Douglas Pass, CO - July 5, 2003
Fossil Plants of the Green River Formation, Parachute Creek Member



This page provides an introduction to some fossil plants & insects found in the Upper Parachute Member of the Green River Formation exposed at Douglas Pass, CO.  The images were taken 7/5/2003 during an excavation organized by the Western Interior Paleontological Society (WIPS) under a permit from the Bureau of Land Management, Grand Junction Office.  This field trip is an annual event conducted by WIPS member Michael Graham.  All rare specimens are placed in the permanent repository at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science (DMNS).  The fossil plants of the Parachute Creek Member (exposed in western Colorado and eastern Utah) will be the subject of an illustrated atlas to be published by the DMNS.

I was fortunate to experience something known as "The Luck of the Split" at Douglas Pass on 7/5/2003.  Collectors have scoured the area heavily for about 4 decades.  But, to my knowledge, nobody has ever found the specimen shown below.  This is only my 2nd trip to Douglas Pass, so I feel somewhat undeserving of such a prize when others have collected there for years - but, alas, the Luck of the Split.

A rare find in the Green River Formation.  Appears to be in the Taxodiaceae family,
but is not Metasequoia.  Donated to DMNS on 7/15/2003

The WIPS field trip was fortunate to have clear skies and temperatures in the 70's and 80's.  I've tried to identify plant species when known, but I'm not an authority in this area by any means.  If you see errors or can provide an identification, please contact me.

At left, another unique find from the 2003 WIPS Field Trip.  A new holomorphotype for the DMNS Parachute Creek Member collection.   Note brochidodromous veins.   At right, a large Equisetum winchesteri.  Both donated to DMNS on 7/17/2003.

Cooperating institutions and key contacts:

  • Denver Museum of Nature & Science (DMNS) - Dr. Kirk Johnson
  • Western Interior Paleontological Society (WIPS) - Michael Graham
  • Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Grand Junction Office

Macginitiea wyomingensis
A common find in the Parachute Creek Member.

For more images, 
[Created 07/18/2003]
[Last Updated: n/a]