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Chuckanut Drive Eocene Fossils near Bellingham, Washington

Chuckanut Drive Eocene Fossils near Bellingham, Washington
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Chuckanut Fossils

Chuckanut Fossils

Last winter, some friends of mine and I were working a little south of Bellingham, Washington. One of them is a rockhound, and knows all the great rocks, including fossils, and beautiful spots to observe them. One fossil spot featuring tropical plants was along Chuckanut Drive, which traverses the west side of Puget Sound between Sedro Woolley and Bellingham, Washington.

Chuckanut Drive is beautiful in its own right, particularly when the weather is perfect. It is a narrow, meandering, mountain road with a fabulous, yet a little too close for my taste, view of the Sound. Pull-offs and trails to the water abound all along the travelway.

My rockhound friend/co-worker led us along one such trail after our job was over. It was great. There were palm trees, ferns, and all sorts of other types of leaves, stems and seeds embedded in numerous, thin layers of mud transformed into rock. The photograph at the top depicts a boulder with numerous leaves. The rock rests by the railroad tracks. It looks like it serves as rip rap.

The leaves and other debris fell into the mud during the Eocene Epoch, approximately 55 million years ago. Back then, the area was tropical. While the road meanders precariously along a cliff overlooking a large body of water now, back then the region was a myriad of floodplains and riverbanks. The mud layers of the rivers trapped the deadfall (Bronlea 2008).

Eocene Post

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Reference

Bronlea (Blog Post Name)

2008   Chuckanut Drive Fossils Reveal Tropical Past. In WSDOTBlog: Washington State Department of Transportation. Electronic document posted November 18, 2008, http://wsdotblog.blogspot.com/2008/11/chuckanut-drive-fossils-reveal-tropical.html, accessed July 7, 2011.

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Chuckanut Fossils by Shari Maria Silverman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.


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