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Essex Field Club
Essex Field Club
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EFC Centre at Wat Tyler Country ParkIn January we are only open to the public at our centre at Wat Tyler Country Park on Wednesdays 10am-4pm.
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London Clay fossils from the former Lea Valley gravel pits, PONDERS END, London Borough of Enfield, General information


Historical site only

The Devensian (last glacial stage) gravel of the Lea valley rests directly on London Clay bedrock and an extensive platform of London Clay was often revealed at the base of the various gravel pits when they were in operation. No fossils appear to have been reported from the London Clay by visitors to these pits, probably because fossils from this formation are usually scarce and the main purpose of these visits was to examine the gravels. However, a notable exception was the Angel Road Pit (see also entry under Ponders End – Lea Valley Arctic Bed).

In 1911 London Clay was exposed in the floor of the Angel Road Pit and it appears that this yielded some spectacular sharks teeth although it is not known when these were collected. Edgard Casier, in his monumental 1966 work on London Clay fish, illustrates three fine teeth of the shark Otodus obliquus (formerly Lamna obliqua) from the Angel Road Pit. This species lived in the London Clay sea some 50 million years ago and was an ancestor of the great white shark. Casier gives a grid reference of TQ 352 927 for this pit.

The teeth of sharks from the London Clay of Angel Road Pit in the Lea valley. Probably collected in the early 20th century. These sharks were swimming in a subtropical sea that covered London some 50 million years ago. Photo: Natural History Museum


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Reference: Casier 1966 (p.20 and plate 76)

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