The Geology of Delaware

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Cretaceous Fossils Overview

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Eastern Entrance of C&D Canal (Source: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Digital Visual Library)

The Cretaceous Period is the last period in the Mesozoic Era, a time in earth history commonly called "The Age of the Reptiles." This period lasted from approximately 144 to 65 million years ago.

Delaware was mostly an area of rivers, swamps, and dry land during the early part of the Cretaceous Period. During the late part of the Cretaceous, the sea covered most of Delaware. These ancient seas left deposits that contain the remains of marine life that lived on the sea bottom and swam in the water.

This web site is designed to show some of the fossil remains of this Cretaceous marine life that have been found in Delaware. Many fossils have been collected in the past from Cretaceous deposits exposed along the Chesapeake and Delaware (or C&D) Canal in northern Delaware. Most of the good collecting localities have been covered in recent years as the canal has been widened and improved, but in places fossils still can be found in "spoil piles," which are piles of material dug from the bottom of the canal when it is deepened or cleaned.

This web site describes many of the types of fossils that are known from the Cretaceous deposits of Delaware. It includes pictures and drawings of many of the fossils. It also provides a checklist of Delaware's Cretaceous as well as some maps that show collecting sites and the geology of the area.

Whether you are interested in collecting yourself, or just want to learn about Delaware's fossils, we hope this web page will give you helpful information.