Breathtaking Geological Formations Showcase a Window into America’s Past
Winter freezing and springtime thawing cause the rock of Fossil Butte to fracture, revealing the fossils trapped with the stone. Photo Credit: National Park Service
By Stephanie Dar
Fossil Butte National Monument Visitor Center, located approximately 15 miles west of Kemmerer, Wyoming, is home to a variety of plant, bird, insect and amphibian fossils from the Green River Formation. On Friday and Saturday afternoons, patrons can visit the fossil quarry with a park ranger to learn how paleontologists diligently discover and then unearth these well-preserved fossils from the Eocene Epoch. All of the fossils on display at the visitor center are over 50 million years old.
A well-preserved prehistoric fossil of an unidentified turtle on display at the Visitor’s Center. Photo Credit: National Park Service
Each summer, lab personnel painstakingly work to prepare the fossils that have been discovered within the limestone layers of the picturesque southwestern Wyoming ridges. Preparing each fossil requires a steady hand; applying too much pressure or an accidental slip could easily destroy a day’s work.
Paleontologists and artists then work hand in hand in attempts to recreate the historical landscapes based on the clues provided by fossils they have uncovered.
An unnamed artist’s representation of the prehistoric landscape developed using the fossilized remains found in Fossil Butte. Photo Credit: Author’s Own
Visitors may also indulge in a hike along one of the informational nature trails or take a scenic drive around the park. The views from the top of the butte are picturesque and provide breathtaking photo opportunities.
Learn more aboutFossil Butte National Monument and plan your visit here.