GSA Annual Meeting in Denver, Colorado, USA - 2016

Paper No. 182-5
Presentation Time: 9:05 AM


PEARSON, Lillian K., University of California Museum of Paleontology, University of California, Berkeley, 1101 Valley Life Sciences Bldg, Berkeley, CA 94720; Point Reyes National Seashore, National Park Service, 1 Bear Valley Rd, Point Reyes Station, CA 94956, CLITES, Erica C., University of California Museum of Paleontology, 1101 Valley Life Sciences Building, Berkeley, CA 94720-4780, SANTUCCI, Vincent L., Geologic Resources Division, National Park Service, Washington, DC 20005 and BOESSENECKER, Robert W., Geology Department, College of Charleston, Charleston, SC 29424,

Recent collaboration between the National Park Service, the Geological Society of America and the University of California Museum of Paleontology has culminated in the development of a Paleontological Resource Site Monitoring Program at Point Reyes National Seashore. The geologic units at Point Reyes National Seashore include several Miocene and Pliocene marine sediments (Monterey Formation, Santa Margarita Sandstone, Santa Cruz Mudstone, Purisima Formation). Point Reyes National Seashore contains rich and significant marine vertebrate, invertebrate and trace fossil localities in Northern California and offers valuable opportunities for scientific research and public education. The majority of the fossiliferous outcrops occur along the Pacific coastline and are vulnerable to natural processes and/or human disturbance. Future climate change-induced sea level rise, and an increase in the frequency and intensity of storm events, will likely accelerate erosion of the fossiliferous exposures. Published earlier this year, the report provides a protocol used by the National Park Service for monitoring the paleontological resources in coastal areas. The published protocol additionally compiles an inventory of paleontological resource localities and evaluates fossiliferous formations within the park boundaries. During my seven-month internship in 2015, I documented more than 140 paleontological sites and selected eighteen localities as candidates for paleontological resource monitoring in addition to assessing natural and human impacts and developing the protocol. The paleontological localities selected are representative of the most significant and abundant fossils within the park that are vulnerable to natural processes and / or human disturbances. The monitoring methodology will document long-term changes in the condition and stability of paleontological resources and provide a scientific basis for mitigation strategies.