Maryland Department of Natural Resources

Fossil Collecting Sites at Calvert Cliffs

Calvert County is here

One of the most frequent questions asked of the Maryland Geological Survey is: "Where can I collect fossils along Calvert Cliffs?" Because almost all of the land along the Calvert County shoreline of Chesapeake Bay is privately owned, public access is severely restricted.

Calvert Cliffs extend south from the area of Chesapeake Beach in northern Calvert County to Drum Point at the southern end of the county. Three geologic formations of Miocene age (approximately 6 to 20 million years old) are exposed in Calvert Cliffs. The layers of sediment are inclined slightly to the south, so that progressively younger beds are exposed from north to south along the cliffs. The oldest is the Calvert Formation on the northern end, progressing to the younger Choptank Formation and finally the youngest St. Marys Formation in the southern part.

The following three locations offer public access and allow fossil collecting, and then only from the beach and any blocks that have fallen from the cliffs. Collecting is not allowed from the cliffs themselves, not only to protect the cliffs but because of the very real hazard of cliff collapse. (Several people have been killed over the years for that very reason.) Collecting is usually best at low tide and after storms. These locations are listed from north to south.

Fossil snail shell from Calvert Cliffs OTHER POINTS OF INTEREST: We also recommend the Calvert Marine Museum at Solomons.

SUGGESTED READINGS:

Glaser, John D., 1995, Collecting Fossils in Maryland: Maryland Geological Survey, Educational Series No. 4, 83 p.

McLennan, Jeanne D., 1971, Miocene Sharks Teeth of Calvert County: Maryland Geological Survey pamphlet, 8 p. (1 to 5 copies are free on request.)

McLennan, Jeanne D., 1973, Calvert Cliffs, Maryland: Maryland Geological Survey pamphlet, 8 p. (1-5 copies are free on request.)

Vokes, Harold E., 1957, Miocene Fossils of Maryland: Maryland Geological Survey, Bulletin 20, 85 p.


Compiled by the Maryland Geological Survey, 2300 St. Paul Street, Baltimore, MD 21218
This electronic version of "Fact Sheet No.10 " was prepared by R.D. Conkwright, Division of Coastal and Estuarine Geology, Maryland Geological Survey. Please send comments on this page to Dale Shelton (dale.shelton@maryland.gov)