New Castle County
Echinoderms are "spiny-skinned" invertebrate animals that live only in marine environments. Two major divisions are recognized by biologists: principally attached, usually stalked forms of the Pelmatozoa; and unattached free-moving forms of the Eleutherozoa.
Arthropods are animals with a segmented body, external skeleton, and jointed appendages. The Arthropoda includes insects and crustaceans. Only two groups of arthropods are common as fossils in the Cretaceous of the C&D Canal area, and both are types of crustaceans: the Malacostraca (crabs, lobsters, and shrimp) and the microscopic Ostracoda.
Annelids are segmented worms. The remains of the soft-bodied segmented worms are not usually preserved as fossils. Some marine (salt-water) types, however, secrete tubes of calcium carbonate to use both as a home and to provide protection from their enemies. These tubes can be found as isolated specimens or attached to larger shells. Two genera, Serpula and Hamulus, are fairly common in formations near the C&D canal.
Cephalopoda is the scientific name for the mollusc group that includes the chambered Nautilus, squid, and octopus. Two extinct types are found at the C & D canal: the Nautilus-like ammonites and the superficially squid-like belemnites. Ammonites are uncommon, especially complete specimens, but can be very useful for age determination. The belemnite species Belemnitella americana has been so abundant at some canal localities that it was named the state fossil of Delaware.
Pelecypoda is the group of molluscs referred to as the bivalves. Most pelecypods have a pair of hinged shells of generally equal size. Clams, oysters, and scallops are well-known types. Pelecypods can be abundant in the sediments of the C & D canal area.
Gastropoda is the scientific name for the group of animals more commonly called snails. Gastropods have a single coiled or uncoiled shell and are common fossil types in the Cretaceous sediments of the C & D canal area.
Dark-gray to gray silty clay to clayey silt that contains abundant fragments of lignite; grades downward into a very fine to fine sand with scattered and discontinuous thin beds of clayey silt with lignite fragments. Thickness ranges from 20 to 50 ft. Updip in the vicinity of the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal, the Magothy fills channels incised into the Potomac Formation and is discontinuous in its extent. Interpreted to have been deposited in coastal to nearshore environments.
Light- to dark-gray, very micaceous, glauconitic, very silty fine- to very fine-grained sand to fine sandy silt. Ranges from 20 to 120 ft in thickness. Marine in origin.