Web sites I have created
pertaining to fossils
United States Geological
Survey Papers (Public Domain)
Online versions of USGS
- Fossils In Death Valley National Park: A site dedicated to the paleontology, geology, and
natural wonders of Death Valley National Park; lots of on-site
photographs of scenic localities within the park; images of fossils
specimens; links to many virtual field trips of fossil-bearing
- Fossil Insects And Vertebrates On The Mojave Desert,
California: Journey to two
world-famous fossil sites in the middle Miocene Barstow Formation:
one locality yields upwards of 50 species of fully three-dimensional,
silicified freshwater insects, arachnids, and crustaceans that
can be dissolved free and intact from calcareous concretions;
a second Barstow Formation district provides vertebrate paleontologists
with one of the greatest concentrations of Miocene mammal fossils
yet recovered from North America--it's the type locality for
the Bartovian State of the Miocene Epoch, 15.9 to 12.5 million
years ago, with which all geologically time-equivalent rocks
in North American are compared.
- Fossils At Red Rock Canyon State Park, California:
Visit wildly colorful Red Rock
Canyon State Park on California's northern Mojave Desert, approximately
130 miles north of Los Angeles--scene of innumerable Hollywood
film productions and commercials over the years--where the Middle
to Late Miocene (13 to 7 million years old) Dove Spring Formation,
along with a classic deposit of petrified woods, yields one of
the great terrestrial, land-deposited Miocene vertebrate fossil
faunas in all the western United States.
- Fossil Plants Of The Ione Basin, California: Head to Amador County in the western foothills of
California's Sierra Nevada to explore the fossil leaf-bearing
Middle Eocene Ione Formation of the Ione Basin. This is a completely
undescribed fossil flora from a geologically fascinating district
that produces not only paleobotanically invaluable suites of
fossil leaves, but also world-renowned commercial deposits of
silica sand, high-grade kaolinite clay and the extraordinarily
rare Montan Wax-rich lignites (a type of low grade coal).
- Trilobites In The Marble Mountains, Mojave Desert,
California: Take a trip to
the place that first inspired my life-long fascination and interest
in fossils--the classic trilobite quarry in the Lower Cambrian
Latham Shale, in the Marble Mountains of California's Mojave
Desert. It's a special place, now included in the rather recently
established Trilobite Wilderness, where some 21 species of ancient
plants and animals have been found--including trilobites, an
echinoderm, a coelenterate, mollusks, blue-green algae and brachiopods.
- Early Cambrian Fossils Of Westgard Pass, California: Visit the Westgard Pass area, a world-renowned geologic
wonderland several miles east of Big Pine, California, in the
neighboring White-Inyo Mountains, to examine one of the best
places in the world to find archaeocyathids--an enigmatic invertebrate
animal that went extinct some 510 million years ago, never surviving
past the early Cambrian; also present there in rocks over a half
billion years old are locally common trilobites, plus annelid
and arthropod trails, and early echinoderms.
- A Visit To Ammonite Canyon, Nevada: Explore one of the best-exposed, most complete fossiliferous
marine late Triassic through early Jurassic geologic sections
in the world--a place where the important end-time Triassic mass
extinction has been preserved in the paleontological record.
Lots of key species of ammonites, brachiopods, corals, gastropods
- Fossils In Millard County, Utah: Take virtual field trips to two world-famous fossil
localities in Millard County, Utah--Wheeler Amphitheater in the
trilobite-bearing middle Cambrian Wheeler Shale; and Fossil Mountain
in the brachiopod-ostracod-gastropod-echinoderm-trilobite rich
lower Ordovician Pogonip Group.
- Late Triassic Ichthyosaur And Invertebrate Fossils
In Nevada: Journey to two classic,
world-famous fossil localities in the Upper Triassic Luning Formation
of Nevada--Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park and Coral Reef Canyon.
At Berlin-Ichthyosaur, observe in-situ the remains of several
gigantic ichthyosaur skeletons preserved in a fossil quarry;
then head out into the hills, outside the state park, to find
plentiful pelecypods, gastropods, brachiopods and ammonoids.
At Coral Reef Canyon, find an amazing abundance of corals, sponges,
brachiopods, echinoids (sea urchins), pelecypods, gastropods,
belemnites and ammonoids.
- Fossils From The Kettleman Hills, California: Visit one of California's premiere Pliocene-age
(approximately 4.5 to 2.0 million years old) fossil localities--the
Kettleman Hills, which lie along the western edge of California's
Great Central Valley northwest of Bakersfield. This is where
innumerable sand dollars, pectens, oysters, gastropods, "bulbous
fish growths" and pelecypods occur in the Etchegoin, San
Joaquin and Tulare Formations.
- Field Trip To The Kettleman Hills Fossil District,
California: Take a virtual field trip to a classic site on the
western side of California's Great Central Valley, roughly 80
miles northwest of Bakersfield, where several Pliocene-age (roughly
4.5 to 2 million years old) geologic rock formations yield a
wealth of diverse, abundant fossil material--sand dollars, scallop
shells, oysters, gastropods and "bulbous fish growths"
(fossil bony tumors--found nowhere else, save the Kettleman Hills),
among many other paleontological remains.
