Along The Road To Titus Canyon  

Colorful outcrops of the Middle Oligocene Titus Canyon Formation near Leadfield ghost town.  In 1933, paleontologists discovered many fossil mammalian remains in the Titus Canyon, including a huge titantothere, oreodonts, tapirs, squirrels, dogs, camels and horses. The bones occur in the lower portions of the terrestrial, land-laid deposit, primarily in an interval of reddish conglomeratic mudstone about 100 feet thick, roughly 500 feet above the base of the formation.  In the vicinity of Leadfield, the Titus Canyon Formation reaches a thickness of roughly 7,000 feet, consisting of varicolored quartzite conglomerate, sandstone, calcareous mudstone, algal limestone and tuffaceous sandstone.  Although much of the deposit is clearly of fluviatile deposition,  the fine-grained mudstones and algal limestone certainly suggest much calmer lacustrine conditions. During Middle Oligocene times, the vast, arid Death Valley region was a lush landscape of luxuriant vegetation, well-watered, and thriving with many kinds of exotic, extinct mammals.

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