Fossils In Death Valley National Park

Contents for Fossils In Death Valley National Park:

Image: Titus Canyon Fm. Image: Titantothere Skull   Text: Introduction Chart: DV Rock Formations Chart: DV Geo-Chronology
         
Chart: DV Fossils Images: DV Fossils Images: USGS DV Fossils Images: Fossils Outside DV  Images: Death Valley NP 
         
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Here is a view of the fossil-bearing middle Oligocene Titus Canyon Formation exposed in dramatic, colorful glory along the road to Titus Canyon in Death Valley National Park; a radiometric reading near the base of the unit yielded a geologic date of roughly 29 million years. The formation consists primarily of coarse fluviatile (river-deposited) sandstones and finer-grained lacustrine (lake-deposited) mudstones interbedded with conglomerates and volcanic tuffs. Near Leadfield ghost town, in the vicinity of Titantothere Canyon, the Titus Canyon Formation has yielded to vertebrate paleontologists a rich fauna of Titantotheres, early tapirs, horses, camels, dogs, squirrels, early rodents, oreodonts. fish and turtles--a fossil fauna that creates one of the most startling contrasts imaginable: Some 30 million years ago, present day Death Valley--synonymous with sand and heat and aridity--was a lush, semi-tropical, well-watered land thriving with many kinds of now extinct animals.

Titantothere Skull

 
Both sides of a replica of probably the most famous fossil recovered from the middle Oligocene Titus Canyon Formation in Death Valley National Park--the giant Titantothere skull, which was excavated by paleontology teams in 1933 at the mouth of Titantothere Canyon; the specimen now resides in a glass case in the Death Valley Museum at Furnace Creek Ranch, where this photograph was taken.

Introduction

Collecting fossils within the boundaries of Death Valley National Park is prohibited without a special use permit issued by the National Park Service--a permit distributed solely to individuals with a minimum B.S. degree from an accredited university who seek to undertake research projects that can be fully verified by the petitioned authorities. Without such a permit, take only photographs of all paleontologic specimens encountered within Death Valley National Park.

And now for the obligatory words of caution. Endemic to the Mojave Desert of California and southern Nevada (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; and, Death Valley National Park just happens to lie within a northern sector of the Mojave where Valley Fever spores likely have 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.

Rock Formations Exposed Within Death Valley National Park

Adapted from a specific publication

Chronology Of Major Events In Death Valley

Adapted from a specific publication

Fossils Described From Death Valley National Park

Adapted from a specific publication

Images: Fossils In Death Valley National Park

Collecting Fossils Within Death Valley National Park Is Prohibited Without A Permit

  • Trilobite cephalon from the upper member of the Lower Cambrian Wood Canyon Formation, Death Valley National Park Inyo County, California; Olenellus sp.

  • A nearly complete Olenellid trilobite, Olenellus gilberti, from the Lower Cambrian Saline Valley Formation, Waucoba Spring, Death Valley National Park.

  • A nearly complete Olenellid trilobite from the Lower Cambrian Saline Valley Formation, Waucoba Spring geologic section, Death Valley National Park. Mesonacis fremonti. Click here for an image overview of the world-famous Waucoba Spring fossil locality. Visitors must not remove anything they find there, but prior to 1994 (when the Desert Protection Act became law, a law that created Death Valley National Park), this Early Cambrian site supplied collectors with loads of excellently preserved trilobites, including an occasional perfect, complete specimen or two.

  •   Worm trails on slabs of quartzite from the Lower Cambrian Harkless Formation, Waucoba Spring, Death Valley National Park.

  • Olenellid Trilobite cephalon from the Lower Cambrian Saline Valley Formation,Waucoba Spring, Death Valley National Park. Olenellus gilberti.

  • An Olenellid Trilobite cephalon from the Lower Cambrian Saline Valley Formation, Waucoba Spring, Death Valley National Park Olenellus nevadensis.

  • Trace Fossils of invertebrate tracks and trails on a chunk of quartzitic shale from the Lower Cambrian Daylight Formation, Daylight Pass, Boundary Canyon; the Daylight Formation can be correlated stratigraphically with the Lower Cambrian Wood Canyon Formation, a rather widespread geologic rock unit exposed in the Death Valley district.

  • Sea Anemone Burrows from the Lower Cambrian Wood Canyon Formation. Trace fossils created by an early echinoderm.

  • Trilobites: Olenellid trilobite cephalons from the Lower Cambrian Saline Valley Formation, Waucoba Spring, Death Valley National Park. Olenellus howelli.

  • Annelid Trails on quartzite matrix from the Lower Cambrian Poleta Formation, Waucoba Spring, Death Valley National Park.

  • Branching archeocyathids (early, extinct calcareous sponge) from the Lower Cambrian Poleta Formation, Waucoba Spring, Death Valley National Park. Species indeterminate; a member of the class of archeocyathids called Irregularia, because of their peculiar branching structure. View an on-site image of the Poleta Formation exposed at Waucoba Spring.

  • Archaeocyathid (early, extinct calcareous sponge) from the Lower Cambrian Poleta Formation, Waucoba Spring, Death Valley National Park.

  • Algae nodules, Girvanella sp., from the Lower Cambrian section of the Lower to Middle Cambrian Carrara Formation, Echo Canyon.

  • Trilobite head shield (cephalon) from the Lower Cambrian section of the Lower To Middle Cambrian Carrara Formation, Echo Canyon.

  • Worm Trails from the Lower Cambrian Carrara Formation, Pyramid Shale Member, Pyramid Peak.

  • Algae nodules (Girvanella sp.) from the Lower Cambrian section of the Lower to Middle Cambrian Carrara Formation, Echo Canyon.

  • Trilobite cephalons from the Lower Cambrian Carrara Formation, Pyramid Shale Member, Pyramid Peak. Olenellus multinodus.

  • Annelid Trails on a slab of shale from the Lower Cambrian Campito Formation, Waucoba Spring geologic section.

  • Algal oncolites (precipitated by blue-green algae, cyanobacteria), Girvanella sp., from the Lower Cambrian Mule Spring Limestone, Waucoba Spring. Take a virtual field trip to the classic Waucoba Spring Early Cambrian geologic section.

  • Three trilobites preserved along the same slab of shale from the middle Cambrian Monola Formation, Death Valley National Park: Two genus Onchocephalites; and a genus Syspacephalus.

  • Mostly complete trilobites from the middle Cambrian Monola Formation, Death Valley National Park. Oryctocephalus indicus and Oryctocephalus nyensis.

