Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument
Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument is located in a mountain valley just west of Pikes Peak and holds spectacular remnants of the earth's prehistoric life. Huge petrified redwoods and incredibly detailed fossils of ancient insects and plants reveal a very different Colorado of long ago. Almost 35 million years ago, enormous volcanic eruptions buried the then-lush valley and petrified the redwood trees that grew there (See Thirtynine Mile volcanic field). A lake formed in the valley and the fine-grained sediments at its bottom became the final resting-place for thousands of insects and plants. These sediments compacted into layers of shale and preserved the delicate details of these organisms as fossils. The Florissant Fossil Beds were set aside as a part of our National Park System in 1969.
"When the mountains are overthrown and the seas uplifted, the universe at Florissant flings itself against a gnat and preserves it."-- Dr. Arthur C. Peale, Hayden Expedition Geologist, 1873.
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