Lebanese Lagerstatte Fossils

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Cretaceous Lagerstätte Fossils of Lebanon
Sublithographic limestone deposits

Lagerstatte is a German word meaning "resting place". It has been recently co-opted by paleontologists to have a meaning more like "universal graveyard". A largerstatt is a spectacular rarity, with only a few dozen scattered about the earth like gemstones. The deposits of Solnhofen, famous for its primitive bird Archaeopteryx, is one such deposits where much the life of the Jurassic at that time is preserved in the lithographic limestone. Another preserving the Eocene world of Germany is Messel, in which the panoply of life forms has been preserved in an oil shale. Another more recent deposit would be the tar pits of Rancho La Brea in Los Angeles, showing us what life was like in the Pleistocene, just 10,000 years ago. Oil shale deposits in Wyoming tell of the fantastic variety of Fish of the Green River Eocene. The Burgess Shale deposits of Canada show us what life was like at the beginning of an explosive radiation of diversity over a half billion years ago. The one that has been most in the news of late are the Late Jurassic/Early Cretaceous deposits of Liaoning Province in China, home of the fantastic "feathered dinosaurs".

Taking its rightful place with all of these is the sublithographic limestone deposits of Sahel Alma, Hajoula and Haqel, Lebanon of the Cenomanian Stage of the Middle Cretaceous (93-97 million years ago). These deposits are most famous for their exquisitely-preserved fish, but show a diversity of other well-preserved fossils such as shrimp and lobsters. The deposits are indicative of a warm and shallow sea that was made up of small basins only a few hundred meters across. These deposits now rest some 270 meters below the current surface.Geologists currently believe these basins had their origins at the intersection of block fault systems. The Baensch Fossil Atlas lists over 70 genera of fish found within these deposits, most all of which are known from unparalleled-quality specimens preserved in remarkable detail.

Lebanese Fossils at Fossil Mall