Dig Your Own Fossils at These Quarries



People knew about fossils since the time of Herodotus, but it was only in the late 18th and early 19th century, when the importance of fossils to geology and biology was understood, that fossil hunting emerged as a serious hobby and science. Today, there are hundreds —maybe even thousands— of sites where fossils have been found. Some sites are protected where you can look but can’t remove the fossils. Others are in the wild that are still actively pursued by fossil hunters both professionals and amateurs. Some fossil sites are in private land and have been turned into “fossil quarries” where anybody can hunt for fossils by paying a small fee. Such places are great for families, kids and people who’ve never collected fossils before. You are supplied with tools, guidance, and plenty of rocks to split and keep everything you find.


Fossil of a trilobite found at U-Dig Trilobite Quarry. Photo credit: Paololitico F/Panoramio

Some of the most popular pay-to-dig fossil sites are:

U-Dig Fossils near Delta, Utah, contains one of the most richest deposits of trilobites. These animals appeared during the Early Cambrian period (521 million years ago), flourished throughout the lower Paleozoic era and finally disappeared in the mass extinction at the end of the Permian about 250 million years ago. The fossils at U-Dig Fossils are about an inch to tow in length. Occasionally visitors stumble upon rare species worth thousands of dollars.

Warfield Fossil Quarries are located near Kemmerer, Wyoming, and is one of the many quarries in Wyoming. The quarry is located within the Green River Formation in an area known as Fossil Lake because of its abundance of fish fossils that are exceptionally well preserved. These fossils are between 40-60 million years old.

Blue Moon Quarry is also located near Kemmerer. The quarry is located much closer to the shore line of Fossil Lake due to which it yields many fossil plant material and insects in addition to the fish that’s normally found in this area.

Tynsky's Fossil Fish is yet another fossil quarry in Kemmerer. Common fossils found at this quarry include Diplomystus and Priscacara. Crocodile, turtle and stingray fossils can also be found here.

Quarry Hill Park in Rochester, Southeastern Minnesota, operates two limestone quarries where visitors can dig for fossils and keep what they find. This area was covered by a large ocean some 450 million years ago. Commonly found fossils here include Brachiopods, Trilobites, Cephalopods and Gastropods.

Mineral Wells Fossil Park is located outside of Mineral Wells, Texas. Visitors to the Fossil Park can find remnants of marine life from the Pennsylvanian Period, about 330 million years ago. The most common fossils found here are crinoid (sea lilies), echinoids (urchins), brachiopods, pelecypods (clams and oysters), bryozoans, corals, trilobites (arthropods), plants and even primitive sharks.


Photo credit: www.fossilera.com


The U-Dig Trilobite Quarry. Photo credit: Paololitico F/Panoramio


A young girl digs for fossils at Mineral Wells Fossil Park. Photo credit: www.visitmineralwells.org


Visitors dig for fossils at Mineral Wells Fossil Park. Photo credit: www.visitmineralwells.org


Visitors dig for fossils at Mineral Wells Fossil Park. Photo credit: www.visitmineralwells.org

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  1. wow ... it turns out useful addition to knowledge, fossil hunting activities can also for family recreation. Good work friend

  2. You missed Penn Dixie Paleontological and Outdoor Education Center near Buffalo, NY (http://www.penndixie.org).


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