Following the footsteps of early researchers


GERING, Neb. – As time goes by, changes occur in the landscape. That is especially true when dealing with material as soft as the rock layers of
Scotts Bluff.
Before the advent of detailed topographic maps, GPS machines, and GIS technology, the only way the location of a fossil could be recorded in detail was either by making sketches or taking photographs.  With Kathy Brill and Justin Little, Dr. Emmett Evanoff, Associate Professor of Geology at the University of Northern Colorado, have been finding fossil localities using historic photos and sketches. Researching locations in Badlands National Park and Scotts Bluff National Monument, the crew takes printed copies of the sketches and photos then hike to areas where the images were taken.  They match, as closely as they can, the background and foreground features on the images to features seen in the field. Differences between the original sketches and photographs and the modern images include changes from erosional and depositional events, changes in vegetation, and changes caused by road construction over the past 90+ years.
Join Dr. Evanoff in the monument visitor center on Saturday, July 1 at 3:00 pm where he will reveal the steps his team took to rediscover old fossil locations. “Following the Footsteps of Early Paleontologists and Geologists in Badlands National Park and Scotts Bluff National Monument” will take the audience back in time to see what the two parks looked like before the hand of man impacted them and compare them to today.
The Scotts Bluff National Monument Visitor Center is open daily 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. The Summit Road is open 8 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
The monument grounds are open sunrise to sunset.

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