  • Gastropods from the Middle Ordovician Pogonip Group, Death Valley National Park. Palliseria robusta. From the westernmost exposures of an association of several world-famous geologic rock formations whose correlative age-equivalent outcrops occur in Nevada and western Utah.

  • Fish from the Early Devononian section of the Lower to Upper Devonian Lost Burro Formation, Trail Canyon, Death Valley National Park, California. Fossil specimens of two new species of Pteraspidid jawless fish--Panamintaspis snowi and Blieckaspis priscillae--along with scientific reconstructions of their head regions.

  • Corals: "Spaghetti" coral , Syringopora sp. and Tetracoral, Lithostrotionella sp.,from the Lower Mississippian Tin Mountain Limestone, Towne Pass. Take a look at the classic Towne Pass fossil locality.

  • Crinoid Stems from the Lower Mississippian Tin Mountain Limestone, Funeral Mountains.

  • Goniatites Ammonoid, Cravenoceras hesperium from the Upper Mississippian Perdido Formation, Rest Spring Gulch. Take a look at the Rest Spring Gulch fossil locality. Take a look at some Late Mississippian goniatites ammonoids and other cephalopods from Utah.

  • Goniatites Ammonoid, Cravenoceras merriami from the Upper Mississippian Rest Spring Shale, Rest Spring Gulch.

  • Ammonoids from Upper Mississippian Rest Spring Shale, Rest Spring Gulch.

  • A Spirifer sp. Brachiopod from the Upper Mississippian Rest Spring Shale, Rest Spring Gulch.

  • Cephalopods: Orthocone nautiloid cephalopods, possibly Mitorthoceras clinatum, from the Upper Mississippian Rest Spring Shale, Rest Spring Gulch.

  • Horn corals, possibly Caninia sp. from the Upper Mississippian Rest Spring Shale, Rest Spring Gulch.

  • Crinoid columnals, species indeterminate, from the Upper Mississippian Perdido Formation, Rest Spring Gulch.

  • Fusulinids from the Lower Permian Darwin Canyon Formation (Panamint Springs Member) of the Owens Valley Group. Parafusulina sp. and Schwagerina sp.

  • Titantothere Skull from the Middle Oligocene Titus Canyon Formation, collected by paleontology teams in 1933 from exposures near Leadfield ghost town, along the road to Titus Canyon, at the mouth of Titantothere Canyon. This is actually a replica of the original specimen which is on display in the Death Valley Museum at Furnace Creek Ranch, where the photographs were taken.

  • Actual skull bones of the famous Titantothere skull--a replica of which is on display in the Death Valley Museum at Furnace Creek Ranch--excavated by paleontology teams in 1933 from the mouth of Titantothere Canyon near Leadfield along the road to Titus Canyon in the Middle Oligocene Titus Canyon Formation. Photograph courtesy a specific scientific publication.

  • Camel Jaw from the Middle Oligocene Titus Canyon Formation; collected in 1933 by paleontologists from exposures near Leadville ghost town, along the road to Titus Canyon. This specimen is on display in the Death Valley Museum at Furnace Creek Ranch, where the photograph was taken.

  • Tapir Jaw from the Middle Oligocene Titus Canyon Formation; collected in 1933 by vertebrate paleontologists near Leadville ghost town along the road to Titus Canyon. This specimen is on display in the Death Valley Museum at Furnace Creek Ranch, where the photograph was taken.

  • Mammal Carnivore Track from the Pliocene Copper Canyon Formation, Copper Canyon; this specimen is on display in the Death Valley Museum at Furnace Creek Ranch, where the photograph was taken.

  • Camel Track from the Pliocene Copper Canyon Formation, Copper Canyon; this specimen is on display in the Death Valley Museum at Furnace Creek Ranch, where the photograph was taken.

  • Camel Tracks from the Pliocene Copper Canyon Formation, Copper Canyon, Death Valley National Park.

  • Mammal Trackways from the Pliocene Copper Canyon Formation, Copper Canyon: View some camel tracks and an undescribed carnivore track from the famous Copper Canyon locality.

  • Bird Track from the Pliocene Copper Canyon Formation, Copper Canyon, Death Valley National Park.

  • Cat Track from the Pliocene Copper Canyon Formation, Copper Canyon, Death Valley National Park.

  • Bird Track from the Pliocene Copper Canyon Formation, Copper Canyon, Death Valley National Park.

  • Proboscidean tracks from the Pliocene Copper Canyon Formation, Copper Canyon, Death Valley National Park.

  • Petrified Palm Wood from the Pliocene Copper Canyon Formation, Copper Canyon, Death Valley National Park.

  • Mastodon Tusk weathering out of the Upper Pleistocene Rogers Lake Beds, Death Valley; this is a black and white photograph courtesy the book, Geological Story of Death Valley, by Thomas Clements (long-time professor of geology at the University of Southern California). By the way, the black and white photograph of the fossil mastodon tusk from that book by Dr. Clements was the very image that first fueled my interest in the fossils of Death Valley.

  • Horse astragalus (a foot bone, also colloquially called an "ankle bone") weathering out of the Upper Pleistocene Rogers Lake Beds, Death Valley National Park.

Images: Death Valley National Park Fossils

From United States Geological Survey sources--public domian:

Cruziana Burrow Burrows Bi-grooved Trails
Trace Fossils (tracks, trails and burrows) figured in United States Geological Survey Professional Paper 1047, Stratigraphy and Trilobite Biostratigraphy of the Carrara Formation (Lower and Middle Cambrian) in the Southern Great Basin by Allison R. Palmer and Robert B. Halley, issued in 1979.

