Ammonoids At Union Wash, California


  Union Wash Field Trip

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  Images: Union Wash Ammonoids

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One of the great Early Triassic (roughly 240 million years old) ammonoid localities in North America can be visited at Union Wash, near Lone Pine, California, in the shadows of Mount Whitney (at 14,505 feet, the highest point in the contiguous United States). Here can be found roughly two to three dozen species of extinct Ceratites ammonoids (forms that bear a suture pattern intermediate between simple goniatites types and the more complex ammonites varieties) in the Lower Triassic Union Wash Formation.

Please Note: The fossil localities at Union Wash lie within the Federally designated Southern Inyo Mountains Wilderness. This means that, at present, only surface collecting is allowed by the Bureau of Land Management: one must not dig into the strata within a wilderness region--only freely eroded, loose fossil specimens may be kept. Also, please understand that the collecting status at Union Wash is subject to sudden change without notice. Always check the local Bureau of Land Management office before attempting to collect fossils at Union Wash; this is an absolute must--permits may soon be required to collect fossils at Union Wash.

For a detailed description of the fossiliferous Lower Triassic Union Wash Formation at Union Wash  and elsewhere in Inyo County, take a look at an online version of the Public Domain document United States Geological Survey Bulletin 1928, Stratigraphy of the Lower and Middle(?) Triassic Union Wash Formation, East-Central California by Paul Stone, Calvin H. Stevens and Michael J. Orchard, originally issued in 1991. Also, go on a virtual field trip to Union Wash at my page: A Visit To The Fossil Beds At Union Wash, Inyo County, California, complete with on-site images and links to images of the Early Triassic ammonoids.

And now for the obligatory words of caution. Endemic to the Mojave Desert of California, including the Las Vegas, Nevada, region by the way, is Valley Fever. This is a potentially serious illness called, scientifically, Coccidioidomycosis, or "coccy" for short; it's caused by the inhalation of an infectious airborne fungus whose spores lie dormant in the uncultivated, harsh alkaline soils of the Mojave Desert. Union Wash just happens to lie within a northern sector of the Mojave where Valley Fever spores have likely been detected. When an unsuspecting and susceptible individual breaths the spores into his or her lungs, the fungus springs to life, as it prefers the moist, dark recesses of the human lungs (cats, dogs, rodents and even snakes, among other vertebrates, are also susceptible to "coccy") to multiply and be happy. Most cases of active Valley Fever resemble a minor touch of the flu, though the majority of those exposed show absolutely no symptoms of any kind of illness; it is important to note, of course, that in rather rare instances Valley Fever can progress to a severe and serious infection, causing high fever, chills, unending fatigue, rapid weight loss, inflammation of the joints, meningitis, pneumonia and even death. Every fossil enthusiast who chooses to visit the Mojave Desert must be fully aware of the risks involved.

 Unfamiliar with the rules and regulations that govern collecting fossils and other natural resources on public lands? If you're planning on a visit to the area--or simply want to find out what can and can't be done on Public Lands-- you might want to check out these two links: Fossils On America's Public Lands and Collecting On Public Lands--these are on-line versions of two handy brochures published by the Bureau of Land Management; permission to copy information from those brochures for inclusion at my Web Sites was kindly granted by the main Nevada branch office of the Bureau of Land Management.

Gallery Of Images

On-Site Photographs At Union Wash

Click on the images for larger pictures

Click on the image for a larger picture. Looking eastward to the western slopes of the Inyo Mountains along the route to Union Wash. The reddish-brown rocks along the middle and upper ground belong to the Lower Triassic Union Wash Formation (lower slopes) and the Permian Lone Pine Formation of the Owens Valley Group (which yields fusulinids, corals, crinoids, brachiopods and molluscan material farther south in the Darwin area, just west of the Death Valley National Park boundary). Darker rocks seen near the crest of the Inyo Range consist of limestones of the Pennsylvanian Keeler Canyon Formation (bears abundant fusulinds and crinoidal debris).


Click on the image for a larger picture. A view back west to the Sierra Nevada skyline from the boundary with the southern Inyo Wilderness, within which the fabulous Meekoceras beds locality in the Lower Triassic Union Wash Formation occur--one must not dig into the strata within a designated Wilderness region; only surface collecting is permitted; the only items that may be kept are loose, freely eroded ammonoids, or chunks of ammonoid-bearing carbonates that have already eroded off of bedrock.

Click on the image for a larger picture. Seekers of early Triassic paleontology arrive at the parking area at the boundary with the Southern Inyo Wilderness. The view is eastward up Union Canyon Wash. Brownish hills in the immdediate middleground of image are composed of shales and limestones representing the middle member of the Union Wash Formation; distant high peaks at skyline are carved in the Middle to Upper Pennsylavanian Keeler Canyon Formation.

