Estonian Fossils

Finding fossils in Estonia is easier than I expected. They are everywhere.

Estonia is a country without great reliefs or mountains, but it has cliffs to discover it.

Fossils are everywhere if you pay attention and know what you are looking for. But, it is normal that at first it is difficult to find them since there are not many rocky areas to look at, and you are not familiar with the fossils of the place (unless you have seen one before).


Fossil found in a dump of a construction site in Viimsi, Estonia.

I wanted to teach my children what a fossil was and how to find them in nature. My experience in Spain with fossils was of little use to me here, so I began to investigate what I could find in Estonia and in the end the surprise was that we found many of them. This is what I found:

Estonian Fossils

The first thing I did was look for them on cliffs, but there are too many layers of stone to look at. So I looked for information on which strata contain fossils and the easiest one we could find was in the Kunda Stage. It is along the North of Estonia, and I found several places where the stone plate with fossils appeared. Most of them are on the coast where the stone plates have collapsed and fallen, leaving them in the air or where the water has discovered them.

Estonian Fossils, Baltic. Exposed strata on the cliffs of Paldiski, Estonia.
Exposed strata on the cliffs of Paldiski, Estonia.
Estonian Fossils, Baltic
Crumbling stone blocks, Paldiski cliffs, Estonia.

Warning!! Cliffs can be dangerous places to go with your family. Before entering them, you must be well informed, observe the terrain well and use common sense to avoid entering areas of rockfalls, avalanches or rising tides.

Paldiski cliff, Estonia.
Dangerous block about to come off. In this case, avoid approaching this area due to its high danger of collapse. Paldiski cliff, Estonia.

So another alternative is to look for these strata in quarries in the area, and even in residential buildings where they have had to dig up the stone. We were able to find a large number of them in a pile of rubble from houses under construction in the area of Tallinn. Sadly, these piles of stones with fossils are crushed to give them other uses, and the work of the heavy machinery leaves them quite damaged. I have been able to find them been used to make roads and highways. So, asking the owner’s permission, it is possible to recover some specimen.

Estonian Fossils, Baltic.
Stone with fossils. Viimsi, Estonia.

Once you know them, you start to see them everywhere: in the city, at the airport or even inside buildings. Many of the stones that have been used for centuries for construction contain these fossils.


Stone slab in Tallinn
Ground detail, Stockholm Airport.

Some interesting links where you can find a lot of information about the geology of Estonia and the fossils of this area:

If you find a place with fossils, don’t take them out. Fossils are part of the national heritage and their extraction constitutes an irreparable loss. This practice makes the work of scientists difficult, and usually ends in the loss of specimens. Instead, take pictures and notify the local science museum by giving them the coordinates of the place.