 Orthocone Nautiloid  Ammonoids  Ammonoids  Ammonoids  Ammonoids
Ammonoids and an orthocone nautiloid figured in United States Geological Survey Professional Paper 483-A, California Carboniferous Cephalopods, by Mackenzie Gordon Jr., issued in 1964

 Trilobite  Sponges  Brachiopods-Trilobites

 Gastropods
Fossils figured in United States Geological Bulletin 1299, Geology of the Panamint Butte Quadrangle, Inyo County, California, by Wayne E. Hall, issued in 1971; and United States Geological Survey Professional Paper 494-A, Stratigraphy and Structure Death Valley, California, by Charles B. Hunt and Don. R. Mabey, issued in 1966

 Trilobites From Plate 1 Trilobites From Plate 1
 Trilobites From Plate 2 Trilobites From Plate 7
 Trilobites From Plate 3 Trilobites From Plates 10,11
Trilobites From Plate 3 Trilobites From Plate 13 
 Trilobites From Plate 4   Trilobites From Plate 14
 Trilobites From Plate 4   Trilobites From Plate 15
 Trilobites From Plate 5   Trilobites From Plate 16
Trilobites figured in United States Geological Survey Professional Paper 1047, Physical Stratigraphy and Trilobite Biostratigraphy of the Carrara Formation (Lower and Middle Cambrian) in the Southern Great Basin by Allison R. Palmer and Robert B. Halley, issued in 1979

Images: Fossils Found Outside Death Valley National Park

Practically all of Death Valley National Park, of course, lies within Inyo County, California. In this section, I've included images of fossils from neighboring localities that lie outside Death Valley National Park in Inyo County, California, and adjacent Esmeralda County, Nevada (a small portion of the northeastern sector of Death Valley National Park, east of Scotty's Castle, actually lies within Esmeralda County). The specimens have been arranged in ascending order of geologic time--that is, the order of their sequencing here is from the oldest to the youngest fossil remains.

  • Stromatolites from the Precambrian Crystal Spring Formation, Inyo County, California; domelike, concentrically laminated structures roughly one billion years old, created by single-celled organisms called cyanobacteria.
  • A Closer Look at two domelike stromatolites from the Precambrian Crystal Spring Formation, Inyo County, California.

  • Body fossils from the late Precambrian (Ediacaran Period) Dunfee Member of the upper Precambrian-lower Cambrian Deep Spring Formation, Esmeralda County, Nevada. Gaojiashania, Wutubus, and an undescribed vermicular-like specimen.

  • Pyritized Conotubus tubular fossil from the late Precambrian (Ediacaran Period) Esmeralda Member of the upper Precambrian-lower Cambrian Deep Spring Formation, Esmeralda County, Nevada. Two views of Conotubus, a small shelly tubular fossil, preserved by the mineral pyrite (iron sulfide)--a fossil known only from two localities in the world: southern China and Esmeralda County, Nevada.

  • Cloudina small shelly fossils from the late Precambrian (Ediacaran Period) portion of the upper Precambrian-lower Cambrian Deep Spring Formation, Esmeralda County, Nevada; a possible cnidarian-type organism--a world-famous small shelly invertebrate creature first described from the late Precambrian (Ediacaran Period) of Namibia.

  • Planolites Trace Fossils from the late Precambrian (Ediacaran Period) portion of the upper Precambrian-lower Cambrian Deep Spring Formation, Inyo County, California; feeding trails creating by a presumed annelid-type organism.

  • Stromatolites from the late Precambrian (Ediacaran Period) portion of the late Precambrian-lower Cambrian Deep Spring Formation, Esmeralda County, Nevada; domelike, concentrically laminated structures roughly 550 million years old, created by single-celled organisms called cyanobacteria.

  • Treptichnus pedum trace fossils from lower Cambrian portion of the upper Precambrian-lower Cambrian Deep Spring Formation, Inyo County, California; feeding trails that resemble types made by modern priapulid worms. Such Treptichnus pedum trails begin to appear worldwide in strata deposited at the Precambrian-Cambrian boundary; stratigraphers use them to mark the precise moment in geologic time when the Paleozoic Era began--541 million years ago.

  • Invertebrate Tracks And Trails on a chunk of quartzite from the Lower Cambrian Wood Canyon Formation, Inyo County, California; probably most of the trails were created by annelids, worms. Such tracks and trails are amazingly abundant on many quartzite and shale bedding surfaces in the Wood Canyon Formation.
  • Invertebrate Tracks And Trails: Another chunk of quartzite from the Lower Cambrian Wood Canyon Formation, with invertebrate tracks and trails (annelids, mainly) preserved along the bedding surface; found in Inyo County, California.

  • Echinoderm Plate Coquina from the Lower Cambrian Wood Canyon Formation, Inyo County, California. Abundant grayish structures embedded in a reddish-brown limestone matrix represent the disarticulated remains of an undescribed echinoderm whose original skeleton apparently broke apart quite easily upon its death, thus enabling vast numbers of its remains to develop coquinoid associations in several limestone beds in the Wood Canyon Formation.

  • Repinaella--The world's oldest trilobite. Two cephalons (head shields) of Repinaella--the oldest genus of trilobite yet described in the scientific literature--from the Andrews Mountain Member of the lower Cambrian Campito Formation, Esmeralda County, Nevada. Repinaella appears simultaneously in the geologic record in Siberia and Esmeralda County, Nevada.
  • Invertebrate Trace Fossils from the Lower Cambrian Montenegro Member of the Campito Formation, Esmeralda County, Nevada: two curious, undescribed strap-like remains along the bedding surface of a chunk of shale from near the stratigraphic contact with the underlying Andrews Mountain Member of the Campito Formation.

  • Mostly Complete Trilobite from the Lower Cambrian Montenegro Member of the Campito Formation, Esmeralda County, Nevada; Eofallotaspis.
  • Mostly Complete Trilobite from the Lower Cambrian Montenegro Member of the Campito Formation, Esmeralda County, Nevada; Eofallotaspis.
  • Mostly Complete Trilobite from the Lower Cambrian Montenegro Member of the Campito Formation, Esmeralda County, Nevada; Nevadia weeksi.
  • Mostly Complete Trilobites from the Lower Cambrian Montenegro Member of the Campito Formation, Esmeralda County, Nevada; Esmeraldina.
  • Mostly Complete Trilobites from the Lower Cambrian Montenegro Member of the Campito Formation, Esmeralda County, Nevada; Montezumaspis parallela.
  • Mostly Complete Trilobites from the Lower Cambrian Montenegro Member of the Campito Formation, Esmeralda County, Nevada; Montezumaspis cometes.
  • Mostly Complete Trilobite from the Lower Cambrian Montenegro Member of the Campito Formation, Esmeralda County, Nevada; Esmeraldina rowei.
  • Trilobite Cephalon from the Lower Cambrian Montenegro Member of the Campito Formation, Inyo County, California; Olenellid.
  • Trilobite Cephalon from the Lower Cambrian Montenegro Member of the Campito Formation, Inyo County, California; Fallotaspis sp.

  • Brachiopods from the Lower Cambrian Montenegro Member of the Campito Formation, Inyo County, California. Three specimens assigned to the genus-species Obolella exelsis.
  • Brachiopods from the Lower Cambrian Montenegro Member of the Campito Formation, Inyo County, California. Seven specimens assigned to the genus Nisusia.

