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scragry

Does anyone know locations to find fossils in southern california

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scragry

Hi

Just wondering but does anyone know any fossil sites in Southern California (mainly in the Los Angeles area), I have been searching for fossil sites for a while now but I wanted to know if anyone on here has had success on any of the fossil sites.

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Macrophyseter

What do you know, I live in the city right below yours! :popcorn:

 

Unfortunately, that same question is one I have been trying to solve for a long time. As far as I know, the sheer amount of urbanization in most of Los Angeles makes personal finding of fossils virtually implausible in such areas. So if you really must hunt locally, the best bet is to search for pockets of land that have remained natural and untouched, also having the desired geological formation (Also be careful about land that is designated as a protected preserves/reserves.).

 

Palos Verdes in my opinion may be the best local spot to find any fossils at all. Much of Palos Verdes is made up of the Altamira Shale sublayer of a Monterey Formation outcrop, and so will hold plenty of Miocene marine fossils. The sea terraces that shape the peninsula allowed large pockets of natural land to remain untouched, so a lot of natural rock still remain exposed. Unfortunately, much of what is left of natural land here has been designated as preserves, and so may not be legally desirable to dig in. (Still, I hear that people still are allowed to pick some fossils in certain lands like Forrestal, but the general public are discouraged from doing so via signs claiming that it is prohibited.) Nevertheless, there are pockets of natural land that are unprotected and may be perfect for fossil hunting, which are mostly around the far western and northern beaches (Lunada Bay, Bluff Cove). I'm not an expert on anything regarding exact local hunting locations as I myself am trying to find such.

When searching for potential hunting sites, I usually use Google Maps and this map to look for natural shale outcrops outside preserves (May not be the best method, but is still a method).

 

If you don't want to deal with all of this mess, you'll have to drive at least 2 hours away. The best nearby spot would be the Kern River Valley (aka Sharktooth Hill) outside Bakersfield. The northern section is private property, but hosts a pay-to-dig known as Ernst Quarries (the prices have been rising these days though. I have heard that there is another popular place in Sharktooth Hill that is not privately owned known as Ant Hill, but I've never been there. Maybe Doren (caldigger) can help on that, as he regularly digs there). There is also Jalama Beach near Santa Barbara, which also contains a Monterey Formation outcrop. Here, fossil fish skeletons can be found.

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KimTexan

A couple months ago a guy posted a cetacean vertebra on the Facebook version of TFF which he claimed he found up in the mountains of San Diego county I think near Julian. It was debated whether it was a fossil or not. The guy said he found it weathering out of a hillside. Fossil or not I haven’t seen any whales up in the mountains so I tend to think it must be a fossil. I can’t imagine how a modern one got transported up there and just left by someone out on a hillside. I guess modern is relative to some degree.

someone posted this in the post.

http://articles.latimes.com/1987-06-28/local/me-245_1_san-diego-zoo

It is an article about fossils in San Diego county in the Anza Borrego Desert.

 

Hope that can be of some help.

 

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Fruitbat

Back in the mid-1980s, I spent a year in the Northridge area. I didn't have very much time for fossil exploration back then but I did make a few forays in the general Los Angeles area to see what I could find.  I didn't have a whole lot of luck but I did find a few bits and pieces of terrestrial mammal fossils (and quite a few interesting but quite alive trapdoor spiders) in the Mint Canyon area.  I also went out into the Fillmore/Santa Paula area in Ventura county to wander around in the Las Posas hills but, unfortunately, I didn't find anything worth collecting but the sediments sure looked promising! Of course, Los Angeles DOES have one fantastic fossil site but I think the folks at the La Brea Tar Pits might get a little angry if they caught you out there pulling Smilodon skulls out of the asphalt! :rofl:

 

I'm including a LINK to the California section of my pdf library here on The Fossil Forum.  You might find one or two articles that will point you in some promising directions.

 

-Joe

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