Dick Franz gave a terrific talk about Florida history, geologic and hydrologic events, and fossils found in the local area.

James Peffley and Dick Franz

Florida Museum

Dick brought fascinating fossils from the Pleistocene epoch (10,000 years to 1.9 million years ago) including manatee, whale, alligator, tortoise, pond turtles, giant armadillo, mastodon, mammoth, smilodon (sabre cat), jaguar, and horses. Many samples came from Welaka, 22 ft deep in the St. John’s river. Visit some of these fossils at the Florida Museum in Gainesville

Sea levels changed dramatically in our region. For example, sea levels 130,000 years ago in the last interglacial period (Eemian stage) were 20 feet higher than today. The area near present-day Palatka was completely under water all the way to the Kay Larkin airport.

Sea levels dropped to 410 feet below present levels 21,000 years ago. Imagine what the St. John’s River basin looked like then!

Rising sea levels approached modern levels about 12,500 years ago.

Did you know an 1886 earthquake in Charleston, SC with a magnitude 6.9-7.3 was felt here in Melrose?Many thanks to Dick for bringing megalodon teeth for the kids in attendance!

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