  • Archaeocyathids from the Lower Cambrian Montenegro Member of the Campito Formation, Inyo County, California. Archaeocyathids are an extinct variety of calcareous sponge that never made it beyond early Cambrian times roughly 510 million years ago. Scientifically polished cross-sections (to fascilitate definitive identifications) of the genera Cambrocyathus and Pyncoidocyathus.

  • Volborthellids from the Lower Cambrian Montenegro Member of the Campito Formation, Inyo County, California. Specimens of the enigmatic small shelly fossil called Campitius titanius, which is presently considered a Volborthellid--a member of the exinct Phylum Agmata that also includes Salterella and Volborthella, and Lidaconus.

  • Anthozoan coral microfossils from the Lower Cambrian lower limestone member of the Poleta Formation, Inyo County, California. Paiutitubulites variabilis, Paiutitubulites durhami, Cambrotubulites trisepta, and Cambrotubulites sp. One specimen figured from the lower Cambrian Montenegro Member of the Campito Formation, Inyo County, California.

  • Archaeocyathid cross-sections from the lower limestone member of the Lower Cambrian Poleta Formation, Esmeralda County, Nevada; archaeocyathids are an extinct variety of calcareous sponge that never made it beyond early Cambrian times roughly 510 million years ago.
  • Archaeocyathids:Two cross-sections of archaeocyathids showing their distinctive hollow central cavity surrounded by a circular to oval double-wall separated by many partitions; from the lower limestone member of the Lower Cambrian Poleta Formation, Esmeralda County, Nevada.
  • Archaeocyathid cross-sections from the lower limestone member of the Lower Cambrian Poleta Formation, Esmeralda County, Nevada; archaeocyathids are an extinct variety of calcareous sponge that never made it beyond early Cambrian times roughly 510 million years ago.

  • Mostly Complete Trilobite from the Lower Cambrian Poleta Formation, Esmeralda County, Nevada. Nevadia weeksi.
  • Mostly Complete Trilobite from the Lower Cambrian Poleta Formation, Esmeralda County, Nevada. Nevadia weeksi.
  • Mostly Complete Trilobites from the Lower Cambrian Poleta Formation, Esmeralda County, Nevada; Teresellus goldfieldensis.
  • Trilobite cephalon/head shield (part and counterpart) from the middle member of the Lower Cambrian Poleta Formation, Esmeralda County, Nevada. Nevadia parvoconica.

  • Inarticulate Brachiopods from the middle member of the Lower Cambrian Poleta Formation, Esmeralda County, Nevada. Lingulella sp.
  • Inarticulate Brachiopods from the middle member of the Lower Cambrian Poleta Formation, Esmeralda County, Nevada. Lingulella sp.
  • Inarticulate Brachiopod from the middle member of the Lower Cambrian Poleta Formation, Esmeralda County, Nevada. Mickwitzia muralensis.
  • Brachiopods from the Lower Cambrian Poleta Formation, Esmeralda County, Nevada. Photographs of the following genera--Kutorgina, Lingulella, Spinulothele, and Pompechium.

  • Helicoplacoid Echinoderms from the middle member of the Lower Cambrian Poleta Formation, Inyo County, California. Helicoplacus gilberti.

  • Skolithos bulbus vertical worm boring from the Lower Cambrian Poleta Formation, Inyo County, California. Skolithos trace fossil, created by an extinct annelid that likely resembled a modern phoronid worm.

  • Mostly Complete Trilobites from the Lower Cambrian the Carrara Formation, Inyo County, California: Olenellus terminatus; Bristolia parryi; Peachella iddingsi; and Mesonacis.
  • Trilobite cephalons/head shields from the Lower Cambrian Pyramid Shale Member of the Carrara Formation, Inyo County, California; the head shields from two species of trilobites, Olenellus fowleri and Olenellus gilberti.

  • Salterella coquina from the Lower Cambrian Harkless Formation, Esmeralda County, Nevada; salterella is an enigmatic critter now placed into its own unique phylum, called Agmata, although for decades many paleontologists believed that it represented an early, extinct type of cephalopd. Salterella never survived past the early Cambrian.
  • Salterella from the Lower Cambrian Harkless Formation, Esmeralda County, Nevada; a chunk of salterella coquina showing the distinctive conical to ice cream-cone-shaped fossil.

  • Lidaconus palmettoensis from the Lower Cambrian Harkless Formation, Esmeralda County, Nevada; several specimens dissolved from of their limestone matrix with a diluted acid bath--an enignmatic conical, small shelly animal of unestablished zoological affinity, although it rather closely resembles salterella.

  • Archaeocyathids from the Lower Cambrian Harkless Formation, Esmeralda County, Nevada. Natural cross-sections of archaeocyathids (extinct calcareous sponge) in a carbonate biohermal accumulation from a stratigraphic section lowest (oldest portions) in the lower Cambrian Harkless Formation.
  • Archaeocyathids from the Lower Cambrian Harkless Formation, Esmeralda County, Nevada. Scientific cross-sections of archaeocyathids (extinct calcareous sponge) from the upper (youngest) portions of the Harkless Formation--a stratigraphic interval immediately above which (in younger strata) archaeocyathids permanently disappear from the geologic record; they go extinct. Genera Diplocyathellus and Metaldetes.
  • Archaeocyathids from the Lower Cambrian Harkless Formation, Esmeralda County, Nevada. Specimens of archaeocyathids (extinct calcareous sponge) weathering out in longitudinal preservational orientation on a chunk of silty limestone.

  • Coral from the Lower Cambrian Harkless Formation, Esmeralda County, Nevada. One of the oldest true corals in the geologic record, called scientifically Harklessia yuenglingensis (class Anthozoa subclass Zoantharia--probably a tabulate coral).

