Saturday, October 27, 2012

1991 Perfect Storm and the Frankenstorm

     The 1991 Perfect Storm, also known as the Halloween Storm, was followed about a month later by another huge Atlantic Ocean storm.  The second storm stirred up the Atlantic Ocean even more than the first one.  Then, in the beginning of January, Edgar and I took a trip to Atlantic City, on a beautiful day, to walk on the boardwalk.  What a surprise greeted us.

     The beach was covered with clam shells from the ocean line to the boardwalk, at least a foot deep, and as far as we could see, from Longport to the Inlet.  The clams were still alive and were spitting out water.  We later found out that they were called "pisser" clams.  We took photos of this massive covering of shells and marvelled at the restauranteurs who were loading up bucket after bucket of the live clams.  The specials of that week turned out to be clam stew, clam chowder, clam pasta, etc.

     We stopped at the Philadelphia Inquirer building on our way home and the photo editor could hardly believe his eyes.  He asked for permission to print Edgar's photo, not only in the local papers, but also for the rights to syndication for national distribution.

     A day or two later, we received a phone call from a geology professor from the University of Pennsylvania.  He was both delighted and full of questions and wanted to know where we took the photo, and where did the massive collection of shells occur, and so on and so on.  He told us that our photo helped to solve a problem that geologists had puzzled over for years.  There are banks of sedimentary rocks, interspersed with other rocks, that seemingly had no business being there, and now, the professor felt, the mystery had been solved.

     We also collected some conch shells which we took to the Philadelphia Academy of Natural Sciences for authentication.  The expert told us that those shells had not been on the Jersey Shore for more than a million years.  He too wondered at our experience and told us that we had, indeed, a veritable antique and relic.

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