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Fossil Bluff

Facility Snapshot

Fossil Bluff is the perfect place to discover your inner explorer. At low tide, the cliffs reveal evidence of fossils encased in the sandstone layers. The beach also has a treasure trove of shells to discover and collect.

A 23 million-year-old sandstone headland, Fossil Bluff was formed from thick sediments deposited by rising sea levels. At the base is 1.2 metre thick Freestone Cove sandstone, above which you’ll see 24 metres of Fossil Bluff Sandstone. Capping the sandstone formations is a layer of basalt, formed by the Table Cape volcano flow 13.3 million years ago.

East and west of the beach you’ll see a low, flat, grey rock. This is the Wynyard Tillite, deposited by a tidewater glacier between 303 (Carboniferous Period)  and 293 (Permian Period) million years ago. It was formed while Australia was part of the super continent called Gondwana. Recent research suggests the Late Palaeozoic Ice Age was characterised by a dynamic series of short-lived and severe ice advances and retreats over Gondwana, separated by periods of ice-free conditions. Wynyard’s glacier was one of these short, intense, glacial events. The Wynyard tidewater glacier deposited a 600-metre-thick succession of four different groups of sediments. They are known as the Wynyard Tillite Formation. The sediments are sandstone and conglomerate, massive (unlayered) tillite, Stratified (layered) tillite and deformed mudstones and fine sandstones.

You can find granites, cherts, quartz, jaspers and agates in the tillite, and on the beach as small pebbles.

Fossil Bluff sits on top of the tillite. As you walk around the Bluff (at low tide) you will be able to see where the sandstone and tillite meet.

Access can be gained to the Freestone Cove Beach at the end of Freestone Crescent. Picnic tables are provided near the beach and seating is available on top of Fossil Bluff. There is a short walkway to the top of Fossil Bluff, with spectacular views of the coastline from the top.


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