Field Trip To Ione Basin--October 19, 1999

Western Foothills Of The Sierra Nevada

Amador County, California

After leaving the classic "Lygodium Gulch" fossil plant locality in the Middle Eocene Ione Formation--seen in the previous image--we all headed to our last stop of the day--famous Loreta's restaurant (seen in image above) in historic Ione for a late afternoon snack of lemon pie. Loreta's serves up all kinds of tasty things to eat, and the prices are very reasonable, indeed. It had been a most-enjoyable and memorable day spent in the field with paleobotanists Howard Schorn and Dr. Diane Erwin. Now that many of the more-productive fossil sites had been formally field-checked and documented, a secure foundation for future scientific, paleobotanical instigations of the Ione Basin had been firmly established. A supplemental image for this field trip, snapped on November 1, 2002.

Roughly a year later, during August of 2000, scientific interest in the fossil floras of the Ione Basin increased with exponential intensity when paleobotanists Dr. Jack A. Wolfe (retired member of the United States Geological Survey) and Howard Schorn, among others, applied for a National Science Foundation Grant to study the many prolific Eocene fossil plant localities of the Sierra Nevada region--their goal was to determine the paleoelevations and associated paleoenvironment of the ancestral Sierra Nevada during the early Tertiary Period (Eocene geologic times). The Ione Basin fossil floras had now assumed a broader scientific significance, providing as they did an essentially sea-level Eocene flora in the western foothills of the Sierra Nevada--fossil plants from the estuaries, rivers and floodplains adjacent to a vast inland sea that had flooded what is now the Great Central Valley of California during Eocene times (roughly 50 to 40 million years ago). Such a sea-level flora could provide an invaluable baseline reading to help establish an accurate determination of the ancestral Sierran paleoelevations and paleoenvironment during the Eocene Epoch of the Cenozoic Era. Another field trip to the Ione Basin was now in order...

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