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Acoustic Stratigraphy

I am what not a few might call your eager musical paleontologist: Here, in my Cyber-CD "Acoustic Stratigraphy"--using my acoustic guitars as geology picks--I excavate and bring to light, from the accumulated, stratified layers of our musical past, some of my favorite song specimens that have withstood the passing of time.

Inyo Plays 34 Solo, Acoustic, Instrumental 6 and 12-String String Guitar Interpretations


This is the cover to my Cyber-CD, "Acoustic Stratigraphy." It's a view northward from the south rim of the Grand Canyon, Arizona. Cyber-CD cover designed and created by Inyo.

Note: The Public Domain image used for my Cyber-CD cover came courtesy PD

And, of course, in keeping with my metaphor of excavating song specimens from the stratified layers of time, what better place to symbolically identify, link, with that quest than the Grand Canyon of Arizona? It's probably the single best place on Earth to view in one vista the longest exposed accumulation of geologic time--roughly 1.5 billion years of Earth history is preserved there, from the 1.75 billion year-old Vishnu Schist at the very bottom, to the 250 million year-old Kaibab Limestone along the rim.


Here are 34 solo, acoustic, instrumental 6 and 12-string guitar arrangements of some of my favorite songs. It is my Cyber-CD, called "Acoustic Stratigraphy."

A special note here: I have not multi-tracked--that is, double-recorded--the musical selections at this Web Page. All have been played in solo, acoustic, instrumental style--in other words, the performances here consist of "one person, one guitar only," in which I used no multiple recording techniques, or overdubbing--just a guitar in my own "hot little hands."

All That Legal Stuff--It's All Free Music

And now for the legal matters. Here's the lowdown--You have my permission to download any or all of the songs for your personal, noncommercial use only (all of my recordings here are of course copyrighted). In other words, you may--(1) download any or all of the performances to your computer's hard drive for personal, noncommercial use only; or, (2) burn any or all of the renditions here to a CD for personal, noncommercial use only; or, (3) record any or all of the performances to a cassette tape for personal, noncommercial use only. OK, legal disclaimers are here and now finished, concluded, get the idea, I'm sure.

Shop Talk

I recorded all of my solo, acoustic, instrumental guitar interpretations on the following guitars: a 1976 Martin D-35 6-string; a 1952 Martin O-18 6-string; a 1998 Sigma DMC-1STE 6-string; and a 1968 Stella 12-string. During the recording sessions with the 6-string guitars, I used two microphones plugged into a mixer, which in turn fed directly to the computer; I processed the raw Wav files exclusively through the freeware GoldWave audio editor (versions 4.24 and 4.26--the last two free versions of the program, by the way; this is a much better free audio editor, in my own humble estimation, than the ubiquitous Audacity). I played a 1968 Stella 12-string guitar through various portable radio/cassette recorders, in addition to stereo Teac cassette and Teac reel to reel tape machines; I have digitally re-mastered all of those 12-string guitar analog sessions from their original pre-1998 recordings (when I did not have access to computer technology).

The Cyber-CD: Acoustic Stratigraphy

All selections arranged in ascending order of chronological age, like the traditional description of fossil remains from stratified rock formation units in published geological literature--that is, oldest to youngest; priority of song order based on: (1) generic year of composition; or, (2) when possible to ascertain, date of first publication; or, (3), where more than one song was composed in the same year--priority given to dates of first appearance on US Billboard charts (Top 40).

Running Time For Cyber-CD Is 79:53

With no pause betweem tracks

Selection #1: Wild Mountain Thyme (1976 Martin D-35; April 16, 2004); recorded directly to stereo digital format with a 1990s Packard Bell computer. Folk song based on a poem, "The Braes of Balquidder" by Scottish poet Robert Tannahill, a contemporary of Robert Burns. Tannahill reportedly put his words to a modified tune from another source--perhaps from a 1792 John Hamilton melody that had been in existence since 1760, at least; Tannahill's original version was first published posthumously in 1821. Modern English paraphrasing, lyric additions, and melody modification by Francis McPeake, around 1957. 2:18

Selection #2: (What To Do With A) Drunken Sailor (1968 Stella 12-string); recorded on 7-22-1985 with a 1977 stereo Teac cassette tape machine. A traditional sea shanty and popular Folk song, author unknown--first published description of the song is from 1839. 2:36

