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The Chandler Bridge Dig

The Chandler Bridge Dig

The temperature outside was a mere 34 degrees and the sun was barely shining through the cloudy skies but the team was determined to break ground. The plan had been in place for months and everyone was on the edge of their seats with suspense waiting to to see what would be found during the dig. We were opening up the Chandler Bridge formation which meant a rare opportunity to dig for Oligocene aged marine fossils dating back to 23.6 to 25.7 million years ago.

Suddenly the moment we had all been waiting for – we heard the sound of the mini-excavator and Billy went to work. 


Within a few minutes we could hear the sounds of roots snapping and the bucket swiveling on its’ hinges dropping 2 ton loads of dirt on the ground. We were all sitting in a row facing the hole with our shovels in hand waiting for the moment that the engine would turn off and we would be able to get to work. The suspense made the 30 minutes that it took to open the hole seem like a lifetime.

Finally, the engine stopped and it was time! With not a second to spare, we all sprang to our feet and jumped down into the 10 ft deep hole frantic to claim our spot for the day. Within minutes all you could hear was the sound of shovels shaving through the layer. 


Fifteen minutes into the dig and suddenly Jordy screamed – “I’ve got one!”, we all stopped to look. She had found a beautiful 2″ C. angustiden with a green tinted blade, chocolate bourlette, and a tan colored root. In other words, she had just found the first gem of the day! As the day passed by, we all took turns exclaiming our excitement over our finds as several more C. angustidens were unearthed in addition to several other specimens including a beautiful atlas vertebrae, Hemipristis serra’s, misc. bone fragments, and an assortment of fish vertebrae.


 The time flew by and before we knew it, the sun was setting on our beautiful operation – it was time to close up the hole and head home.

We made our way up to the surface and stood by watching with bittersweet emotions as Billy filled the hole back in and closed the ground on our Chandler Bridge dig. We were all thankful for the opportunity to participate in the days wonderful adventure but who are we kidding, none of us wanted to see it come to an end! Until next time, Happy Hunting!

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