Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument

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Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument
Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument is a national monument noted for its fossils in Teller County, Colorado, United States. It is located in a mountain valley just west of Pikes Peak and holds spectacular remnants of prehistoric life. The fossils are contained in the Florissant Formation of Eocene age. Huge petrified redwoods and very detailed fossils of ancient insects and plants reveal a very different landscape in Paleogene Colorado. Almost 35 million years ago, enormous volcanic eruptions" now designated the Thirtynine Mile volcanic area" buried the then-lush valley and petrified the redwood trees that grew there. 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 anoxic sediments compacted into layers of shale and preserved the delicate details of these organisms as fossils. Many of the Florissant Formation insect species were described by the entomologist Theodore Cockerell. The Florissant Fossil Beds were set aside as a part of the 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. The fossil beds take their name from the nearby town of Florissant, Colorado. Florissant means "flowering" in French. The visitor center features exhibits about the park's geology and fossils, as well as a video about the site.

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