Geology Home Page physical geology historical geology planetary gems
Roger Weller, geology instructor
by Jessica Hoffman
The Solnhofen Limestone is found north of Munich in Bavaria, Germany.
Above photo credited to: http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/mesozoic/jurassic/solnhofen.html
The limestone dates back to the Jurassic Era. The area that the limestone is found in covers a 100km by 25km area and in some spots the limestone is deeper then 150m.
The limestone is used for many different things such as floor tiles and roof tiles. When fossils are found they are sold to scientists and tourists.
Above photo credited to:
There are both hard and soft beds which alternate from one to the other making
it easier to get the hard stuff out which is used more often for the floor tiles
and roof tiles. In the harder beds the fossils are found easier. Around the hard
beds are the soft beds which make it easy to split the limestone and mine it.
Fossils are often found in the softer beds but since the local quarries are not mining the Solnhofen limestone for the fossils they are discarded.
There are many different terrestrial fauna and marine fossils
found in the limestone but the most popular is the dinosaur
bird which has a scientific name of Archaeopteryx Lithographica.
Features of Archaeopteryx shared with reptiles (diapsids plus turtles) in general but not with other birds
|Features of Archaeopteryx shared with birds, but not with dinosaurs or other reptiles|
|Features unique to Archaeopteryx|
Above chart credited to: http://www.grisda.org/georpts/3001.htm
Most of the Saccocoma found in the limestone have their arms curled up and were preserved that way where as some of the Saccocoma have their arms open.
Some specimens died a quick death. There has been evidence of this found such as some fish have been found that were in the process of eating and swallowing another one. Some Pterosaurs have been found with stomach contents. There have also been half eaten fish found in the limestone.
Above photo credited to: http://www.geo.ucalgary.ca/~macrae/t_origins/archaeopteryx/