It’s hard to imagine New Mexico was once under the sea, but during the Cretaceous Period, between 145.5 and 65.5 million years ago, much of the state was.
Because of this, remains of sharks’ teeth can be found at a site aptly named Shark’s Tooth Ridge near Cabezon, N.M.
Local Geologist Patrick Rowe will lead a Pajarito Environmental Education Center (PEEC) trip to the site Saturday, Sept. 28. The group will meet at PEEC just before 8 a.m. to carpool to the site. Those who live in Santa Fe or Albuquerque can alternatively meet the group at 9:30 a.m. in San Ysidro, which is near the site. Participants of all ages are welcome to join, and the inevitability of finding samples makes this an excellent trip for kids.
Participants on the trip will look for the five different species of shark’s teeth that can be found at this location. In addition, they will look for septarian nodules, which are also known as “dragon stones,“ due to their sometimes scaly appearance. The nodules in this area often contain open pockets with beautiful calcite and barite crystals, making them special samples to take home.
Patrick Rowe is an active member of the Los Alamos Geological Society. He regularly leads field trips for the Society, and for PEEC.
The Cretaceous period ended with the extinction of the dinosaurs when an asteroid hit Earth in the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico. Seasons began to grow more pronounced as the global climate became cooler. Forests evolved to look similar to present day forests, with oaks, hickories, and magnolias becoming common in North America by the end of the Cretaceous.
The cost for the trip is per person is $10 or $8 for PEEC members. For families, the cost is $20 or $16 for PEEC members, regardless of how many family members attend. Advance registration is required, and those interested are advised to register soon, as this is expected to be a popular trip.