Tule Springs Fossil Beds, Nevada

Tule Springs Fossil Beds (Nevada) 22-Jan-2020

Years ago, I was working at what was then the Nevada Test Site and we briefly contemplated moving to Las Vegas, Nevada. That was before it became the massive urban sprawl it is today. But even then we were looking at places out of town, up north near Mount Charleston. I recall leaving the Vegas city limits and driving north on I-95 through actual open desert before we reached the turn-off for Charleston. Well, those days are gone. I-95 now bisects a solid sea of beige box houses (with more being built) all the way out to the turn-off.

The Tule Springs fossil beds hold an abundance of large animal fossils, such as mammoths, camels, bison, ground sloths, and the Giant North American lion. When these beds were first discovered in 1933, Las Vegas and its houses were way off in the distance. Now they’re at the very edge of the fossil beds. Fortunately, the beds came under federal protection through the establishment of the 22,650-acre Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument in 2014. That was back in those by-gone days when we created national monuments instead of eliminating them. 😥

At the southern end of the monument you can see the long trenches where, during the 1962 “Big Dig”, scientists uncovered an abundance of large animal fossils. We stopped by and took a few photos and were just happy that something had been done (for the moment) to keep houses from eating the pre-history of North America. 🙂

Streets and houses on the right, fossil beds on the left
The fossil beds, with Gass Peak in the distance
Clouds over Gass Peak
Looking south toward the 1962 “Big Dig”
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