Click on the image for a larger picture. Adventurers of the early Triassic experience a late afternoon hike near the boundary with the Southern Inyo Mountains Wilderness; view is back westward to the Sierra Nevada skyline.

Click on the image for a larger picture. A collector searches for ammonoids in the classic Meekoceras beds in the Lower Triassic Union Wash Formation. The gray limestone bed at the base of the middle member of the Union Wash Formation yields abundant well-preserved ammonoids. Because the fossil locality lies within the designated, federally protected Southern Inyo Wilderness, one must collect only loose, freely weathered ammonoids, or chunks of ammonoid-bearing limestones that have already eroded off the bedrock. No digging for specimens is allowed: BLM rules and regulations which must be fully obeyed, or the productive ammonoid area will surely be closed to all unauthorized amateur visitors.

Click on the images for larger pictures. Two views of the famous Meekoceras beds ammonoid locality at Union Wash. At top, the view is to the prominent ammonoid-bearing limestone "rib" at the base of the Middle Member of the Lower Triassic Union Wash Formation. Strata above and to the left of the fossiliferous grayish limestone hump, which stretches from lower left to upper center of photograph, consist of the Permian Lone Pine Formation of the Owens Valley Group, unfossilferous here, but farther south, in the Darwin district, the Owens Valley Group produces abundant fusulinids and huge coral heads. Rocks to the right of the Meekoceras limestone "rib" (a bed that averages roughly three to fifteen feet in thickness) belong to the Middle Member of the Union Wash Formation. At this locality, the lower member of the Union Wash Formation is not present--it was either cut out by faulting, or perhaps was never deposited here to begin with.

At bottom, the view is westward across Owens Valley to the Sierra Nevada skyline. A collector stands atop one of the thicker sections of the Meekoceras carbonate layer. The Meekoceras beds at Union Wash were discovered in 1896 by pioneering paleontologist Charles Doolittle Walcott during one of his epic expeditions to the Western states in search of fossiliferous Early Cambrian exposures. He eventually donated his collection to James Perrin Smith, who determined that the ammonoids were of Early Triassic geologic age, or approximately 240 million years old. Based on the presence of Meekoceras gracilitatus in the fossil collections from Union Wash, Smith assigned the entire fauna to the then recognized Meekoceras zone, a zonation designation that has since been abandoned by ammonoid specialists in favor of the Tardus and Romunderi zones, as advocated by Glen Gardner of Ohio State University.

Smith published his finding on the ammonoid fauna at Union Wash in 1932 in USGS Professional Paper 167, Lower Triassic Ammonoids of North America. He noted that the most distinctive variety recovered from the limestone layers was Meekoceras gracilitatus. Other genera Smith described include Owenities (four species); Ophiceras (four species); Xenodiscus (four species); Anasibirites (three species); Sturia (two species); Lanceolites (two species--this species is now called Dienoroceras); Clispoceras (two species); Lancanites (two species); and six addtional species of Meekoceras.

Click on the image for a larger picture. This is a view to Lower Triassic Union Wash Formation strata at Union Wash, the noted Parapopanoceras ammonoid zone occurs in this area. Note fossil seeker, for scale, at lower right.

Ammonoid species described from the Parapopanoceras zone include Parapopanoceras haugi, Hungarites vatesi, Paranannites oviformis, Triolites pacifica, Keyserlingites sp. Acrochordiceras inyoense, Xenodiscus bittneri and Xenodiscus multicamaratus. In addition to the ammonoids a few other fossil varieties have also been described from this horizon. These include an orthocone nautiloid cephalopd, undeterminable pelecypods, and several species of conodonts (seen only in the insoluble residues of Union Wash limestones treated with dilute acetic acid).

Click on the image for a larger picture. An enthusiast of Mesozoic Era paleontology searches for ammonoids in the Lower Triassic Union Wash Formation; snow-clad, Pleistocene glacier-gouged Sierra Nevada rises above Owens Valley to the west.

Gallery Of Images

Ammonoids From The Lower Triassic Union Wash Formation:

Ammonoid One Ammonoid Eight
AmmonoidTwo Ammonoid Nine
Ammonoid Three Ammonoid Ten
Ammonoid Four Ammonoid Eleven
Ammonoid Five Ammonoid Twelve
Ammonoid Six Ammonoid Thirteen
Ammonoid Seven Ammonoid Fourteen

A Meekoceras gracilitatus (White) ammonoid from the Lower Triassic Union Wash Formation, Union Wash, Inyo County, California. Specimen is 54mm in diameter.

