Last summer we returned to Coulouma, where we wanted to visit some other spots in the neighbourhood of the ‘chemin du banc du Touring Club’. When we had passed the village of St-Jean-de-Minervois we met a sign 'routé barrée', indicating the road was clossed. Apparently, road works were going on further on the road. As a car came from the opposite direction, we ignored to sign and continued our way to Coulouma. After a few turnings, we fell on yet another road sign, but we also ignored it, as we were now close to our objective. When we came out of the next turning, we could hardly believe our eyes. A huge bagger equipped with a big pneumatic hammer was destroying the rocks of the Cambrian outcrops along the road.
One of the big baggers used to destroy the site.
We were horrified, but had no choice as to wait until the workers went home. We parked the car and went for a walk, looking for other fosiliferous outcrops. There were Cambrian rocks all over the territory, but we did not find any trilobite. Around 4 P.M. the activity on the road stopped. We returned to the car and pushed further.
Rocks from point 22 and 13 were thrown in the ravine to enlarge to road, destroying the outcrops.
What we saw was shocking. They were enlarging the road and to do so they took big portions out of the hill and threw these in the ravine. By doing so, the small mountain road was changed in a big road. The famous French palaeontologist Robert Courtessole compiled a detailed log of the road section, identifying seven different points with each a different fauna. His points Coulouma 13, 22, 14 were already destroyed. More were to follow. Inspecting the remaining rocks, we could only conclude that the layers were relatively thin and that all the fossilliferous material had been thrown in the ravine.
What remains of poit 13.
In Coulouma, a geological monument was destroyed. But why. This road is a small road in a deserted area were little traffic passes. The village of Coulouma it self has very narrow streets, and further on and near St-Jean-de-Minervois the road is also narrow. What is the use of this! This will not allow traffic to advance faster, this is just a track were you will be able to pass a truck or car that is driving slowly. To do so one of the important outcrops of the Middle Cambrium of the Montagne Noire was scarified. Why? Clearly, France has a strange way to deal with its geological monuments.
Exploring the rocks of Coulouma 15.
As we could not find fossils in the remaining rocks, we went searching in the rocks thrown in the ravine to enlarge the road. The ones on the surface had suffered from the tracks of the baggers, but knocking open the big blocks of ‘schistes troués’ from point 15 proved to be very rewarding. We found numerous cephalons of Ctenocephalus antiquus, Pardailhania hispida, Pardailhania multispinosa and Paradoxides rouvillei. At point 14 our finds were even more interesting, with cephalons of Calodiscus foveolatus, Badulesia granieri, Agraulos longicephalus and Paradoxides rouvillei.
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