The Sandhills are
hilly, unconnected bands of sand left from the ocean dunes during the
Miocene Epoch. (See more about the ancient ocean on the Coastal
Above these sand
deposits lies the Fall line, where the rocky river beds meet the
sediment covered river bottoms of the Coastal Plain. Many cities
besides Columbia were built along the fall line as it runs up the
east coast (Atlanta, Raleigh, Richmond, Washington D.C. and
Philadelphia). This was as far as most boats could sail safely
upriver. At the Fall Line they would unload their goods from the
boat and transport them by land. The rapids at the Fall Line also
provided many industries with needed hydropower.
About South Carolina Fossils
large portion of the rocks and sediment in South Carolina contain
majority of these fossils are of marine life from the Miocene Epoch.
The Miocene Epoch, which was between 22.7 and 5.3 million
years ago, was a period in history where South Carolina’s climate
became colder. The change in climate caused glaciers to form in some parts of North America. The dramatic change also caused forest area to shrink and grasslands to spread. These changes and competition between species cause the extinction of about twenty-five percent of all mammal species. Many animals came out of this era, these animals include: whales, dolphins, seals, early mastodons, dugongs, and grazing mammals.
During this time an ancient shoreline came
up to what is now known as South Carolina’s Sandhills, one of the
states five geological regions. This accounts for the many
fossils found in many different areas of the state. The most common
type of fossils that are usually found are molds and
casts. This is because these
types of fossils are easily preserved. Other types of fossils that
can be found in South Carolina are petrified remains and carbon
films. Another type of fossil that can be found in South Carolina are trace fossils, with one of the best examples of this type of fossil being found at Peachtree Rock Preserve. In the sandstone ledges that are all around the Preserve, burrows that were once home to marine shrimp (Calianassa) can be seen. These burrows
show that at one time the Sandhills used to be a marine environment
and had a tropical climate, because
these shrimp are known the only live in tropical areas.