These Are Some of the Weirdest Ways Paleontologists Find Fossils

You can’t find a fossil without breaking a few rocks. In the case of a tiny crocodile called Hoplosuchus, that involved some dynamite.


The Event that Wiped out Dinosaurs Also Nearly Did in the Mammals

About 65 million years ago the Cretaceous era came to a dramatic end when a huge asteroid slammed into the Earth and likely jump started the mass extinction that wiped out the dinosaurs. In the wake of such devastation, plucky mammals in their underground burrows survived and eventually rose to the prominence they enjoy today.


Nature up close: Monument Valley

Monument Valley is probably best known to many Americans from having been seen in more Western movies than any other location in the U.S. Most visitors to Monument Valley are immediately taken back to old John Ford films, including “The Searchers,” “Stagecoach,” and “She Wore a Yellow Ribbon.”


Interact with Paleontologists at Cleveland Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry This Week

The Bureau of Land Management Price Field Office is offering a special opportunity for young scientists and their families to interact with professional paleontologists at work in the Cleveland-Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry.


POTD June 21, 2016: Newfoundland Mountains, Box Elder County, Utah

Newfoundland Mountains, Utah

Newfoundland Mountains, Box Elder County, Utah
Photographer: Adam Hiscock

Ordovician-age Eureka Quartzite at the top of Desert Peak contrasting with dark colored shale and carbonate rocks of the southern Newfoundland Mountains.

What Killed the Dinosaurs in Utah’s Giant Jurassic Death Pit?

Utah is dinosaur country—so much so that the state has a scenic byway system called the Dinosaur Diamond that connects ancient final resting places across the desert. But among the sites holding preserved tracks and dusty fossils, one boneyard stands out as a 148-million-year-old mystery: the Cleveland-Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry.


Here’s What Happened the Day the Dinosaurs Died

Imagine sunrise on the last day of the Mesozoic era, 66 million years ago. Shafts of sunlight rake through the swamps and coniferous forests along the coast of what is now Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula. The blood-warm seas of the Gulf of Mexico teem with life.


B-136 Insert

Paleozoic Shale-Gas Resources of the Colorado Plateau and Eastern Great Basin, Utah: Multiple Frontier Exploration Opportunities

B-136 Insert

By: Thomas C. Chidsey, Jr.

This report (241 pages of text, 187 figures, 30 tables, and 21 appendices) presents the shale-gas potential of the Mississippian-Pennsylvanian Manning Canyon Shale/Doughnut Formation and the Pennsylvanian Paradox Formation (Chimney Rock, Gothic, and Hovenweep shales) of central and southeastern Utah, respectively. Shale beds within these formations are widespread, thick, buried deep enough to generate dry gas (or oil in some areas of the Paradox Basin), and sufficiently rich in organic material and fractures to hold significant recoverable gas reserves. This study provides a detailed evaluation of these potential shale-gas reservoirs including (1) drilling history, (2) identification and mapping/ correlating the major shale intervals, (3) characterization of the geologic, petrographic, geochemical, and petrophysical rock properties of those reservoirs from cores, (4) burial histories and organic maturation models, and (5) descriptions of outcrop analogs. Collectively, this study delineates the areas with the greatest gas potential (“sweet spots”) and offers recommendations for the best completion practices to develop these targeted shale-gas reservoirs.


The Dinosaur Fossil Bubble Has Popped and Natural History Museums Are Pumped

Late last month, a nearly complete mounted Stegosaurus skeleton was put up for auction in Germany. The piece was a showstopper, valued at $2.7 million and described as the most complete skeleton of its species ever assembled. And even then, there was more, because the fossils showed battle wounds proving the beast had used its tail to successfully defend itself against a predator. Not only was this a Stegosaurus, it was a battle-hardened one.