Best Fossil Hunting

Shell Ridge Open Space

Twelve million years ago, the San Francisco Bay was a highland. The
hilly regions of Contra Costa County were an ocean. And we’ve got
millions of fossilized clam, oyster, mussel, and scallop shells
embedded in sandstone to prove it. Trounce through any creek in
Lamorinda and you’ll stumble across some; for a mother lode of fossils,
lying among sea-smoothed pebbles as if they’d just washed up in the
surf, head to Shell Ridge Open Space and hike Fossil Ridge, Fossil
Hill, or the Fossil Trail. The region’s saber-toothed tigers,
mastodons, and camel fossils have already been excavated, so you’ll
have to take your late-Cenozoic blast from the past in mollusk form.
But still, if you want to see your world from a different perspective,
looking at proof positive that the foothills of the East Bay’s tallest
peak used to be a seashore, even if your proof is just a clam, can do
the trick.

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