Expedition to Oz

Naracoorte Sand Mine


Team members inspect curious outcrops they think might be coral remains. They later identify the rocks as fossils of algae.


The team spends a day exploring the floor, walls and caves of the Naracoorte sand quarry.

The team spends an entire day exploring Naracoorte Quarry, a commercial operation reaping sand formed from marine sediments. What they think are fossil corals later turn out, on closer inspection, to be a more primitive organism. Subsequent dating of these fossils in Boston show that they are about 20 million years old, much older than the Pliocene-vintage the team sought.