Sea snail in the Mountains

At first, we did not think much of it.

Snail in amber 1It looked like a regular piece of brownish amber we found in the mine on 1000 meters altitud. Not even very pretty, although one side had been polished. But when we turned it around, the surprise was complete. The secrete of this piece is a shell, a sea snail snail house.

What makes it even more interesting is the fact that usually fossil inclusions are only preserved inside the amber. This piece has the sea snail house inside and out.

Snail in amber 3

It seems that the resin had flown into it, after the former occupant had moved out or died and dried, or maybe the resin even suffocated the owner of the house.
Snail in amber 2
It is also possible that the pressure of the resin cracked the shell, especial when it hardened during these past 20-30 million years. It was found in La Toca mine not far from Santiago de los Caballeros.

 

Snail in amber 4

After this find, we started to look for more see snails in amber. And we found them! Even on blue and pink amber.

snail on amberTo help people understand the importance of these extraordinary specimens: they are from La Toca Mine south of Santiago, about 1000 meters above sea level. (19° 23′ 3” North , 70° 43′ 46’’ West) The sediment around the snails is Oligocene-Miocene sandstone, from the bottom of the Comatillo Basin which is now Cordilleras Septentrional sitting right where the Caribbean and North America geographically meet.

 

Some of them we recognized clearly as turritella sea snails.

Turritela sea snail on pink amber

Turritella sea snail on pink amber

Turritela sea snail on pink amber

Turritella sea snail on pink amber

 

 

 

In this specimen, also, pink amber we notice that the liquid amber filled a trurritella sea snail house and stayed yellow, whereas the rest of the amber changed color and turned pink. The sea snail house broke off, the amber stayed in in the form of the snail.

How they got there is a mystery. But how the amber got into the snails is an even bigger mystery. I have consulted quite a number of scientist but not of them has an explanation so far.