The Thomas Condon Paleontology Center in the John Day area of Oregon is a gold mine of geological timetables and formations, of flora and fauna fossils, all illustrated with charts, descriptions, rock samples, and the fossils themselves. You can explore the entire area within four walls and a few hours if you can’t take weeks and hike the riversides, hillsides, and cliffs of the John Day fossil beds.
GEOLOGIC HISTORY—What a poetical list! I’d rather enjoy the sounds than learn the definitions!
GEOLOGIC PLACES—I hardly need photos to enjoy these!
- Picture Gorge
- Sheep Rock (with a pyramidal peak; looks nothing like a sheep)
- Blue Basin
- Painted Hills
- Clarno Palisades
- Goose Rock
MAMMALIAN FOSSILS from the Hancock Mammal Quarry. Why the great variety found in this location and not elsewhere is a mystery.
- Haplohippos (small horses)
- Brontotheres (huge, rhino-like)
- Acaenoron (bear-like, similar to modern pigs)
- Cat-like carnivores
- Hemipsalodon scavengers.
AND MY FAVORITE: THE CLARNO NUT BEDS. (I’m more of a nut than a geologist.) 44 million years ago Oregon forests had 175+ species of fruits and nuts, now fossilized. Modern relatives:
For geologic history plus the scanty known, but fascinating, biographical history of John Day himself, I recommend The Geologic Setting of the John Day Country by Thomas Prence Thayer.