• Two

    John Day Fossil Beds

    National Monument Oregon

There are park alerts in effect.
show Alerts »
  • Hwy. 26 open between Prineville and Mitchell, OR - Updated Wednesday, July 23, 2014

    US26 mile posts 34.8 To 53 is now open to two way traffic with a 35 MPH speed limit. Motorists are required to use headlights in the affected area. Air quality in the area is poor. Follow link for more detailed information. More »

Fossil Laboratory

All fossils taken from the field must be stabilized before they can be studied.

After being removed from the field, fossils are taken to a lab where they can be made available for study. Each fossil goes through stages before it can safely be handled by researchers: stabilization, preparation, and sometimes casting and molding.

 
Jennifer Cavin in Laboratory
Jennifer Cavin working on a fossil
NPS photo
 

Preparation

Once fossils are stabilized, they go through the process of preparation. This step is the painstaking removal of the surrounding stony matrix from the fossil. Preparators use a number of different tools and techniques to carefully remove matrix. Mechanical tools such as airscribes—tiny jackhammers—remove matrix without ever touching the fossil. Sand blasters remove the matrix without sending harmful vibrations through the fossil. Dental picks and micro-needles may be used for high resolution of delicate structures.

 

Did You Know?

Park ranger in the field

Paleobotanical field work helps scientists at the John Day Fossil Beds learn about ancient climates.