A General view of Smokejacks quarry north west face

Two further visits are planned to Smokejacks in Surrey. The trips are being run as part of the Kent Geologists' Group field programme for 2017. This Weald Clay brickpit has yielded a number of important finds over the past three decades.

In 1983 Bill Walker, an amateur collector, found a new theropod dinosaur, Baryonyx walkeri, which proved to be crucial to the understanding of the spinosaurs, and on the Geologists' Association fieldtrip to the site in July 2001 a well-preserved partial skeleton of a juvenile Iguanodont (Mantellisaurus atherfieldensis) was discovered by Geoff Toye and subsequently excavated by the Natural History Museum.

The south east corner of the quarry, where both the juvenile Iguanodon and Baryonyx were found

Two Baryonyx teeth were also recovered from the Mantellisaurus excavation, suggesting that it may have been scavenged by Baryonyx. The site is also known for the early flowering plant Bevhalstia pebja (published in 1996) remains of which can still be found.

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The concretions of sideritic ironstone and fine grained calcareous sandstone have also yielded numerous insect remains (10 orders) including many new species. Other finds include dinosaur footcasts, remains of pterosaur, fish, crocodile, crustaceans, molluscs and non-angiospermous plants (ferns and cycads, and a Sequoia-type cone).

A death-bed assemblage of teleost fish has also been found, which included the first articulated pycnodont fish from the Wealden. During the 2015 field season a new species of spinicaudatan (clam shrimp) and a number of new beetles were discovered and during 2016 a small claw, possibly Baryonyx.

Pictures of some notable finds are shown below.

Pycnodont Fish - the first articulated specimen from the Weald - Scale bar is cm.
Baryonyx Tooth - Scale bar is mm.
Pycnodont Fish - the first articulated specimen from the Weald
Scale bar is cm.
Baryonyx Tooth
Scale bar is mm.
Lacewing - Length of wing left to right is 24 mm. Beetle - Scale bar on specimen
Length of wing left to right is 24 mm.
Scale bar on specimen

N.B. It is likely that parts of the pit will be flooded - please take care.

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Dates: Sunday 9th April 2017
Sunday 10th September 2017
Meet at 10.30 a.m. in the car park at Smokejacks Brickworks (Wienerberger Limited - Ewhurst Works).
Smokejacks is just south of Walliswood (4 km southwest of Ockley), Surrey.
O.S. map 187 - 1:50,000 series
Grid reference TQ 116 373
Postcode RH5 5QH for those with SatNav.

Please note that the access route from the car park to the quarry has now completely changed. The previous route around the back of the processing plant is now strictly off limits as it is an operational area with moving machinery. It is important that you check the route with the trip leaders before leaving the car park.

Equipment: Hard hats and reflective jackets are compulsory. Eye protection, hammer, chisels, wrapping material for specimens, handlens and boots suitable for claypit. Packed lunch. Sun protection is advisable if it is a hot day, plus sufficient drink.
Risk Assessment: All attendees must familiarise themselves with the Risk Assessment for the site, circulated with these details. If you have not seen a copy please contact Peter Austen (details below). Copies will be available on site.

For a downloadable, PDF version of the Risk Assessment, click here

Minimum Age: 12 years and must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
Cost: There will be a small charge of £2 per person to cover administration for non-Kent Geologists' Group members.
Contact: Please contact Peter Austen at least ten days before the event, with details of numbers attending.

Peter Austen on 01323 899237
e-mail: p.austen26@btinternet.com