Recent Storms Have Helped Unusually Large Seashells Wash Ashore In NC

Nov 4, 2019

Recent storms have helped unusually large seashells wash ashore, including these two large lightning whelk shell found along the Cape Lookout National Seashore.
Credit Courtesy of Cape Lookout National Seashore

Unusually large seashells have washed ashore at Cape Lookout National Seashore.

Volunteers at the visitors center found lightning whelks and knobbed whelks as large as 12-inches long over the weekend, according to park officials. Some are stained with color gradations that suggest they were buried deep in sediment underwater.

Recent storms, including Hurricane Dorian, have helped to bring the shells to shore, according to Cape Lookout Spokesman BG Horvat.

“When you have stronger currents and stronger waves and water that's coming up higher than usual, yeah, it can easily dig up a lot of these bigger and older shells that we're seeing,” Horvat says.

The shells could date as far back as the Pleistocene era, which ended nearly 12,000 years ago.

Horvat says scientists at the national park may do their own research to determine the exact age of the seashells, or they might bring in outside experts.