Category Archives: Snake Stones

Snake Stones: Ammonite with Living Chamber

Ammonite
Like their cousin the nautilus, ammonites had a compartmentalized shell.  Most of their body was housed in the largest, longest, and last one known as the living chamber.  It often filled with debris after the animal died, like the shells and limestone “mud” in this example.  Because the living chamber is often damaged or less preserved than the middle of the shell, it is typically trimmed when preparing commercial fossils.

This cut pair ammonite comes from the Mahajanga River Basin, near the village of Ambatolafia, in the Sitampiky commune, in the Boeny region of northwest Madagascar, in the former province of Mahajanga.  They date from the Early Cretaceous period, Albian age (~100 to 113.0 million years ago).

© 2014, Images and Text, Christopher Lee Matthews

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Snake Stones: Fragment of a Tulear Nautilus


nautilus fragmentA polished fragment of a fossil nautilus, showing the geometric arrangement of its chambers and the tube that connected them all together, known as a siphuncle (Latin sīphunculus, meaning “a little siphon”), seen here as a dot repeated in each section.

This nautilus comes from the Morondava River Basin, near the
town of Sakaraha, in the Atsimo-Andrefana region of southwest
Madagascar (right), in the former province of Tuléar.  It dates from the Late Jurassic period, Oxfordian age (~161 to 156
million years ago).

© 2014, Images and Text, Christopher Lee Matthews

Be sure to visit our TWO online stores: The Metaphysical Department of Enter the Earth and Enter the Earth.

Snake Stones: Iridescent Ammonite Shells

iridescent ammonite
Iridescent ammonite shells, drenched in rain at the wholesale Denver gem show.   Ammonites may retain some of their original mother of pearl, known more technically as nacre.  When they are wet or polished, the colors can be as vivid as opal.

These particular ammonites come from the Mahajanga River Basin, near the village of Ambatolafia, in the Sitampiky commune, in the Boeny region of northwest Madagascar, in the former province of Mahajanga.  They date from the Early Cretaceous period, Albian age (~100 to 113.0 million years ago).

© 2014, Images and Text, Christopher Lee Matthews

Be sure to visit our TWO online stores: The Metaphysical Department of Enter the Earth and Enter the Earth.

Snake Stones: Ammonite with Sutures and Chambers

Split Ammonite with SuturesTwo ammonites, one half, one whole, from the Morondava River Basin, near the town of Sakaraha, in the Atsimo-Andrefana region of southwest Madagascar, in the former province of Tuléar.  They date from the Late Jurassic period, Oxfordian age (~161 to 156 million years ago).  Cut ammonites are uncommon from this area because the interiors are not always well preserved.

The one on the left shows the open chambers of the shell, known more technically as the camerea (Latin, “chamber, room, enclosed space”).  The one on the right shows its sutures (Latin, “stich”), patterns created where the inner folds met the exterior of the shell.  The ammonite  was polished to reveal them.

© 2014, Images and Text, Christopher Lee Matthews

Be sure to visit our TWO online stores: The Metaphysical Department of Enter the Earth and Enter the Earth.