Back to the Eagle Mountain Ranch and its magnificent exposures

One of my favorite Jurassic outcrops in all the world is found on the Eagle Mountain Ranch north of Gunlock, Utah (locality C/W-142; EMR). It has an exposure of the Carmel Formation with the perfect orientation to produce fossils weathered out of the matrix, yet not dissolved. We met the new owners of the ranch, Layne and Betsy Bangerter, who could not have been more friendly and accommodating. It was also a beautiful, cool day. Nick took the above image during lunch.

The main task we had today was collect trace fossil data and specimens for Vicky’s Senior Independent Study project. The star was the common Gyrochorte, of course.

This large trace fossil, with its two lobes of curved spreiten (essentially internal laminae) confuses me. I’ll have to spend some time thinking about it before hazarding an identification.

We found a couple of these odd gouges along bedding planes. I like to think they represent ichthyosaurs running their snouts through the sediment. (I have zero evidence for this interpretation.)

We found many other fossils as well, including a rare coral (good work, Lucie) and nicely-bored bivalves.

Tomorrow we return and dig (literally) into the lower part of the member for Lucie’s project. Here we see it nicely exposed along a cutbank of the Santa Clara River. (The water level is so low we can’t see it from here.)

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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