Monday, December 21, 2015

Geology of the National Parks in Pictures - Hagerman Fossil Beds

The next up on my Tour of the Geology of the National Parks in pictures is:


As we continued our tour through southern Idaho, I really wanted to visit Hagerman, not the least because I am a paleontologist. Well, let me just get this out of the way first off, I saw no fossil localities, unlike at Dinosaur NM or Fossil Butte NM. This is more of a preserve to protect the fossils but they don't have the infrastructure (yet?) to allow the public access to see the actual dig sites. Hopefully that will come along sometime in the future. But as a paleontological National Park, this is the weakest one I have been to.

Me and my Gummy Bear doing our sign thing

 When we were planning on going to the park, I read everywhere that we had to go to the Visitor's Center first. Well this is the first thing that we noticed upon walking up to the door.


So as most any paleontologist is wont to do, we started digging to see what we could find.

Inside they also had a nice display full of fossils and other geological specimens for the kids to play with and analyze.

And they also had some of the more common mammal fossils.

Along with fossils found within the park too, like this lovely horse.

 And some elephantine specimens


After leaving the Visitor's Center there is one road with a couple of view spot's along it. This one describes the changing landscape from the Pliocene, when the fossils are from, to today.

There are also remnants of the Oregon Trail, as see here with the trail ruts.

And here you can see them really well on the left side of the photo where the road bends. 

The Snake River Plain, where Hagerman is located, is known for it's volcanic landscape. As the North American Plate traveled westward, the plate was dragged across the Yellowstone Hot Spot. The hot spot melted a swath through the Idaho countryside that left a significant mark on the landscape. The remnants of the old shield volcanoes and lava flows are pervasive throughout the region, as is described in this display.

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