Selection #3: Shenandoah (1998 Sigma DMC-1STE; April 11, 2002); recorded directly to stereo digital format with a 1990s Packard Bell computer. The classic traditional Folk song. Dates to the 1800s during pre-American Civil War days; song's first appearance in print came in Harper's New Monthly Magazine, 1882. 2:32

Selection #4: Careless Love (1968 Stella 12-string); recorded on 7-24-1985 with a 1977 stereo Teac cassette tape machine. A traditional American song; composer unknown. First known to be played by Jazz-man Buddy Bolden in the early 1900s. Copyrighted by W.C. Handy in 1921, with lyrics slightly changed. 2:10

Selection #5: (He's Got) The Whole World In His Hands (1968 Stella 12-string); recorded on 7-24-1985 with a 1977 stereo Teac cassette tape machine. Traditional Spiritual, first published in 1927. #1 US Billboard for Laurie London, 1958; first appearance in Top 40, 3-24-58. 1:50

Selection #6: Walk Right In (1968 Stella 12-string); recorded on 7-23-1985 with a 1977 stereo Teac cassette tape machine. A Gus Cannon composition, 1929. #1 US Billboard for The Rooftop Singers, 1963; first appearance in Top 40, 1-23-63. 1:57

Selection #7: From Four Until Late (1968 Stella 12-string); recorded 1-9-1984 with a 1977 stereo Teac cassette tape machine. A Robert Johnson composition--a song he recorded in Dallas, Texas, on June 19, 1937. 1:47

Selection #8: 16 Tons (1968 Stella 12-string); recorded on December 23, 1980, with a 1976 stereo Teac reel to reel tape machine. A Merle Travis composition (1947); #1 US Billboard for Tennessee Ernie Ford, 1955; first appearance in Top 40, 11-15-55. 2:50

Selection #9: That Lucky Old Sun (1968 Stella 12 string); recorded on 12-26-1984 with a 1977 stereo Teac cassette tape machine. A Beasley Smith-Haven Gillespie composition, 1949. #1 US Billboard for Frankie Laine, 1949 (hit #1 on 8-19-49). 2:16

Selection #10: The Bells Of Rhymney (1968 Stella 12-string); recorded on 1-10-1984 with a 1977 stereo Teac cassette tape machine. Music by Pete Seeger (1958), using words written by Welsh poet Idris Davies (1938). Recorded by The Byrds for their lp "Mr. Tambourine Man" on April 14, 1965. 2:16

Selection #11 Hello Mary Lou: (1976 Martin D-35; March 23, 2010); recorded directly to stereo digital format with a year 2000 Toshiba laptop computer. Penned by Cayet Mangiaracina (original composer) and Gene Pitney (later ammendments). # 9 US Billboard for Ricky Nelson in 1961. 2:21

Selection #12: Greenback Dollar (1976 Martin D-35; September 27, 2002); recorded directly to stereo digital format with a 1990s Packard Bell computer. A Hoyt Axton composition, 1962; from his 1962 lp, "The Balladeer." #21 US Billboard for The Kingston Trio, 1963; first appearance in Top 40, 2-23-63. 2:31

Selection #13: The Times They Are a-Changin' (Written by Bob Dylan in September and October, 1963; first appears on Dylan's LP, "The Times They Are A-Changin,'" released in January, 1964; this was the very song that first generated my interest in the musical creations of Bob Dylan. Recorded directly to stereo digital format with a 1990s Packard Bell computer on September 25, 2002.) 2:09

Selection #14: I Want To Hold Your Hand (1968 Stella 12-string); recorded on 1-5-1984 with a 1977 stereo Teac cassette tape machine. A John Lennon-Paul McCartney composition, 1963. Recorded 10-17-63. #1 US Billboard for The Beatles, 1964; first appearance in Top 40 1-25-64. 2:06

Selection #15: Mr. Tambourine Man (1976 Martin D-35; April 16, 2002); recorded directly to stereo digital format with a 1990s Packard Bell computer. A Bob Dylan composition, early 1964. #1 US Billboard for The Byrds, 1965; first appearance in Top 40, 6-5-65. 2:10

Selection #16: I'm Happy Just To Dance With You (1976 Martin D-35; December 3, 2001); recorded directly to stereo digital format on a 1990s Packard Bell computer. A John Lennon-Paul McCartney composition (1964). #95 US Billboard for The Beatles, 1964--flip side of the 45rpm single, "I'll Cry Instead," which rose to #20 US Billboard, 1964; first appearance in Top 40, 8-15-64. 1:48

