Around 350-400 million years ago, the landscape of northern Maine was quite unlike that of today. The most

notable difference is that this part of Maine was underwater in an ancient ocean called Iapetus (it would be another 100 million plus years before the Atlantic Ocean is formed after more continental movement). The marine fossils found within the lakeshore rock includes corals, brachiopods (shelled animals that somewhat resemble small clams), and crinoids. Crinoids come from the Greek “krinon” meaning lily and “eidos” meaning form. A look at modern day crinoids shows they have the form of a lily, despite being a marine animal. With a stem attached to the sea floor, the “petals” of this flower-like animal wave about in the water, capturing microscopic plants and animals floating by in a sticky mucus that is directed to the mouth in the center of the “flower”.

The most noticeable portions of the crinoids at this site are the small sections of stem in the rock. We often associate

coral with the warmer waters down south and while we do have some slow forming corals in this part of the world, the fossilized coral found at this site was formed while this area was a great deal nearer to the equator. Continental drift has shifted our region around quite a bit in the last billion years and continues to do so at a timescale in which we do not readily notice. For perspective, North America is moving toward Africa at about the same rate as your fingernails grow. This will mean that in 250 million years we could walk to South Africa.

Learn more about other unique geological & fossil sites below!