  • Mostly Complete Trilobite from the Lower Cambrian Harkless Formation, Esmeralda County, Nevada; a ptychopariid trilobite, called Syspacephalus.
  • Mostly Complete Trilobite from the Lower Cambrian Harkless Formation, Esmeralda County, Nevada; a second ptychopariid trilobite, called Syspacephalus.
  • Mostly CompleteTrilobite from the Lower Cambrian Harkless Formation, Esmeralda County, Nevada; a third ptychopariid trilobite, called Syspacephalus.
  • Mostly Complete Triobite from the Lower Cambrian Harkless Formation, Esmeralda County, Nevada. Called scientifically, Olenoides marcoui.
  • Mostly Complete Trilobite from the Lower Cambrian Harkless Formation, Esmeralda County, Nevada. Called scientifically, genus Bonnia.
  • Mostly Complete Trilobite from the Lower Cambrian Harkless Formation, Esmeralda County, Nevada. Three mostly complete specimens called scientifically, genus Proliostracus.
  • Mostly Complete Trilobites from the Lower Cambrian Harkless Formation, Esmeralda County, nevada. Three mostly complete specimens of Perrisopyge triangulata.
  • Ptychopariid Trilobite cephalon from the Lower Cambrian Harkless Formation, Esmeralda County, Nevada; a rather robust head shield from an undescribed Harkless ptychopariid.
  • Trilobite Pygidia/Tail Segments from the Lower Cambrian Harkless Formation, Esmeralda County, Nevada; two very well preserved tail segments from Ogygopsis sp. trilobites. One of the specimens shows part of the thorax, as well, interestingly enough.
  • Trilobite Pygidia/Tail Segments from the Lower Cambrian Harkless Formation, Esmeralda County, Nevada; two nicely preserved Ogygopsis sp. tail segments.
  • Trilobite Cephalon/Head Shield from the Lower Cambrian Harkless Formation, Esmeralda County, Nevada. A head shield from an olenellid trilobite called Olenellus (Paedeumias) terminatus.

  • Brachiopods from the Lower Cambrian Harkless Formation, Inyo County, California. Six specimens assigned to the genus Obolella.
  • Brachiopod from the Lower Cambrian Harkless Formation, Esmeralda County, Nevada. A specimen assigned to the genus Kyrshabaktella.

  • Algae Nodules from the Lower Cambrian Mule Spring Limestone, Esmeralda County, Nevada; the dark, circular to oval structures are the remains of an extinct blue-green algae called Girvanella sp. The Mule Spring Limestone locally yields vast numbers of Girvanella, more than any other Cambrian formation in all the Great Basin.

  • Algae Filaments: A mass of tangled Girvanella blue-green cyanobacterial filaments dissolved out of carbonates at the top (youngest phases of sedimentary deposition) of the lower Cambrian Mule Spring Limestone, Esmeralda County, Nevada; specimen is greatly magnified. The spaghetti-like strands constitute remains of the actual cyanobacterial algal growths that contributed to the formation of the abundant Girvanella algal nodules so prevalent in Mule Spring Limestone accumulations exposed throughout the Great Basin Desert of Nevada and eastern California.

  • Sponge Spicule: A glass sponge spicule (class Hexactinellida) dissolved out in its original three-dimensional aspect from carbonates in the lower Cambrian Mule Spring Limestone, Esmeralda County, Nevada; specimen is greatly magnified.

  • Mollusk: An extinct helcionelloid mollusk dissolved free from carbonate rocks in the lower Cambrian Mule Spring Limestone, Esmeralda County, Nevada. Specimen is greatly magnified, called scientifically Costipelagiella nevadense. Possible zoological affinities with gastropods, cephalopods, and monoplacophorans has been postulated by numerous investigators; nevertheless, they remain enigmatic constituents of the early Cambrian "small shelly fossils" category.

  • Hyolithid: An extinct lophophorate hyolithid dissolved free from carbonate rocks in the lower Cambrian Mule Spring Limestone, Great Basin Desert, Nevada. Specimen is greatly magnified, called scientifically genus Parkula. Zoological affinity to living lophophorate brachiopods, bryozoans, and phoronid annelids is definitively established. Still and all, they remain enigmatic early Cambrian constituents of a group of extinct organisms commonly grouped together as "small shelly fossils."

  • Mostly Complete Trilobite from the Lower Cambrian Mule Spring Limestone, Inyo County, California. A trilobite from the Superfamily Fallotaspidoidea (which contains some of the earliest trilobites), assigned to the genus species Archaeaspis macropleuron.
  • Trilobite: An olenellid trilobite cephalon (head shield) from the lower Cambrian Mule Spring Limestone, Esmeralda County, Nevada. Called scientifically Olenellus (Paedeumias) puertoblancoensis. One of the last olenellid trilobites to exist; the specimen came from a stratigraphic interval in the Mule Spring Limestone immediately above which (in younger rocks) all olenellid trilobites permanently disappear from the geologic record during the latest early Cambrian Period some 510 million years ago.

  • Sponge Spicule from the Middle Cambrian Emigrant Formation, Esmeralda County, Nevada; an indeterminate spicule from a siliceous sponge. The Emigrant Formation is famous for yielding many unusual kinds of sponge remains, primarily a wide variety of siliceous spicules.

  • Mostly Complete Trilobite from the Middle Cambrian Emigrant Formation, Esmeralda County, Nevada. Wujiajiania sutherlandi.
  • Mostly Complete Trilobite from the Middle Cambrian Emigrant Formation, Esmeralda County, Nevada. Syspacephalus variosus.
  • Mostly Complete Trilobite from the Middle Cambrian Emigrant Formation, Esmeralda County, Nevada. Labiostria westropi.
  • Mostly Complete Trilobite from the Middle Cambrian Emigrant Formation, Esmeralda County, Nevada. Eokochaspus nodosa.
  • Mostly Complete Trilobite from the Middle Cambrian Emigrant Formation, Esmeralda County, Nevada. Amecephalus arrojosensis.
  • Mostly Complete Trilobite from the Middle Cambrian Emigrant Formation, Esmeralda County, Nevada. Mexicella robusta.
  • Mostly Complete Trilobite from the Middle Cambrian Emigrant Formation, Esmeralda County, Nevada. Onchocephalites claytonensis.
  • Mostly Complete Trilobite from the Middle Cambrian Emigrant Formation, Esmeralda County, Nevada. Tonopahella goldfieldensis.
  • Partial Ptychopariid Trilobite from the Middle Cambrian Emigrant Formation, Esmeralda County, Nevada; the specimen shows most of the cephalon (head shield) and most of the thorax (middle section of the three-lobed trilobite body); Eokochaspis nodosa.
  • Ptychopariid Trilobite Cephalons (head shields) from the Middle Cambrian Emigrant Formation, Esmeralda County, Nevada. Eokochaspis nodosa.
  • Trilobite Pygidium (tail section) from the Middle Cambrian Emigrant Formation, Esmeralda County, Nevada. Wenkchemnia walcotti.

  • Brachiopod from the Middle Cambrian Emigrant Formation, Esmeralda County, Nevada.

