Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Ashall Fossil Beds - a National Natural Landmark

Today we headed out to see Ashfall Fossil Beds near Royal, Nebraska.  We had visited the Mammoth Site of Hot Springs, South Dakota and really enjoyed it so we thought we would check this site out.  What we decided is that if we had to visit just one of these, we would go for the Mammoth Site in Hot Springs just because it has been in existence a lot longer so there has been more progress digging fossils.  There was just more to see there.  

The following is an excerpt from the website for the Ashfall Fossil Beds:

"About 12 million years ago, a volcano in southwest Idaho spread a blanket of ash over a very large area. One or two feet of this powdered glass covered the flat savannah-like grasslands of northeastern Nebraska. The volcanic eruption was 200 times the ashfall from Mount St. Helen's. It would take a pickup truck 165,000 trips to empty all of the ash from the park alone. 
Most of the animals which lived here survived the actual ash fall, but as they continued to graze on the ash covered grasses, their lungs began to fill up with the abrasive powder. Soon their lungs became severely damaged and they began to die.

Undisturbed except by an occasional scavenging meat-eater, the skeletons of these animals are preserved in their death positions, complete with evidence of their last meals in their mouths and stomachs and their last steps preserved in the sandstone below."

 The Visitor Center
 The Rhino Barn

This shows why the barn was placed where it is to protect the diggings - unfortunately, it isn't air conditioned!

They have worked on this fossil for several weeks and have several weeks to go yet. It is very time consuming and delicate work 

From what I can tell, Nessie could be a reality! Check this out:

 Here are her neck bones

 More relics from the sea

                                     The watering hole

 With a blast that was many many times larger than when Mount St Helen blew 

 This is some of the ash beds that are outside  

 The first one they dug is is in the distance 

 Here are the trenches inside the Rhino barn  

 Some workers seeing what they can uncover

Here are some pictures of animals that are now extinct!

 More ash beds outside the barn with some fossils found

                              A live critter among the fossils!

For more information on the Ashfall Fossil Site, click on this link:

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