WEIRDLY, THIS QUARRY IS OPEN TO THE PUBLIC
(NEWSER) – Amateur enthusiasts and kids on field trips have been flocking to a New Jersey quarry pit for years to dig up some of its many prehistoric fossils. Incredibly, this pit may also be the only known dinosaur graveyard dating back to their destruction 66 million years ago, the New York Times reports. “It sounds silly, but is it the case that this pit in South Jersey, behind Lowe’s, has the one window into this pivotal moment in time?” asks Kenneth Lacovara, who teaches geology and paleontology at Rowan University. The pit, which was in a shallow sea on the dinosaurs’ last day, happens to contain a host of fossils about 40 feet down—which puts it around the “extinction layer” marked by an element found in comets and asteroids called radioactive iridium.
“We are in the trying-to-poke-holes-in-it phase,” says Lacovara. “Certainly we have rocks that are near that time. I know we’re damned close.” Owned by a water treatment plant for nearly a century, it became unprofitable due to environmental regulations and was slated to become a lake—until Rowan, pressed by Lacovara, bought it for $1.95 million, the Star-Ledger reported in September. Now Lacovara wants even more school trips and fossil days so enthusiasts can search through the muck in Mantua Township, NJ. “We really want to integrate this in the community,” he says. “Kids start to think of science as a process. It’s a way of asking questions about your world.”