• Wind Cave National Park - Two Worlds

    Wind Cave

    National Park South Dakota

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  • Trail Closure Information

    The Highland Creek Trail is closed. Backcountry Zones 1 and 2 are closed to all off-trail travel and use. The Sanctuary and Centennial Trails remain open to through traffic.

  • Temporary Road Closure Information

    Oct. 18 & 19: NPS 5 and 6 are closed for the entire weekend. Monday, Oct. 20, through Wednesday, Oct. 22, NPS 5 will be closed from Highway 87 to NPS 6. Highway 87 will be closed from Road 342 (Beaver Creek Road) north to the park boundary.

Centennial Paleontology Site - Jacketing Fossils

Jacketing a Fossil

Jacketing a Fossil

NPS Photo by Tom Farrell

Jackets for the Fossils

The process of becoming wet and dry and of freezing and thawing has caused the fossils to become extremely fractured and fragile. The scientists examining the area have to jacket the fossils they find so they won’t fall apart upon inspection. To jacket something means that a plaster cast is created to surround the item, then when the fossil is taken to the lab for studying, the cast can be removed.

Marking a Jacketed Fossil

Marking a Jacketed Fossil

NPS Photo by Tom Farrell

A Puzzle Like No Other

Without the jacket, the fossil will break into many pieces and putting them back together again would be like putting together the world’s most difficult jigsaw puzzle.

More about the Centennial Discovery


Did You Know?

Star Lily

The Star Lilly (Leucocrinum montanum) has several common names including sand lily, sage lily, mountain lily, wild tuberose, and Star-of-Bethlehem. The word Leucocrinum comes from Greek meaning "white lily." More...