Team Jurassic Utah on the Ranch

Santa Clara, Utah — We were fortunate today to work on the land of Eagle Mountain Ranch just north of Gunlock, Utah. The owners, Hyrum and Gail Smith, met us in the morning in their gorgeous ranch home (shown most effectively in this flyover video) and generously gave us permission to explore the Carmel Formation on their extensive properties. The above outcrop of Carmel Formation topped by the Iron Springs Formation is the most dramatic exposure. We spent most of our time on it. (Preliminary location tag EMR.)

This is a screen capture from the video describing the Eagle Mountain Ranch. Spectacular, and they have Airbnb accommodations! The white rocks in the upper left are Carmel.

Gail Smith guided us on the ranch roads to reach our outcrops. Very kind of her.

Galen at work chipping away at fossils on Eagle Mountain Ranch Cliff, as we call it. Photo by Nick.

This location has fantastic ooids which weather in slight relief, producing these exquisite bedding plane slabs.

The trace fossils here stand out with their granular surfaces of ooids. This is the bottom of the bed, thus hyporelief.

Ethan found this example of Lockeia, a bivalve escape trace, preserved again as convex hyporelief (on the bottom of the bed). This specimen is cool because it is festooned with the star-shaped colmnals of Isocrinus.

We found this hardground at the Eagle Mountain Ranch Cliff locality. The whitish encrusters are the bivalves Plicatula.

Twisty wormtubes are common on bivalve shell fragments. I don’t think these have been described.

This is one of the few places where the actual contact between the Carmel Formation (Middle Jurassic) and Iron Springs Formation (Late Cretaceous) is visible. It is a disconformity with a considerable hiatus (interval of time not recorded, up to 100 million years in this case).

Team Jurassic Utah walking back to the vehicle, with the white Carmel Formation in the background. It was a good day thanks to ranch owners Hyrum and Gail Smith. (Photo by Nick.)

Tomorrow the students begin their individual projects!

About Mark Wilson

Mark Wilson is a Professor of Geology at The College of Wooster. He specializes in invertebrate paleontology, carbonate sedimentology, and stratigraphy. He also is an expert on pseudoscience, especially creationism.
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