Field Trip To Ione Basin--October 19, 1999

Western Foothills Of The Sierra Nevada

Amador County, California

Here is paleobotanist Dr. Diane Erwin collecting fossil plants from perhaps the most prolific locality in the Middle Eocene Ione Formation of the Ione Basin, California. I discovered this particular site during one of my excursions to the Ione Basin in 1992. It has since become known to paleobotanists as "Lygodium Gulch," named after the rather common to abundant remains of a fossil climbing fern found there (Lygodium kaulfussi, whose closest modern equivalent is Lygodium palmatum now native to the southeastern and eastern United States; it has been recorded from Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia north to New England)--along with a site in Oregon's Eocene Clarno Formation, the only known locality west of the Rocky Mountains to yield climbing fern fossils now housed in a museum. During the summer of 2002, Howard Schorn and I opened up a major quarry here in order to gather the first formal, systematic, scientific collection of fossil leaves from the Middle Eocene Ione Formation of the Ione Basin, California. Image snapped on October 19, 1999.

Please note: All fossil localities in the Ione Formation of Amador County, California, presently occur on private property; explicit permission from the land owners must be secured before collecting fossils there.

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