Selection#17: Keep Searchin' (We'll Follow The Sun) (1968 Stella 12-string); recorded on 7-22-1985 with a 1977 stereo Teac cassette tape machine. A Del Shannon composition, 1964. #9 US Billboard for Del Shannon, 1964; first appearance in Top 40, 12-19-64. 2:45

Selection #18: You're The One (1968 Stella 12-string, with high g-string removed); recorded in May, 1979, with a 1978 portable stereo cassette tape machine. A Petula Clark-Tony Hatch composition, 1965 Originally included on Clark's 1965 lp, "I Know A Place." #4 US Billboard for The Vogues, 1965; first appearance in Top 40, 10-9-65. 2:19

Selection #19: The World Turns All Around Her (1968 Stella 12-string); recorded on 4-19-1981 with a 1978 portable stereo cassette tape machine. A Gene Clark (a founding member of The Byrds) composition, 1965. Included on the album "Turn! Turn! Turn!" by The Byrds, released in December, 1965. 2:06

Selection #20: Galveston (1968 Stella 12-string); recorded on 1-5-1984 with a 1977 stereo Teac cassette tape machine. A Jimmy Webb composition, 1966 (first recorded by Don Ho, actually, 1968). #4 US Billboard for Glen Campbell, 1969; first appearance in Top 40, 3-15-69. 2:01

Selection #21: No Milk Today (1976 Martin D-35; June 16, 2004); recorded directly to stereo digital format with a 1990s Packard Bell computer. A Graham Gouldman composition, 1966. #35 US Billboard for Herman's Hermits, 1967; first appearance in Top 40, 3-18-67. 2:36

Selection #22: The Weight (1968 Stella 12-string); recorded in February, 1978, with a 1976 stereo Teac reel to reel tape machine. A Robbie Robertson composition, 1967. Recorded January, 1968--appears on an album by The Band, "Music From The Big Pink," 1968. 2:43

Selection #23: My Sweet Lord (1976 Martin D-35; January 13, 2003); recorded directly to stereo digital format with a 1990s Packard Bell computer. A George Harrison composition, December 1969. #1 US Billboard for George Harrison, December 26, 1970 through January, 1971; first appearance in Top 40, 12-5-1970. 2:27

Selection #24: And I Love You So (1976 Martin D-35; August 5, 2003); recorded directly to stereo digital format with a 1990s Packard Bell computer. Composed in 1970 by Don Mclean for his debut lp in 1970, "Tapestry." Perry Como's cover rose to #29 US Billboard in 1973. 3:06

Selection #25: For All We Know (1976 Martin D-35; November 10, 2004); recorded directly to stereo digital format with a 1990s Packard Bell computer. A Fred Karlin-Robb Royer-Jimmy Griffin composition (1970) for the 1970 film "Lovers and Other Strangers." #3 US Billboard for The Carpenters, 1971; first appearance in Top 40, 2-13-71. 2:17

Selection #26: Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes) (1998 Sigma DMC-1STE 6-string; November 7, 2001); recorded directly to stereo digital format with a 1990s Compaq Presario computer. A Tony Macaulay-Barry Mason composition, 1970. #5 US Billboard for Edison Lighthouse, 1970; first appearance in Top 40, 2-28-70. 2:06

Selection #27: I'm A Memory (1976 Martin D-35; October 16, 2002); recorded directly to stereo digital format with a 1990s Packard Bell computer. A Willie Nelson composition, 1971. #28 US Billboard Country for Willie Nelson, 1971; re-recorded and released by Willie Nelson in 1977, #22 US Billboard Country. #37 US Billboard Country for Brenda Lee, 1971. 2:04

Selection #28: Go Your Own Way (1976 Martin D-35; December 6, 2002); recorded directly to stereo digital format with a 1990s Packard Bell computer. Penned by Lindsey Buckingham. #10 US Billboard for Fleetwood Mac, 1977. First single released from the "Rumours" album, late 1976; first appearance in US Billboard Top 40, 1-22-77. 2:26

Selection #29: Like A Hurricane (1976 Martin D-35; June 4, 2004); recorded directly to stereo digital format with a 1990s Packard Bell computer. A Neil Young composition, 1975; from his lp, "American Stars 'N Bars," 1977. 2:26.

