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eprobe

Fossils Along I-80

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eprobe

I am a truck driver who drives loads daily from Salt Lake City to Rawlins or Wamsutter on I-80. I'd like to bring a few fossils back home for my kid who is just learning about dinosaurs. Maybe a trilobite or fossil fish or shark tooth. It's all cool to a 7 year-old. I've searched rocks in just about every exit between the state line and Rawlins and the only thing I found was a leaf impression just west of Rawlins. Rock it was contained in was too big to bring back. Does anyone have any tips for finding fossils along 80? There should be billions of them! Thanks!

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jpc

There are indeed billions of them, but getting to legally collectible ones with an 18 wheeler might be interesting. The most famous one is the Wamsutter Turritella agate. It is about a half hour by Subaru south of I-80. There are fossil leaves on the south side of the interstate at the Bitter Creek exit. The road passes under i-80 then curves sharply to the west. There is a little parking lot there and a few rocks on the edge of that parking lot. Many of these have leaves in them. I wonder if this is the same place you found.

You will have a hard time finding dinosaurs along this stretch, and even harder is getting the permission to collect them. Most of SW WY is Eocene rocks... 10 million years too late for dinos. And a lot of it is BLM land. It is illegal to collect vertebrate fossils (including shark teeth) on BLM lands, so you gotta know where you are AND have permission. The Turritella site is BLM land, but they are invertebrates so you can collect there.

I cannot emphasize enough the permission thing. I have spent much energy getting permission from private landowners and have built good relations with many. I have also talked to others who won't even talk to fossil hunters because some moron ten years ago trespassed on his land to find fossils.

Here is a fun idea...The fossil fish sites are all north of the interstate near Kemmerer. There are a few quarries there that you can pay to dig and collect a bunch of fish. Easy weekend trip for you and the boy. They do allow kids. You and your son will get dirty and find fossils and have a great time. They won't open until the snow melts sometime in April or may. Have fun.

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eprobe

Thanks jpc - Leaves would be perfect. I will check out the Bitter Creek exit. Might have time to check out the Turitella Agate but don't want to trespass. As for fish - I've heard there are some around Green River but none of the rocks I've turned over have had any imprints. Now, dinosaurs - don't thinks so just yet! I'll start small.

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jpc

Thanks jpc - Leaves would be perfect. I will check out the Bitter Creek exit. Might have time to check out the Turitella Agate but don't want to trespass. As for fish - I've heard there are some around Green River but none of the rocks I've turned over have had any imprints. Now, dinosaurs - don't thinks so just yet! I'll start small.

I think the leaves are on the right of way for the road/parking lot. The turritella agate is on BLM and, so if you can find the directions (Rockhounding Guide to Wyoming... Falcon Press) collecting there is fully legal.

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eprobe

Kicked around south side of Bitter Creek exit but no imprints of leaves. In fact, few rocks. Prairie at that exit. I'll try to track down turritella agate but not sure a truck could get to the site.

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Micah

I happened across this post and poked around a little myself. I did find a leaf imprint after a few minutes and would have looked around a bit more, but had to continue down the road. I’ll be posting a pic on the help identifying page sometime soon. Leaves are not my forte...

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Micah

This is the leaf. I have done zero research on it and will repost it in the identification forum later.

552DF28E-D6F3-4C9A-B369-8170C97BB925.jpeg

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