- A Visit To The Sharktooth Hill Bone Bed, Southern
California: Travel to the dusty
hills near Bakersfield, California, along the eastern side of
the Great Central Valley in the western foothills of the Sierra
Nevada, to explore the world-famous Sharktooth Hill Bone Bed,
a Middle Miocene marine deposit some 16 to 15 million years old
that yields over a hundred species of sharks, rays, bony fishes,
and sea mammals from a geologic rock formation called the Round
Mountain Silt Member of the Temblor Formation; this is the most
prolific marine, vertebrate fossil-bearing Middle Miocene deposit
in the world.
- Middle Triassic Ammonoids From Nevada: Travel to a world-famous fossil locality in the
Great Basin Desert of Nevada, a specific place that yields some
41 species of ammonoids, in addition to five species of pelecypods
and four varieties of belemnites from the Middle Triassic Prida
Formation, which is roughly 235 million years old; many paleontologists
consider this specific site the single best Middle Triassic,
late Anisian Stage ammonoid locality in the world. All told,
the Prida Formation yields 68 species of ammonoids spanning the
entire Middle Triassic age, or roughly 241 to 227 million years
- Fossil Bones In The Coso Range, Inyo County, California: Visit the
Coso Range Wilderness, west of Death Valley National Park at
the southern end of California's Owens Valley, where vertebrate
fossils some 4.8 to 3.0 million years old can be observed in
the Pliocene-age Coso Formation: It's a paleontologically significant
place that yields many species of mammals, including the remains
of Equus simplicidens, the Hagerman Horse, named
for its spectacular occurrences at Hagerman Fossil Beds National
Monument in Idaho; Equus simplicidens is considered the
earliest known member of the genus Equus, which includes
the modern horse and all other equids.
- Fossil Plants At Aldrich Hill, Western Nevada: Take a field
trip to western Nevada, in the vicinity of Yerington, to famous
Aldrich Hill, where one can collect some 35 species of ancient
plants--leaves, seeds and twigs--from the Middle Miocene Aldirch
Station Formation, roughly 12 to 13 million years old. Find the
leaves of evergreen live oak, willow, and Catalina Ironwood (which
today is restricted in its natural habitat solely to the Channel
Islands off the coast of Southern California), among others,
plus the seeds of many kinds of conifers, including spruce; expect
to find the twigs of Giant Sequoias, too.
- Fossils From Pleistocene Lake Manix, California: Explore the badlands of the Manix Lake Beds on California's
Mojave Desert, an Upper Pleistocene deposit that produces abundant
fossil remains from the silts and sands left behind by a great
fresh water lake, roughly 350,000 to 19,000 years old--the Manix
Beds yield many species of fresh water mollusks (gastropods and
pelecypods), skeletal elements from fish (the Tui Mojave Chub
and Three-Spine Stickleback), plus roughly 50 species of mammals
and birds, many of which can also be found in the incredible,
world-famous La Brea Tar Pits of Los Angeles.
- Field Trip To Pleistocene Lake Manix, California: Go on a virtual field trip to the classic, fossiliferous
badlands carved in the Upper Pleistocene Manix Formation, Mojave
Desert, California. It's a special place that yields beaucoup
fossil remains, including fresh water mollusks, fish (the Mojave
Tui Chub), birds and mammals.
- Trilobites In The Nopah Range, Inyo County, California: Travel to
a locality well outside the boundaries of Death Valley National
Park to collect trilobites in the Lower Cambrian Pyramid Shale
Member of the Carrara Formation.
- Ammonoids At Union Wash, California: Explore ammonoid-rich
Union Wash near Lone Pine, California, in the shadows of Mount
Whitney, the highest point in the contiguous United States. Union
Wash is a ne plus ultra place to find Early Triassic ammonoids
in California. The extinct cephalopods occur in abundance in
the Lower Triassic Union Wash Formation, with the dramatic back-drop
of the glacier-gouged Sierra Nevada skyline in view to the immediate
- A Visit To The Fossil Beds At Union Wash, Inyo County
California: A virtual field trip to the fabulous ammonoid accumulations
in the Lower Triassic Union Wash Formation, Inyo County, California--situated
in the shadows of Mount Whitney, the highest point in the contiguous
- Ordovician Fossils At The Great Beatty Mudmound, Nevada: Visit a classic
475-million-year-old fossil locality in the vicinity of Beatty,
Nevada, only a few miles east of Death Valley National Park;
here, the fossils occur in the Middle Ordovician Antelope Valley
Limestone at a prominent Mudmound/Biohern. Lots of fossils can
be found there, including silicified brachiopods, trilobites,
nautiloids, echinoderms, bryozoans, ostracodes and conodonts.
- Paleobotanical Field Trip To The Sailor Flat Hydraulic
Gold Mine, California: Journey
on a day of paleobotanical discovery with the FarWest Science
Foundation to the western foothills of the Sierra Nevada--to
famous Sailor Flat, an abandoned hydraulic gold mine of the mid
to late 1800s, where members of the foundation collect fossil
leaves from the "chocolate" shales of the Middle Eocene
auriferous gravels; all significant specimens go to the archival
paleobotanical collections at the University California Museum
Of Paleontology in Berkeley.
