Septarian specimens are believed to have formed during the Cretaceous period when sea levels were much higher. Volcanic eruptions and other occurrences resulted in the death of small sea life that then sank into the seabed. As the specimens decomposed, sediments would accumulate and create a nodule or mudball. When the oceans eventually receded, these mud balls were left exposed to the air and dried out, causing shrinking and cracking. The beautiful patterns you see inside septarian nodules are the result of this cracking. Septarian specimens are geodes that are a combination of yellow calcite, brown aragonite, grey limestone, and white or clear barite. The word septarian comes from the Latin word "septum," meaning "partition." Septarian nodules contain angular cavities as a result of cracking, which are called septaria and create divisions throughout the stone. These unique septaria can be any length and each septarian can have many different cracks. Calcite leeches into the cracks of septarian to form calcite crystals on a layer of aragonite, which is on bentonite clay. Eventually, bentonite is replaced with limestone, resulting in the nodule turning to stone.
Septarian stones are found along the Gulf of Mexico, all the way inland to Southern Utah. Other specimens have been discovered along with Madagascar where water levels similarly receded.
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