Today we took a trip down south into the wilds of Okeechobee County to dig for fossil Mercenaria clams which are highly prized for their beautiful amber colored crystals. In fact the place we went to dig, known as Rucks Pit, is the only place in the world where these particular critters can be found.
These fossilized clams are about 1.5 million years old (Pliocene) and are found in an area of Florida that was once underwater when sea levels were much higher. The amber crystals are quite unique and look a lot like a geode but are actually the fossilized organic remains of the clam's soft interior.Mercenaria permagna
Outcrop of fossils at Rucks Pit
After spending several hours digging for clams we proceeded further south to take in the lovely bucolic splendor of this rural county and snap a picture of Lake Okeechobee. It is the second-largest freshwater lake wholly within the continental United States, second only to Lake Michigan, and the largest in the southern United States. Okeechobee covers 730 square miles and is relatively shallow, with an average depth of only 9 feet. The name comes from the Hitchi Indian words "oki" (water) and "chubi" (big) and literally means "big water".