Neptuni Åkrar: a Swedish fossil-rich cobble beach that holds Viking graves, cairns, and other remains.

We are along the Northwest coast of the island of Öland, Sweden. Located in Borgholm Municipality along the Kalmar Strait, north of the village of Byxelkrok, lies Neptuni Åkrar, Swedish for “Neptune’s Fields,” a vast shingle beach dotted with unusual limestone rock formations and close to a Viking-era burial ground. The cobble stones of Neptuni Åkrar result from stones left during the last ice age, which eroded down to their present shape by the waves over the centuries, and they are interspersed with fossils from Trilobites and Brachiopods. During summer,…

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The Stromatolites of Hamelin Pool – Australia

Located within a sheltered bay on the coast of Western Australia, theb Hamelin Pool Marine Nature Reserve appears at first glance to be a regular rock-strewn beach, though the rocks look kind of odd. Those rocks are not actually rocks. Rather, they are active colonies of one of the first life forms on our planet. They are called “stromatolites”, and they are made by a single-celled organism know as “cyanobacteria”. Previously known as blue-green algae, cyanobacteria exist since about 3500 million years ago, well before the existence of any other…

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