22/2011 - 13:10:

I found a listing of some Alabama fossils sites on this website: http://fossilsites.com/STATES/AL.HTM
You can also check with your local library to see if there is a rock and mineral club nearby. They usually know some great places to collect.

Anonymous wrote on Tue, 09/13/2011 - 19:44:

I hope you can shed some favorable light on my question. How far up into Alabama do you believe marine fossils can be found? Are there any rare elements only found in Alabama share a state or two? What type gold can be found in Blount county or North Jefferson county? Thank you, Im trying to find things that may only exist in this beautiful state.

Anonymous wrote on Thu, 02/14/2013 - 23:14:

If you are talking about real gold, I don't think you will find any in the Jefferson Co. area. Look in areas at the north & south ends of Cheaha mountain. I grew up in Anniston & we used to pan & "rocker" the area around the old gold ghost-town of Arbachochie east of Anniston.It is in dust form & you need to use mercury to recover it. Also lots of fossils N. of Anniston a short ways.This is going back to my experiences in the 50's thru early 60's.A bank in Heflin even had scales & bought your gold.If I can be of any other help, let me know.There are lots of minerals & crystlas in the area described including aquamarine, rubies,jade,copper,turquoise(high blue grade)etc. Ashland or Ashville(S. of Cheaha was best for the wide varity. Email: fauxpasunltd@gmail.com

Anonymous wrote on Wed, 04/11/2012 - 01:10:

There are sea fossils in Huntsville and in much or North Alabama.

Anonymous wrote on Fri, 12/21/2012 - 01:41:

I have found them at the quarry across AL/TN line on I65.

hillsboroughmiddle wrote on Tue, 05/17/2011 - 12:53:


Anonymous wrote on Sat, 02/06/2010 - 23:14:

he i just wanted to say i am glad you enjoyed your ride through alabama. i have always lived here and growing up my dadand i went looking for fossils. i grew up in moody/ashville/odenville area where there are a lot of coal mine areas. i have found a few arrow heads which i have lost through the years and a very nice plant fossil. i can't wait to take my son to go hunting when he gets older..

rkrampf wrote on Sun, 02/07/2010 - 11:29:

Alabama has such great geology. One of my earliest fossil books was "Curious Creatures in Alabama Rocks" by Charles Copeland. We actually lived in Tennessee, but the fossils were very similar. I have always wanted to collect the petrified wood from the Brilliant area, with all of the marvelous quartz crystals encrusting it. I am sure it will be wonderful when you take your son. Seeing it all through new eyes reminds you of all the wonders around you.

Anonymous wrote on Sun, 09/13/2009 - 11:55:

Thanks much for this imformative post.

Tony wrote on Thu, 07/02/2009 - 17:29:

Nice spider. I was wondering if you know where all Black Widow's live.
Thanks, Tony

rkrampf wrote on Thu, 07/02/2009 - 18:30:

Black Widows like warm, dark places. They are commonly found on rock outcrops, under ledges and large rocks. They are one of the reasons, along with scorpions and snakes, that geologists use geology picks to turn over rocks, instead of sticking their fingers under them to turn them over.

caseyw wrote on Mon, 06/29/2009 - 12:33:

How do you identify a Black Widow web? What makes it different from others? Sounds like a good thing to know!

By the way, that is our favorite way to travel to FL. Nice quiet roads and avoids Atlanta completely! Did you catch a view of Vulcan as you went through Birmingham? Another fun detour on that route is the Florida Caverns in Marianna, FL. What a treat! It's cave formations in miniature, but it is still quite fascinating. :)

rkrampf wrote on Mon, 06/29/2009 - 14:09:

Black widow webs have thick strands, and they are pretty random. Not funnel shaped or spoked. That, plus the location in the rocks was a good indication that it was a Black Widow. Yes, we saw the statue of Vulcan, but did not have the time for the caverns this trip. From now on, we will be taking this route. It was fast and very enjoyable.

robotic kid wrote on Fri, 06/26/2009 - 15:29:

How did you know that there would be fossils in that rock?

Nick D.

p.s.nice dog!

rkrampf wrote on Sat, 06/27/2009 - 10:03:

I did not know if there would be fossils or not. That is part of the fun of a new site. I recognized that the rock was shale, which sometimes contains fossils, but I did not know if there would be any, or what kind of fossils we would find. We stopped and made a quick search, looking for any unusual shapes or colors. The black plant fossils stood out against the grey rock, so it was pretty easy to spot them. Most were tiny bits, but that was enough to let us know to look for more.

Our puppy, Junie Moon, is quickly turning into a Rock Hound. She loves to travel, and loves to explore, so you will see many more photos of her from our adventures.

palmisc wrote on Tue, 06/23/2009 - 00:04:

The Black Widow Spider looked really cool. Great picture! I do not think I have ever seen a picture so clear and defining. Can't wait to show my new students on the return to the classroom.

Happy Summer,

rkrampf wrote on Tue, 06/23/2009 - 09:36:

Thanks! She was a beautiful spider. It took a little while to get her to come out with me nearby, but it was worth the effort.

Rob Krampf