Joint 118th Annual Cordilleran/72nd Annual Rocky Mountain Section Meeting - 2022

Paper No. 22-6
Presentation Time: 8:30 AM-6:00 PM


BONDE, Aubrey, Department of Geoscience, University of Nevada Las Vegas, Las Vegas, NV 89154 and EICHENBERG, Erin, Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument, National Park Service, 601 Nevada Way, Boulder City, NV 89005

Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument (TUSK) was established as a National Park Service unit in December 2014 in recognition of the vast amount of fossil resources preserved within the beds of the late Pleistocene Las Vegas Formation. TUSK was divided into two units due to the differing management strategies presented by each area. The North Unit is in the area of Corn Creek and, before protections, experienced high levels of illegal target shooting, off-roading, and trash dumping. The South Unit is immediately adjacent to the North Unit and shares a boundary with the city of North Las Vegas where the urban interface amplifies high numbers of visitor use.

Fossil resources were first documented at TUSK in the early part of the 20th century with pulses of research having been conducted since that time, most efforts have been focused on surveying, monitoring, and managing fossil localities within the South Unit. The objective of this survey was to identify the extent of fossil resources exposed in the North Unit of TUSK leading to a better understanding of the breadth of resources and the lateral distribution of fossils throughout the park. This survey documented 16 new fossil sites and correlated each locality into the previously constrained stratigraphic framework of the Las Vegas Formation. The North Unit preserves beds of the Las Vegas Formation transitioning from marginal to axial sedimentation within the basin, representative of a transition to more hydrologically dynamic paleowetland conditions along the axis of the valley. An outcome of this survey found that fossil resources tend to be much more frequent in the axial sediments with this information contributing toward the future direction of park development focal areas and management strategies. All new fossil localities are now enveloped into the National Park Service resource protocol for long-term management and preservation.