GSA Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, USA - 2019

Paper No. 229-4
Presentation Time: 2:30 PM


HERTFELDER, Susan and EICHENBERG, Erin, Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument, 601 Nevada Way, Boulder City, NV 89005

Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument (TUSK) was created in 2014 to preserve and protect a diverse fossil assemblage from the upper Las Vegas Wash (ULVW) in Clark County, Nevada. The Late Pleistocene Las Vegas Formation is the fossil-bearing geologic formation within TUSK and is exposed as a series of dissected and weathered deposits that form badlands topography. A diverse vertebrate fauna has been identified from deposits within TUSK that range from ~100 – 12.5 ka. Fossils have been collected from the Las Vegas Formation sporadically from 1903 to the 1990s by numerous institutions, then systematically from 2001 to 2014 by the San Bernardino County Museum (SBCM) for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

We conducted condition assessments and collected geological data for new and previously discovered localities from February – July (2018). The GPS coordinates were available for the majority of the previously documented localities, but we collected additional geospatial data including mapping the extent of the fossil resources at each locality (to create locality polygons in ArcGIS), the locations of individual fossils within the locality boundary, and establishing photograph points for repeat photography. During this inventory we documented over 650 existing and new fossil localities within TUSK.

We have established a preliminary protocol for determining the monitoring priority and recommended monitoring frequency for each locality, following the vital signs outlined by Santucci et al., 2009. The completed results of this project will include monitoring and condition forms for each locality, a working Access database to be used for fossil resource management and monitoring, established points for repeat photography, and maps for localities with multiple in situ specimens. This project aims to create a framework for establishing a robust fossil monitoring program at TUSK, compile all relevant fossil resource data into a working database for resource management and paleontological research, and to protect the paleontological resources while TUSK becomes a developed and established monument.