  • Conodonts from the Upper Cambrian Nopah Formation, Inyo County, California; minute tooth-like structures--technically termed denticles ) and unrelated to modern jaws)--that helped process food in an extinct lamprey eel-like organism.
  • Conodonts from the Upper Cambrian Nopah Formation, California and Nevada; minute tooth-like structures--technically termed denticles (and unrelated to modern jaws)--that helped process food in an extinct lamprey eel-like organism.

  • Blue-Green Algae from the Upper Cambrian Bonanza King Dolomite, Inyo County, California; oval to circular nodules precipitated by an extinct variety of blue-green algae called Girvanella.

  • Graptolite from the Lower Ordovician Al Rose Formation, Inyo County, California; a wishbone-shaped form called Didymograptus protobifidus. The Al Rose Formation is one of California's premiere early Ordovician fossil-bearing geologic rock units, yielding many kinds of graptolites, in addition to inarticulate brachiopods and several species of trilobites.
  • Graptolites: Several Tetragraptus sp. graptolites on a chunk of shale from the Lower Ordovician Al Rose Formation, Inyo County, California.

  • Inarticulate Brachiopod from the Lower Ordovician Al Rose Formation, Inyo County,California; in this specimen, the original phosphatic shell material has been preserved for roughly 490 million years.

  • Mostly Complete Trilobite from the Lower Ordovician Al Rose Formation, Inyo County, California; an undescribed trilobite from the Suborder Trinucleina.

  • Crinoid Crowns from the Lower Ordovician Al Rose Formation, Inyo County, California. Two complete crinoid crowns, called scientifically Inyocrinus strimplei.

  • Caryocaris Crustaceans from the Lower Ordovician Palmetto Formation, Esmeralda County, Nevada; three carapaces from an extinct bivalved Phyllocarid crustacean called Caryocaris sp. Such bivalved crustaceans attained a sporadic worldwide distribution during the early Ordovician, often occurring in close association with graptolitic shale facies.

  • Inarticulate Brachiopods from the Lower Ordovician Palmetto Formation, Esmeralda County, Nevada; two complete phosphatic brachiopods, with original shell luster preserved intact, embedded on fine-grained shale.

  • Graptolite from the Lower to Middle Ordovician Palmetto Formation, Esmeralda County, Nevada; a mostly complete Climacograptus sp. colony of an extinct variety of Hemichordate.
  • Graptolites: Two latex casts of graptolites from the Lower to Middle Ordovician Palmetto Formation, Esmeralda County, Nevada, that have produced three dimensional life-like reconstructions of the specimens. Called scientifically Dicellograptus gurleyi.
  • Graptolite: Latex cast of a graptolite from the Lower to Middle Ordovician Palmetto Formation, Esmeralda County, Nevada, that has produced a three dimensional life-like reconstruction of the specimen. Called scientifically Dicellograptus divaricatus.
  • Graptolite: Latex cast of a graptolite and the original specimen from which the latex cast was made from the Lower to Middle Ordovician Palmetto Formation, Esmeralda County, Nevada; note that the latex cast has produced a three dimensional life-like reconstruction of the specimen. Called scientifically Orthograptus calcaratus.

  • Gastropod from the Middle Ordovician Pogonip Group, Inyo County, California. Palliseria robusta. From the westernmost outcrops of the same world-famous association of geologic rock formations that outcrop in Nevada and western Utah.

  • Glyptocystitoid Rhombiferan Echinoderm from the Middle Ordovician Badger Flat Limestone, Inyo County, California; a mostly complete column of a blastazoan (the calyx is missing, unfortunately)--an extinct subphylum of echinoderm.

  • Brachiopod from the Middle Ordovician Badger Flat Limestone, Inyo County, California; ventral view of the pedicle valve of an articulate brachiopod called Orthambonites sp.
  • Brachiopod: The dorsal view of brachial valve of an articulate brachiopod called Orthambonites sp. from the Middle Ordovician Badger Flat Limestone, Inyo County, California.
  • Brachiopod: Two interior views of a brachial valve of an articulate brachiopod called Orthambonites sp. from the Middle Ordovician Badger Flat Limestone, Inyo County, California.

  • Sponges from the Middle Ordovician Badger Flat Limestone, Inyo County, California. Calycocoelia typicalis; Calycocoelia inyoensis; Streptosolen sp.; Nevadocoelia pulchra; Nevadocoelia mazourkaensis; Patellispongia oculata; Lissocoelia ramosa; Hesperocoelia undulata.

  • Corals from the Middle Ordovician Johnson Spring Formation, Inyo County, California; extinct, solitary streptelasma rugose corals Grewinghia whitei and Bracheyelasma bassleri.

  • Brachiopods from the Middle Ordovician Johnson Spring Formation, Inyo County, California; exterior and interior views of two pedicle valves belonging to Ptychopleurella arthuri.

  • Conodonts from the Lower Silurian Hidden Valley Dolomite, Inyo County, California; conodonts are minute tooth-like structures, unrelated to modern jaws, that served as a feeding apparatus in an extinct lamprey eel-like organism.
  • Conodonts from the Lower Silurian Hidden Valley Dolomite, Inyo County, California; conodonts are minute tooth-like structures, unrelated to modern jaws, that served as a feeding apparatus in an extinct lamprey eel-like organism.

  • Green Algae: Three examples of an extinct species of dasycladacean algae (green algae) from the Middle Silurian section of the Lower Silurian to Lower Devonian Vaughn Gulch Limestone, Inyo County, California. Called scientifically Verticillopora annulata.

  • Coral from the Middle Silurian section of the Lower Silurian to Lower Devonian Vaughn Gulch Limestone, Inyo County, California; a branching, digitate, Tabulate coral colony called Coenites (an older reference for this same genus is Cladopora).
  • Corals: A tangle of corals etched in relief with diluted acid from the Middle Silurian section of the Lower Silurian to Lower Devonian Vaughn Gulch Limestone, Inyo County, California; called scientifically Coenites (an older reference for this same genus is Cladopora sp.).
  • Corals from the Middle Silurian section of the Lower Silurian to Lower Devonian Vaughn Gulch Limestone, Inyo County, California; called scientifically Coenites (an older reference for this same genus is Cladopora sp.).
  • Corals: A transverse thin section of a slab of coral from the Middle Silurian section of the Lower Silurian to Lower Devonian Vaughn Gulch Limestone, Inyo County, California, revealing several corallites that comprise the coral colony. A corallite is an individual skeletal polyp, within which the actual coral animal lives. Scientific name is Australophyllum sp.
  • Coral: A composite photograph of two views of the same horn coral from the Middle Silurian section of the Lower Silurian to Lower Devonian Vaughn Gulch Limestone, Inyo County, California. Scientific name is Dalmanophyllum sp.
  • Coral: A chunk of coral from the Middle Silurian section of the Lower Silurian to Lower Devonian Vaughn Gulch Limestone, Inyo County, California. Scientific name is Favosites sp.
  • Coral: Three different views of the same coral specimen from the Middle Silurian section of the Lower Silurian to lower Devonian Vaughn Gulch Limestone, Inyo County, California. Scientific name is Kyphophyllum nevadensis.