Kevin Byland has some nice images of Early Triassic ammonoids at his page, Fossil Cephalopods In Utah

Images Of Ammonoids In The Public Domain

Here is a series of black and white images from the classic work, Lower Triassic Ammonoids Of North America by James Perrin Smith, United States Geological Survey Professional Paper 167, originally issued in 1932. Smith figured many ammonoids from the Lower Triassic Union Wash Formation, including a number of important type specimens collected from the exposures at Union Wash.

Ammonoids from plate 3 Ammonoids from plate 9
Ammonoid from plate 3 Ammonoids from plate 10
Ammonoids from plate 5 Ammonoids from plate 14
Ammonoids from plate 6 Ammonoids from plate 17
Ammonoids from plate 6 Ammonoids from plate 18
Ammonoid from plate 6 Ammonoids from plate 39
Ammonoid from plate 7 Ammonoids from plate 40

Music-Related PMy other Web Sites--both paleontological and musical:ages

  • The Acoustic Guitar Solitaire Of Inyo: A Cyber-CD: Listen to me play 30 covers of some of my favorite songs on an acoustic 6-string guitar; it's all free music.
  • Beyond The Timberline--A Cyber-CD: Listen to me play 32 selections comprised of covers and original tunes on acoustic 6 and 12-string guitars; it's all free music.
  • The Distant Path--A Cyber-CD: Listen to me play 32 acoustic guitar covers and original compositions; it's all free music.
  • Inyo And Folks--A Musical History--A Cyber-CD: My parents and I play 110 selections; it's all free music.
  • Acoustic Stratigraphy--A Cyber-CD: Listen to me play 34 covers of some of my favorite songs on 6 and 12-string guitars; it's all free music.
  • Back To Badwater--A Cyber-CD: Listen to me play 32 covers and original compositions on 6 and 12-string guitars; it's all free music.
  • For an all-text page that includes all 332 of my guitar mp3 files placed on the Internet, go to All Inyo All The Time. That's where you'll find access to all of my musical selections, in order of their appearance on the Web--from my first Cyber-CD ("The Acoustic Guitar Solitaire Of Inyo") to the last, "The Rarities And Alternate Recordings Of Inyo."
  • Inyo 7--A Cyber CD:Listen to me play 30 covers of some of my favorite songs, plus originals (all free music).
  • The Rarities And Alternate Recordings Of Inyo--A Cyber-CD Listen to me play 32 seldom-heard, rare, alternate recordings of some of my previously released tracks.
  • Jump on over to my page It's A Happening Thing--Music From The Year 1967. Includes YouTube (and other sources) links to all songs that charted US Billboard Top 100 in year 1967 (close to a thousand, as as matter of fact), plus links to records that bubbled under US Billboard's Hot 100 charts that year (releases that placed #101 to #135); peruse, too, my extensive personal database of year 1967 music.

Paleontology-Related Pages

Web sites I have created pertaining to fossils

  • 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 interest.
  • 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.
  • A Visit To Fossil Valley, Great Basin Desert, Nevada: Take a virtual field trip to a Nevada locality that yields the most complete, diverse, fossil assemblage of terrestrial Miocene plants and animals known from North America--and perhaps the world, as well.
  • 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.
  • Late Pennsylvanian Fossils In Kansas: Travel to the midwestern plains to discover the classic late Pennsylvanian fossil wealth of Kansas--abundant, supremely well-preserved associations of such invertebrate animals as brachiopods, bryozoans, corals, echinoderms, fusulinids, mollusks (gastropods, pelecypods, cephalopods, scaphopods), and sponges; one of the great places on the planet to find fossils some 307 to 299 million years old.
  • 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 and pelecypods.
  • 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.
  • Paleozoic Era Fossils At Mazourka Canyon, Inyo County, California: Visit a productive Paleozoic Era fossil-bearing area near Independence, California--along the east side of California's Owens Valley, with the great Sierra Nevada as a dramatic backdrop--a paleontologically fascinating place that yields a great assortment of invertebrate animals.
  • 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 ago.
  • 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.
  • Field Trip To A Vertebrate Fossil Locality In The Coso Range, California: Take a cyber-visit to the famous bone-bearing Pliocene Coso Formation, Coso Mountains, Inyo County, California; includes detailed text for the field trip, plus on-site images and photographs of vertebrate fossils.
  • 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 west.
  • 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 United States.
  • 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 trails.
  • 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 of conifers.
  • 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 and sassafras.
  • 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 of winged 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.
  • 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.

US Geological Survey Papers (Public Domain)

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