Fossilized Calcite Clam - Rucks Pit, Fort Drum, Florida.
Approx. Measures: 5.2 x 4 x 3 cm.
This is a clam which has been fossilized and is composed of Calcite in various stages of crystallization. A rare example of aesthetic crystallization in a fossil.
The land, now known as Rucks' Pit, was purchased by the Rucks family in 1959, long after the originally mining operations in the area had ceased. Mining history in the area dates back to the early 1900's when the area was being dug for shell by the Florida East Coast Railroad company. The Rucks family intermittently dug for coquina until 1987, when they expanded their operation to include quantities of sparite, essentially a carbonate cement. At the time, no significant calcite specimens were being found, due to the primary use of dynamite at the locale to clear the area. In 2001, they switched to back-hoe mining in an effort to reduce mass damage being done to the awesome calcite fossils Rucks' Pit is so known for today. Unfortunately, many were still damaged by this method. These calcite fossils, mostly clams and less commonly whelks, are quite soft (as is the nature of calcite) and do best when collected straight from the wall of the pit with hand tools. In 2003, the first field collecting trip was organized by Mickey Cecil for members of the Jacksonville Gem & Mineral Society, and the owners of the locality realized the pit's commercial potential.