Selection #30: It's A Heartache (1968 Stella 12-string); recorded on 7-22-1985 with a 1977 stereo Teac cassette tape machine. A Ronnie Scott-Steve Wolfe composition, 1977. #3 US Billboard for Bonnie Tyler, 1978; first appearance in Top 40, 4-22-78. #86 US Billboard for Juice Newton, 1978. 2:38

Selection #31: Hey Hey, My My (Into The Black) (1968 Stella 12-string); recorded on 1-9-1984 with a 1977 stereo Teac cassette tape machine. A Neil Young composition, 1979. #79 US Billboard, 1979. 2:37.

Selection #32: What About Love (1968 Stella 12-string); recorded on 7-22-1985 with a 1977 stereo Teac cassette tape machine. A Sheron Alton-Brian Allen composition, 1982. #10 US Billboard for Heart, 1985; first appearance in Top 40, 6-29-85. 2:36

Selection #33: Dunbar's Theme (also called, "The John Dunbar Theme") (1976 Martin D-35; March 20, 2010); recorded directly to stereo digital format with a year 2000 Toshiba laptop computer. A John Barry composition, 1990. From the 1990 Academy Award-winning film (Best Picture and Best Original Score, among others) "Dances With Wolves." 2:07

Selection #34: Going Home (1976 Martin D-35; February 20, 2004); recorded directly to stereo digital format with a 1990s Packard Bell computer. A Mary Fahl composition, from her 2003 lp "The Other Side Of Time." Used in the 2003 American Civil War film, "Gods And Generals." 2:41

My Music Pages

The Acoustic Guitar Solitaire Of Inyo--A Cyber CD: I play 30 solo acoustic instrumental covers of some of my favorite songs on a 1976 Martin D-35 guitar (all free music).

Inyo And Folks--A Musical History A page that features 203 songs I recorded with my parents on acoustic 6 and 12-string guitars, banjo, maracas, tambourine, and kazoo (all free music).

The Distant Path--A Cyber CD I play 32 solo acoustic instrumental covers and original compositions on 6 and 12-string guitars (all free music).

Beyond The Timberline--A Cyber-CD: I play 32 selections comprised of covers and original tunes on acoustic 6 and 12-string guitars; it's all free music.

Back To Badwater--A Cyber-CD: I play 32 covers and original compositions on 6 and 12-string guitars (it's all free music).

All Inyo All The Time: All six of my cyber-cds in one place (includes a quintuple cyber-cd box set); links to all of my solo acoustic guitar playing, in addition to selections my parents and I recorded during the Golden Age of our spontaneous, impromptu recording sessions. Includes an option to stream all 364 selectons; thirteen hours, seventeen minues and forty seconds of music (it's all free music).

It's A Happening Thing--Music From The Year 1967: All songs that charted US Billboard Hot 100 (#1 to #100) and Bubbling Under (records that charted in positions #101 to #135) in 1967.

