Mystery Fossils Found Wintertime Lake Michigan Beach

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Winter 2010/2011

Most years, Lake Michigan’s wave action and chilling temperatures pushes ice and snow into huge mounds over the shoreline as high as twenty feet (shown above). In order to actually see the big lake you have to climb the mounds without falling in. Danger lurks around those edges where people can and have fallen through.

It’s January 2013 and the second consecutive season where the sand is left bare of winter’s icy layers; which I can’t stress enough how extremely rare that is. Looking towards the horizon over Lake Michigan, you would normally see a frozen tundra of stillness. Not this year. Compare the photo above taken winter 2010/2011 from the photo below taken winter 2012/2013.

Lake Michigan 2013

Lake Michigan Unfrozen January 2013

Case in point; due to the season’s whirling winds, minus the layers of snow, and less tourist traffic, fossils are more exposed from the continuous movement of sand. Below, are several interesting samples of fossils I found on Oval Beach, Saugatuck, MI (USA) winter 2012/2013. I haven’t been able to fully identify these species partly due to their smoothed surfaces, so please feel free to make suggestions. I have provided a few best guesses.

Coral Fossil, Geode or both?  Mystery Fossil 1

Coral with embedded crinoids

Crinoids embedded in coral or chunk of seafloor, Mystery Fossil 2

Fossil Coral

Sponge or Coral? Mystery Fossil 3

Fossil Coral

(reverse side of fossil above)

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Mystery Fossils Found at Oval Beach

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Saugatuck Natural Harbor Area adjacent to Oval Beach, Saugatuck, MI

Mystery Fossil 1
Mystery Fossil #1

The very first photo above shows the Saugatuck Natural Harbor Area adjacent to Oval Beach on Lake Michigan. I have found many fossils in both locations which I can usually identify, but sometimes not!

SIDE NOTE: The grass growing on the dune is called Marram Grass or American Beach Grass. This grass actually stabilizes the West Michigan Dunes along Lake Michigan and assists in building them upwards along with the dominate westerly winds pushing the sand inland. The winds also reveal so many of the fossils I have found that I like to share with you.

I decided to post these photos of interesting mystery fossils, if that is indeed what they are. Some simply intrigued me, for example, #2 is a perfect circle inside the stone and #4 is something I have found before in similar shape. Hopefully, someone will glance upon these and help identify them. Maybe even you! Please make any suggestions that could provide possible answers!

Side Note: The last fossil, Mystery Fossil 5, was not found on the beach and I don’t even remember where I got it. I believe it could be a trace millipede fossil.

Mystery Fossil 2

Mystery Fossil #2

UPDATE: C. Chavez wrote me about Mystery Fossil #2: I believe your “Mystery Fossil 2″ is not a fossil, but a reductive rock. If you were to crack it open you’d find the perfect circle is actually a sphere. It is created by some foreign material that is introduced into the rock which results in bleaching. It is the same idea as if you were to put a drop of bleach on blue jeans and it would expand into a circle. We have many reductive rocks where I live in NM, but they are not common elsewhere. You can find me and many more people helping to identify fossils at “thefossilforum.com”

Mystery Fossil 2

Mystery Fossil #3

Mystery Fossil 4

Mystery Fossil #4

Mystery Fossil 5

Mystery Fossil #5