Results 1 to 3 of 3

Thread: Why do some fossils disintegrate?

  1. #1 Why do some fossils disintegrate? 
    New Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    I found some fossils on the isle of sheppey over a year ago and a few of them have completely disintegrated. They now look like black (with some white) fibres which fall apart if i touch them. Others are still in very good condition. I wonder what is happening to the fossils and why only some are affected. Any ideas?

    Reply With Quote  


  3. #2  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    If you got these on the Isle of Sheppey, then they are almost certainly from the London Clay, which is of Lower Eocene age. These are comparatively young, as fossils go, around 50 million years old. The clay is likely to absorb water which could make your samples unstable. Without actually seeing them, or a photograph, it is difficult to offer a certain answer.

    Are the disintegrating fossils of the same type and the ones remaining intact? Plant fossils are common in the London Clay. The white fibres you refer to could be fragments of leafs or fronds.

    Reply With Quote  

  4. #3  
    Time Lord Paleoichneum's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Washington State, USA
    Being London Clay fossils, I highly suspect that most of them will eventually succumb to "pyrite disease". The only sometimes successful method of preservation on them is to place them into oil. LC fossils are pyritized, being replaced with iron sulfides, and many of the fossils have an unstable crystalline structure which is prone to oxidization.
    If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world. -Thorin Oakenshield

    The needs of the many outweigh the need of the few - Spock of Vulcan & Sentinel Prime of Cybertron ---proof that "the needs" are in the eye of the beholder.
    Reply With Quote  

Similar Threads

  1. Transitional fossils?
    By Tyrannosaurus Rex in forum Anthropology, Archaeology and Palaeontology
    Replies: 12
    Last Post: August 21st, 2014, 08:21 PM
  2. Intermediary fossils
    By hannah40 in forum Anthropology, Archaeology and Palaeontology
    Replies: 124
    Last Post: April 15th, 2014, 06:17 PM
  3. DNA from Fossils
    By fatman57 in forum Biology
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: January 16th, 2014, 02:19 AM
  4. Looking for Fossils in Charlotte, NC...
    By gottspieler in forum Biology
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: February 9th, 2009, 12:40 PM
  5. Fossils
    By kingwinner in forum Earth Sciences
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: January 13th, 2006, 04:07 AM
Posting Permissions
  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts