De Kaloot: A fossil treasure trove in The Netherlands

Frank Wesselingh (The Netherlands) In the southern Delta area of the Netherlands, several beaches exist where the collector can collect a wide variety of Tertiary and Quaternary fossils. One of the well-known beaches is that of Cadzand that has been particularly rich in fossil shark teeth (but also fossil shells). The richest of the Dutch localities, a beach called De Kaloot, was under threat because of a proposed container terminal that would obliterate most, if not all, of the beach. Fig. 2. A view down the bank at De Kaloot. Fig. 3. A walk along the beach at De Kaloot. De Kaloot is located on the North bank of the Westerschelde estuary. Tidal currents are very powerful, eroding the seabed in front of the beach down to 60m in depth. As a result, five different fossiliferous formations in the subsurface are revealed. The fossils from these deposits find their way to the beach, especially after heavy SW storms. The fossil finds are diverse but comprise mainly fossil shells of Pliocene and Quaternary age. We estimate that over 500 species have been collected from De Kaloot. In addition, from these shells, shark teeth, vertebrate remains, bryozoans and other fossil groups have been collected. On some days, about 75% of the shell banks consist of fossil shells. This locality is unrivalled in its species richness, and it is said that it is under threat. In 1999, the Province of Zeeland, where De Kaloot is located, announced plans to build a container terminal. The … Read More

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