  • Bryozoans from the Middle Silurian Vaughn Gulch Limestone, Inyo County, California; a lattice-style, fenestellid bryozoan colony called Polypora incepta. An aside here: the very first Paleozoic fossil I recall finding was a fenestellid, lattice-like bryozoan in the Upper Missississippian Diamond Peak Formation of White Pine County, Nevada.

  • Graptolites from the Upper Silurian Sunday Canyon Formation, Inyo County, California; several slender, needle-like Monograptus sp. graptolites preserved with a natural reddish-brown limonitic coloration.

  • "Spaghetti" Stromatoporoids from the Upper Devonian Lost Burro Formation, Inyo County, California; strand-like, "spaghetti" structures from an extinct calcareous sponge, a stromatoporoid called Amphipora sp.

  • Crinoid Stem Sections from the Lower Mississippian Tin Mountain Limestone, Inyo County, California; several sections from a stalked echinoderm, a crinoid, preserved in a bioclastic (composed primarily of fossil fragments) calcium carbonate matrix.
  • Crinoid Columnals: individual segments of the crinoid stem, free of matrix, from the Lower Mississippian Tin Mountain Limestone, Inyo County, California.

  • Ostracods from the Lower Mississippian Tin Mountain Limestone, Inyo County, California. A variety of bivalved crustacean.

  • "Spaghetti" Corals from the Lower Mississippian Tin Mountain Limestone, Inyo County, California; Syringopora sp. strand-like colonial corals.

  • Orthocone Nautiloid Cephalopod from the Upper Mississippian Chainman Shale, Inyo County, California; the "darning needle" nautiloid cephalopod, Bactrites sp., which is actually more closely related to the living chambered nautilus than the ammonites, whose morphologic resemblance to a nautilus is only superficial.

  • Pelecypod from the Upper Mississippian Chainman Shale, Inyo County, California; a Caneyella sp. pelecypod, a good guide fossil to the late Mississippian geologic age, with both valves preserved intact, splayed open along the hingeline.
  • Pelecypod: An undetermined genus with both valves intact from the Upper Mississippian Chainman Shale, Inyo County, California.

  • Ammonoids from the Upper Mississippian Chainman Shale, Inyo County, California; several goniatites ammonoids called Cravenoceratoides nitiloides preserved on a piece of slightly metamorphosed shale.

  • Fusulinids from the Middle Pennsylvanian portion Keeler Canyon Formation, Inyo County, California; naturally exposed cross-sections that reveal the intricate internal geometric structures of two genera of fusulinids, Wedekindelina sp. and Fusulinella sp.--specimens that were constructed by an extinct, single-celled animal.
  • Fusulinids from the Middle Pennsylvanian to Lower Permian Keeler Canyon Formation, Inyo County, California. A detailed chart with numerous images of representative, scientifically cross-sectioned fusulinid species from each subunit of the Keeler Canyon Formation.
  • Fusulinids from the Middle to Upper Pennsylvanian part of the Middle Pennsylvanian to Lower Permian Keeler Canyon Formation, Inyo County, California. Images of fusulinids that have been scientifically cross-sectioned in order to make definitive identifications.
  • Fusulinids from the Lower Permian part of the Middle Pennsylvanian to Lower Permian Keeler Canyon Formation, Inyo County, California. Images of fusulinids that have been scientifically cross-sectioned in order to make definitive identifications.

  • Corals from the Middle Pennsylvanian Keeler Canyon Formation, Inyo County, California; cross-sections of colonial corals called scientifically, Petalaxis yosti.

  • Conodonts from the Middle Pennsylvanian portion of the Keeler Canyon Formation, Inyo County, California; minute tooth-like structures--technically termed denticles (and unrelated to modern jaws)--that helped process food in an extinct lamprey eel-like organism.
  • Conodonts from the Upper Pennsylvanian portion of the Keeler Canyon Formation, Inyo County, California; minute tooth-like structures--technically termed denticles (and unrelated to modern jaws)--that helped process food in an extinct lamprey eel-like organism.
  • Conodonts from the Lower Permian portion of the Keeler Canyon Formation, Inyo County, California; minute tooth-like structures--technically termed denticles (and unrelated to modern jaws)--that helped process food in an extinct lamprey eel-like organism.

  • Corals from the Lower Permian Owens Valley Group, Inyo County, California; solitary rugose types showing the distinctive septa arrangement.
  • Corals from the Lower Permian Owens Valley Group, Inyo County, California; cross-sections of several corals from the Lower Permian Owens Valley Group, Inyo County, California.

  • Fusulinids from the Lower Permian Owens Valley Group, Inyo County, California; natural longitudinal cross-sections of Parafusulina sp. fusulinids.
  • Fusulinid Cross-Section: Close-up of a natural, very detailed cross-section of a silicified Stewartina sp. fusulind from the Lower Permian Owens Valley Group, California; reveals the internal, complex structures to great advantage.
  • Fusulinid Cross-Sections: Schwagerina, Pseudoschwagerina and Parafusulina fusulinids in natural cross-sections from the Lower Permian Owens Valley Group, Inyo County, California.
  • Fusulinid: A rather robust, elongated Eoparafusulinid sp. fusulinid from the Lower Permian Owens Valley Group, Inyo County, California.
  • Fusulinid Cross-Sections: Schwagerina, Skinnerella, and Parashwagerina from the Lower Permian Owens Valley Group, Inyo County, California. Specimens cross-sectioned by paleontologists to assist in fusulinid identifications.

  • Ammonoids from the Lower Triassic Candelaria Formation, Esmeralda County, Nevada. Ambites lilangensis; Proptychites haydeni; and Proptychites pagei.

  • Ammonoids from the Lower Triassic Union Wash Formation, Inyo County, California; two complete Meekoceras gracilitatus ammonoid specimens from the world-famous Meekoceras Beds, Inyo County, California.
  • Ammonoid: A Xenodiscus sp. ammonoid from the world-famous Parapopanoceras Zone in the Lower Triassic Union Wash Formation, Inyo County, California.