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. Yields insects, leaves, seeds, conifer needles and twigs, flowering structures, pollens, petrified wood, diatoms, algal bodies, mammals, amphibians, reptiles, bird feathers, fish, gastropods, pelecypods (bivalves), and ostracods.
  • 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.
  • Cambrian And Ordovician Fossils At Extinction Canyon, Nevada: Visit a site in Nevada's Great Basin Desert that yields locally common whole and mostly complete early Cambrian trilobites, in addition to other extinct organisms such as graptolites (early hemichordate), salterella (small conical critter placed in the phylum Agmata), Lidaconus diminutive tusk-shaped shell of unestablished zoological affinity, Girvanella (photosynthesizing cyanobacterial algae), and Caryocaris (a bivalved crustacean).
  • 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).
  • Ice Age Fossils At Santa Barbara, California--Journey to the famed So Cal coastal community of Santa Barbara (about a 100 miles north of Los Angeles) to explore one of the best marine Pleistocene invertebrate fossil-bearing areas on the west coast of the United States; that's where the middle Pleistocene Santa Barbara Formation yields nearly 400 species of pelecypod bivalve mollusks, gastropods, chitons, scaphopods, pteropods, brachiopods, bryozoans, corals, ostracods (minute bivalve crustaceans), worm tubes, and foraminifers.
  • 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.
  • Fossil Plants In The Neighborhood Of Reno, Nevada: Visit two famous fossil plant localities in the Great Basin Desert near Reno, Nevada--a place to find leaves, seeds, needles, foilage, and cones in the middle Miocene Pyramid and Chloropagus Formations, 15.6 and 14.8 to 13.3 million years old, respectively.
  • Dinosaur-Age Fossil Leaves At Del Puerto Creek, California: Journey to the western edge of California's Great Central Valley to explore a classic fossil leaf locality in an upper Cretaceous section of the upper Cretaceous to Paleocene Moreno Formation; the plants you find there lived during the day of the dinosaur.
  • 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.
  • Plant Fossils At The La Porte Hydraulic Gold Mine, California: Journey to a long-abandoned hydraulic gold mine in the neighborhood of La Porte, northern Sierra Nevada, California, to explore the upper Eocene La Porte Tuff, which yields some 43 species of Cenozoic plants, mainly a bounty of beautifully preserved leaves 34.2 million years old.
  • 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.
  • Fossil Plants At The Chalk Bluff Hydraulic Gold Mine, California: Take a field trip to the Chalk Bluff hydraulic gold mine, western foothills of California's Sierra Nevada, for leaves, seeds, flowering structures, and petrified wood from some 70 species of middle Eocene plants.
  • Field Trip To The Alexander Hills Fossil District, Mojave Desert, California: Visit a locality outside the southern sector of Death Valley National Park to explore a paleontological wonderland that produces: Precambrian stromatolites over a billion years old; early skeletonized eukaryotic cells of testate amoebae over three-quarters of billion years old; early Cambrian trilobites, archaeocyathids, annelid trails, arthropod tracks, and echinoderm material; Pliocene-Pleistocene vertebrate and invertebrate faunas; and late middle Miocene camel tracks, petrified palm wood, petrified dicotlyedon wood, and permineralized grasses.
  • 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.
  • Fossil Plants, Insects And Frogs In The Vicinity Of Virginia City, Nevada: Journey to a western Nevada badlands district near Virginia City and the Comstock Lode to discover a bonanza of paleontology in the late middle Miocene Coal Valley Formation.
  • 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.
  • High Sierra Nevada Fossil Plants, Alpine County, California: Visit a remote fossil leaf and petrified wood locality in the Sierra Nevada, at an altitude over 8,600 feet, slightly above the local timberline, to find 7 million year-old specimens of cypress, Douglas-fir, White fir, evergreen live oak, and giant sequoia, among others.
  • In Search Of Fossils In The Tin Mountain Limestone, California: Journey to the Death Valley area of Inyo County, California, to explore the highly fossiliferous Lower Mississippian Tin Mountain Limestone; visit three localities that provide easy access to a roughly 358 million year-old calcium carbate accumulation that contains well preserved corals, brachiopods, bryozoans, crinoids, and ostracods--among other major groups of invertebrate animals.
  • 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.
  • Late Miocene Fossil Leaves At Verdi, Washoe County, Nevada: Explore a fascinating fossil leaf locality not far from Reno, Nevada; find 18 species of plants that prove that 5.8 million years ago this part of the western Great Basin Desert would have resembled, floristically, California's lush green Gold Country, from Placerville south to Jackson.
  • Fossils Along The Loneliest Road In America: Investigate the extraordinary fossil wealth along some 230 miles of The Loneliest Road In America--US Highway 50 from the vicinity of Eureka, Nevada, to Delta in Millard County, Utah. Includes on-site images and photographs of representative fossils (with detailed explanatory text captions) from every geologic rock deposit I have personally explored in the neighborhood of that stretch of Great Basin asphalt. The paleontologic material ranges in geologic age from the middle Eocene (about 48 million years ago) to middle Cambrian (approximately 505 million years old).
  • 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.
  • For information on what can and cannot be collected legally from America's Public Lands, take a look at Fossils On America's Public Lands and Collecting On Public Lands--brochures that the Bureau Of Land Management has allowed me to transcribe.
  • In Search Of Vanished Ages--Field Trips To Fossil Localities In California, Nevada, And Utah--My fossils-related field trips in full print book form (pdf). 98,703 words (equivalent to a medium-size hard cover work of non-fiction); 250 printed pages (equivalent to about 380 pages in hard cover book form); 27 chapters; 30 individual field trips to places of paleontological interest; 60 photographs--representative on-site images and pictures of fossils from each locality visited.

United States Geological Survey Papers (Public Domain)

Online versions of USGS publications

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