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Happy National Fossil Day!

Happy National Fossil Day!
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Happy National Fossil Day!

Today (October 17, 2012) is National Fossil Day, hosted by the National Park Service and the American Geological Institute. It is part of Earth Science Week (Happy Earth Science Week!).

In celebration of National Fossil Day, below are some photos of fossils.

Really Old Algae Fossils: Stromatolites

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Kootenai Falls Stromatolites by Shari Maria Silverman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.Kootenai Falls Stromatolites The swirly-patterned rocks in the foreground of Kootenai Falls are stromatolites. They date between 2.5 billion and 600 million years ago. Stromatolites are blue-green algae, which are some of the oldest life known on earth. They lived in a shallow sea.

Fossil Sedimentary Structures: Ripples and Mudcracks

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Ripple Marks by Kootenai Falls by Shari Maria Silverman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.Ripple Marks by Kootenai Falls These ripple marks by Kootenai Falls (near Troy, Montana) formed with the slow movement of the shallow sea that covered the area over a billion years ago.

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Ripples by Shari Maria Silverman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. Whereas the previous photo shows ripples with elongated patterns, these ripples are orbs and valleys. They are cross-ripples. Cross-ripples form when the water flows in two directions, sometimes almost perpendicular. This is quite common. You’d think it would form a square mound with criss-cross valleys. However, the sharp edges of the mound erode, transforming the raised areas into dome shapes.

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Mudcracks by Kootenai Falls by Shari Maria Silv is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.Mudcracks by Kootenai Falls These mudcracks near the top ripple marks at Kootenai Falls also formed over a billion years ago. They form when water is exposed to air and allowed to dry and harden. The soil shrinks due to lack of water. It forms the cracks as mud pulls away from other clumps of mud.

Fossil Plants

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Chuckanut Fossils by Shari Maria Silverman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.Chuckanut Fossils These leaves fell into the mud near what is now Bellingham, Washington about 55 million years ago. Their source plants lived in a more tropical landscape, one that included palm trees.

Fossil Fish

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Salmon Fossil by Shari Maria Silverman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.Salmon Fossil Salmon Fossil

Need More About National Fossil Day?

To learn more about National Fossil Day, events, and places where you can visit fossils near you, visit the National Fossil Day homepage at http://nature.nps.gov/geology/nationalfossilday/.

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Happy National Fossil Day! is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.


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