  • Camel And Horse Tracks from the Middle Miocene China Ranch Beds, Inyo County, California; an image taken at the Shoshone Museum in Shoshone, California, where the specimens are on display.

  • Horse Tooth from the Upper Miocene Esmeralda Formation, Esmeralda County, Nevada; three different views of a cheek tooth from the extinct grazing horse, Hipparion sp.

  • Fish Skeleton from the Upper Miocene Esmeralda Formation, Esmeralda County, Nevada. A freshwater Chub, called scientifically Gila sp.--a member of the Cyprinidae family (minnows, chubs, European daces, carps, and chars are other representative examples).

  • Petrified Wood from the Upper Miocene Esmeralda Formation, Esmeralda County, Nevada; two chunks of fossil wood showing nice structure.
  • Petrified Wood: two pieces of fossil wood from the famous Upper Miocene Esmeralda Formation, Esmeralda County, Nevada; they show fine structures.
  • Petrified Wood: a chunk of wood from the Upper Miocene Esmeralda Formation, Esmeralda County, Nevada, that reveals striking grain structure.

  • Horse Tooth from the Middle Pliocene Coso Formation, Inyo County, California; a cheek tooth from Equus simplicidens, the so-called Hagerman Horse (named for its spectacular, abundant occurrence at Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument in Idaho), which is the oldest known member of the genus Equus, which includes all modern equids.

  • Ostracods from the Upper Pliocene Waucoba Lake Beds, Inyo County, California; ostracods are a variety of bivalved crustacean.

  • Gastropods from the Upper Pliocene Waucoba Lake Beds, Inyo County, California. Called scientifically, Valvata sincera.

  • Partially articulated camel skeleton from the Lower Pleistocene Tecopa Lake Beds, Inyo County, California. A camel skeleton, excavated by vertebrate paleontologists, still in its plaster field jacket. Called scientifically, Capricamelus gettyi.

  • Mammoth Jaw And Tooth (Mammuthus sp.) from the Lower Pleistocene Tecopa Lake Beds, Inyo County, California; an image taken at the Shoshone Museum in Shoshone, California, where the specimens are on display.

  • Fish pharyngeal arch with teeth from the Upper Pleistocene Owens Lake Clay, Inyo County, California. A fish pharyngeal arch with teeth assigned to the genus Catostomus--probably closely related to the living Owens Sucker, Catostomus fumeiventris.

  • Fish pharyngeal arches with teeth from the Upper Pleistocene China Lake Beds, Inyo County, California. Specimens of fish pharyngeal arches with teeth assigned to the genus Siphateles--probably closely related to the living Lahontan Lake tui chub, Siphateles bicolor.

Images: Death Valley National Park

 Zabriskie Point Scotty's Castle  Ubehebe Crater 

Trail To Titus Canyon  Artists Drive  20 Mule Team Canyon

Texas Spring Campground   Death Valley Museum The Panamint Range 

Feral Burros   Mesquite Spring Campground Teakettle Junction 

 Death Valley Entrance Jubilee Pass  Near Ashford Mill 

 A Mechanical Failure Trail Canyon A Saline Valley Vista 

Mormon Point   Views From Badwater Amargosa Range 

Furnace Creek Inn  Sunset Campground   Pyramid Peak

 View From Furnace Creek  Along Boundary Canyon Corkscrew Peak 

Corkscrew Peak  The Sand Dunes   Stovepipe Wells Campground

 Emigrant Junction View  Panamint Valley  Panamint Springs Resort

DV Entrance: Saline Valley Rd.  Father Crowley Point Grapevine Canyon 

 Echo Canyon Mustard Canyon   Panamint Range From Resort

 Salt Creek And Pupfish  Panamint Range From DV Floor  Townes Pass

 Aguereberry Point  Dante's View Petroglyph Canyon 

 Aguereberry Point Dante's View  Petroglyph Canyon 

 Johnson Canyon  Telescope Peak Rogers Lake Beds 

 Funeral Mountains Argus Range  Emigrant Pass 

 Wildrose Ranger Station  Wildrose Campground Wildrose Charcoal Kilns 

 Skidoo Pipeline  Skidoo Ghost Town Site  Driving In DV Rain

Images: Wildflowers In Death Valley National Park

Desert Mallow  Yellow Cups  Lupine 

Fremont Phacelia  California Tickseed Giant 4 O'clock 

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My Virtual Field Trips

Fossil-Bearing Areas Of Interest

The Field Trips

  • 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 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 The Sharktooth Hill Bone Bed, 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 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 Field In Kings County, 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 At Aldrich Hill, 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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, 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 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.
  • 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: 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.
  • 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: 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 Brachiopods Of Mine: Images of several fossil brachiopods I have collected over the years from Paleozoic, Mesozoic and Cenozoic-age rocks.
  • 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.

Visit The California Geological Survey for more virtual field trips specific to California

My Music Pages

In addition to my Web pages pertaining to matters paleontological and geological, I also have some sites up and running that feature my acoustic 6 and 12-string guitar playing.

For an all-text page that includes all 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." All free music.

My Cyber-CDs:

Jump on over to The Acoustic Guitar Solitaire Of Inyo--A Cyber-CD for 30 covers of some of my favorite songs--all played on a 1976 Martin D-35 guitar. It's all free music.

For 32 mp3 selections of original compositions and covers of some of my favorite songs--all played on a 1970 Stella 12-string guitar, a 1976 Martin D-35 guitar and a 1998 Sigma DMISTCE guitar, head on over to Beyond The Timberline--A Cyber-CD. It's all free music.

At The Distant Path--A Cyber CD listen to me play 32 covers of some of my favorite songs, plus original compositions, on a 1976 Martin D-35, a 1998 Sigma DMISTCE 6-string guitar and a 1970 Stella 12-string guitar. All free music.

Go to Acoustic Stratigraphy--A Cyber-CD to listen to me play 34 covers of some of my favorite songs on acoustic 6 and 12-string guitars. 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.

And then there's Inyo 7--A Cyber CD--Listen to me play 30 covers of some of my favorite songs, plus originals (all free music).

And: 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. All free music.

Family Music:

Over at Inyo And Folks--A Musical History: A Cyber-CD I've created a page that features 37 representative songs I recorded with my parents during "The Golden Age" of our occasional impromptu, spontaneous, music sessions--from 1975 to 1992. All played on acoustic 6 and 12-string guitars, banjo, kazoo, and tambourine. All free music.

Music From Year 1967:

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.