1864: Captain John Drake, leading a company of soldiers to protect mining camps from raids by Northern Paiutes, found fossils in the John Day area. He sent some to Thomas Condon, a missionary and amateur geologist. Condon then located fossil beds, reported his finds, and became Oregon’s first state geologist.
1864: William Richard Mascall and his wife, Sophie, homesteaded the original 320 acres of the Mascall Ranch for which the Mascall formation was named. A Mascall is a geologically defined type of formation, not just the one specific outcropping.
The layers are formed by alternating ash and paleosols–the latter a new term for us. The area is rich in fossils and in layers revealing changing flora, fauna, and climate. You’ll have to search for technical geological information to learn how this angled protrusion came about!
The Mascall ranch, expanded to 6800 acres, now belongs to the 5th generation of the family.