The pattern of white dots and stripes on the blue-grey boulder (in the foreground of the picture above) is fossilised coral which lived between 290 and 340 million years ago. This boulder is one of many with similar fossils that come from the Carboniferous Limestone strata which are a major geological component of the tip of the Gower Peninsula. The original calcareous components of the coral skeleton have been replaced by white crystals, probably calcite. The process has preserved in fine detail the internal structure of the coral with its many internal dividers or septa. The way the beach boulders have weathered and worn has exposed the coral colonies within the rocks showing the long axes or longitudinal sections of the coral (the stripes) and the circular end views or transverse sections (the dots). 


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13 Replies to “Fossil Coral at Broughton Bay”

  1. I remember examining, drawing and labelling hand specimens like these in first year Palaeo at Royal Holloway. You get to Gower often – do you have a pad?


  2. Me, too, Jan. I did geology in my first year at Swansea University.
    Gower has a great pull for me. I visit as often as I can. It would be good to have a permanent place of our own down there but it is not feasible. We usually stay in a rented cottage or do B&B for shorter periods of time. We have stayed in lots of different places over the years. When we visited North Gower over this New Year, we stayed with some really splendid people, Anne and David Main, who run the lovely Tallizmand Guest House in Llanmadoc. It’s one of those special places: quietly welcoming; beautifully styled and very comfortable; decorated with ceramics, paintings and other art-work created by David and his daughter; huge cosy beds with down-filled duvets; home-made bread and fresh laid eggs (from their own chickens) among other varied delights for breakfast. A great place to return to after a long day’s walking and photographing on the beaches. Wonderful!


  3. It fascinates me to compare your rocks and fossils of Gower Bay with ours on Lake Michigan and (when I get farther north) Lake Superior. Lake Michigan fossils are not that different from yours. Lake Superior, on the other hand, has a much older geology around much of its shore.


  4. I have probably said it before but I really ought to look into how the geology near the Great Lakes relates to the geology in the UK. I have a feeling that the two places were once joined and would, in places, share similar rock types and fossils.


  5. I love your explanation of how we are seeing two different views. This post is making me want to visit the Joggins fossil cliffs here in Nova Scotia. It’s a World UNESCO heritage site.


  6. The Joggins fossil cliffs sound a bit like our Jurassic Coast here in Dorset – which is also a World Heritage Site. I wonder what sort of fossils you would find in your Nova Scotia cliffs?


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