10.6" Ammonite In Septarian Nodule - Madagascar

 
 
This is a 10.6" ammonite fossil preserved in a Septarian nodule from Betsiboka Region, Madagascar. Most of the outer shell of the ammonite has been worn away revealing the inner suture pattern in some areas. The ammonite is unpolished while the Septarian is polished. There are dark calcite crystals growing between the ammonite and the rock.

Ammonites were predatory mollusks that resembled a squid with a shell. These cephalopods had eyes, tentacles, and spiral shells. They are more closely related to a living octopus, though the shells resemble that of a nautilus. Ammonites appeared in the fossil record about 240 million years. The last lineages disappeared 65 million years ago at the end of the Cretaceous.


Septarian or septarian nodules are concretions containing angular cavities or cracks, called "septaria" which have become filled with calcite and aragonite. A concretion is hard, compact mass of rock that often forms around decaying organic matter. In the case of septarian nodules the concretions formed around decaying sea-life in a marine environment.

The exact mechanism for how the cracks form in the concretions is a mystery. One possible mechanism is the dehydration of the clay-rich core of a concretion causing it to shrink and crack. Another is the cracks being due to the expansion of gases produced by the decay of organic matter within a concretion. Earthquakes have also been a suggested as yet another mechanism.

The cracks in the concretions are then filled in with minerals such as calcite (yellow) and aragonite (brown) and sometime pyrite causing the very interesting patterns, which have often been described as dragon's skin. They are frequently found as geodes with hollow, calcite crystal filled cavities. More rarely the fossils that originally started the formation of the concretion are still preserved in the septarian.
DETAILS
SPECIES
Unidentified
LOCATION
Ambondromamy, Betsiboka Region, Madagascar
SIZE
10.6" ammonite, 10.3" tall on Septarian
ITEM
#124162
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