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Fur Formation

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Title: Fur Formation  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: MoClay, Eocene, Geology of Denmark, Cimbrophlebia, Ypresian
Collection: Eocene, Fossil Parks, Geology of Denmark, Paleontological Sites of Europe, Paleontology in Denmark
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Fur Formation

Fur Formation
Stratigraphic range: 55.8–53.5Ma
Coastal cliff on the Danish island Fur - Mo-clay and ash layers
Type Geological formation
Sub-units See: Members
Underlies Røsnes Ler
Overlies Holmehus Formation
Thickness 60 metres (200 ft)
Primary Diatomite
Country Denmark
Type section
Named for Fur (island)

The Fur Formation is a marine geological formation of Ypresian (Lower Eocene Epoch, c. 56.0-54.5 Ma) age which crops out in the Limfjord region of Denmark from Silstrup via Mors and Fur to Ertebølle, and can be seen in many cliffs and quarries in the area. The Diatomite Cliffs (moler in Danish) is on the Danish list of tentative candidates for World Heritage and may become a world Heritage site.[1]


  • Geology 1
    • Members 1.1
  • Fossils 2
    • Birds 2.1
    • Reptiles 2.2
    • Fish 2.3
    • Insects 2.4
    • Crustacea 2.5
    • Molluscs 2.6
    • Land plants 2.7
    • Diatoms 2.8
  • Ash layers 3
  • See Also 4
  • References 5


The Fur Formation is a unit of diatomitic sediment approximately 60 meters thick consisting of diatoms and clay minerals with up to 180 layers of volcanic ash.[2] In Danish literature the formation has informally been referred to as the moler (Ler means clay). The diatomite comprises 2/3 opal tests of diatoms and 1/3 clay, interbedded with layers of volcanic ash and a few limestone horizons (‘cementstones’), and has exceptionally complete fossil preservation.

It is known for its abundant fossil fish, insects, reptiles, birds and plants. The Fur Formation was deposited just above the Palaeocene-Eocene boundary, about 55 million years ago, and its tropical or sub-tropical flora indicate that the climate after the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum was moderately warm (approximately 4-8 degrees warmer than today).

Glacial activity has moved and folded all exposed moler in a complicated pattern which permits very precise mapping of glacial movement at the end of the last ice age, and has, due to the ash layers, created an extraordinary pedagogical case for studying tectonics.


The Fur Formation is divided into two members: The lower Knudeklint Member was named for a location on the island of Fur. The upper Silstrup Member was named for a location in Thy.


Fossils of great diversity and unique preservation (only 10 my. after the ‘great extinction’ of dinosaurs, ammonites etc.) Most unusual, if not unique, diversity of life from both ocean and land with extremely good preservation of details rarely seen, therefore very reliable reconstruction of palaeobiology. By far most of the important ‘Danekræ’ fossils since 1990 have been found in the ‘Mo-clay area’.[3]


The earliest Paleogene fauna of any diversity, over 30 species, including some near complete, some preserved in 3-D, and some excellent bird-fossils (even with feathers and chromatine). Most are earliest known representatives of their ‘orders’ (e.g. Trogons), and all are terrestrial birds.[4][5][6]


Turtles[7] and snakes:[8] [9] Large leatherback (Eosphargis), near complete, earliest of family; a 10 cm, complete chelonid has soft tissue and some horn plates preserved.[6]


Large teleostean fauna, oceanic, possibly including earliest truly deep water fish, a ‘whale-fish’; earliest members of many living families and Tertiary diversity preserved as complete skeletons; some rare and sensational large and complete specimens (two ‘bony tongues’, one tarpon.[6][10]

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