- Early Cambrian Fossils In Western Nevada: Explore a
518-million-year-old fossil locality several miles north of Death
Valley National Park, in Esmeralda County, Nevada, where the
Lower Cambrian Harkless Formation yields the largest single assemblage
of Early Cambrian trilobites yet described from a specific fossil
locality in North America; the locality also yields archeocyathids
(an extinct sponge), plus salterella (the "ice-cream cone
fossil"--an extinct conical animal placed into its own unique
phylum, called Agmata), brachiopods and invertebrate tracks and
- Fossil Leaves And Seeds In West-Central Nevada: Take a field
trip to the Middlegate Hills area in west-central Nevada. It's
a place where the Middle Miocene Middlegate Formation provides
paleobotany enthusiasts with some 64 species of fossil plant
remains, including the leaves of evergreen live oak, tanbark
oak, bigleaf maple, and paper birch--plus the twigs of giant
sequoias and the winged seeds from a spruce.
- Ordovician Fossils In The Toquima Range, Nevada: Explore the
Toquima Range in central Nevada--a locality that yields abundant
graptolites in the Lower to Middle Ordovician Vinini Formation,
plus a diverse fauna of brachiopods, sponges, bryozoans, echinoderms
and ostracodes from the Middle Ordovician Antelope Valley Limestone.
- Fossil Plants In The Dead Camel Range, Nevada: Visit a remote
site in the vicinity of Fallon, Nevada, where the Middle Miocene
Desert Peak Formation provides paleobotany enthusiasts with 22
species of nicely preserved leaves from
a variety of deciduous trees and evergreen live oaks, in addition
to samaras (winged seeds), needles and twigs from several types
- Early Triassic Ammonoid Fossils In Nevada: Visit the two remote localities in Nevada that yield
abundant, well-preserved ammonoids in the Lower Triassic Thaynes
Formation, some 240 million years old--one of the sites just
happens to be the single finest Early Triassic ammonoid locality
in North America.
- Fossil Plants At Buffalo Canyon, Nevada: Explore the wilds of west-central Nevada, a number
of miles from Fallon, where the Middle Miocene Buffalo Canyon
Formation yields to seekers of paleontology some 54 species of
deciduous and coniferous varieties of 15-million-year-old leaves,
seeds and twigs from such varieties as spruce, fir, pine, ash,
maple, zelkova, willow and evergreen live oak
- High Inyo Mountains Fossils, California: Take a ride to the crest of the High Inyo Mountains
to find abundant ammonoids and pelecypods--plus, some shark teeth
and terrestrial plants in the Upper Mississippian Chainman Shale,
roughly 325 million years old.
- Field Trip To The Copper Basin Fossil Flora, Nevada: Visit a remote region in Nevada, where the Late
Eocene Dead Horse Tuff provides seekers of paleobotany with some
42 species of ancient plants, roughly 39 to 40 million years
old, including the leaves of alder, tanbark oak, Oregon grape
- Fossil Plants And Insects At Bull Run, Nevada: Head into
the deep backcountry of Nevada to collect fossils from the famous
Late Eocene Chicken Creek Formation, which yields, in addition
to abundant fossil fly larvae, a paleobotanically wonderful association
seeds and fascicles (bundles of needles) from many species of
conifers, including fir, pine, spruce, larch, hemlock and cypress.
The plants are some 37 million old and represent an essentially
pure montane conifer forest, one of the very few such fossil
occurrences in the Tertiary Period of the United States.
- A Visit To The Early Cambrian Waucoba Spring Geologic
Section, California: Journey
to the northwestern sector of Death Valley National Park to explore
the classic, world-famous Waucoba Spring Early Cambrian geologic
section, first described by the pioneering paleontologist C.D.
Walcott in the late 1800s; surprisingly well preserved 540-510
million-year-old remains of trilobites, invertebrate tracks and
trails, Girvanella algal oncolites and archeocyathids
(an extinct variety of sponge) can be observed in situ.
- Fossils From The Savage Canyon Formation, Nevada: Images of fossil plants and an insect from a classic
Middle Miocene geologic rock formation in Nevada.
- Petrified Wood From The Shinarump Conglomerate: An image of a chunk of petrified wood I collected
from the Upper Triassic Shinarump Conglomerate, outside of Dinosaur
National Monument, Colorado.
- Fossil Giant Sequoia Foliage From Nevada: Images of the youngest fossil foliage from a giant
sequoia ever discovered in the geologic record--the specimen
is Lower Pliocene in geologic age, around 5 million years old.
- Some Favorite Fossil Brachiopods Of Mine: Images of several fossil brachiopods I have collected
over the years from Paleozoic, Mesozoic and Cenozoic-age rocks.
- For information on what can and cannot
be collected legally from America's Public Lands, take a look
On America's Public Lands and Collecting
On Public Lands--brochures that the Bureau Of Land Management
has allowed me to transcribe.