top of page
Best Links to Oregon's Geology and Paleontology

Document Collection: Climate and Natural History

Document Collection: Oregon's Geology and Geologic History

Hidden from View: Rewriting the history of the Mammals

Western Forest: Fire Risk and Climate Change


Current Earthquakes in the Pacific Northwest: This University of Washington-based site provides precise locations, depts, magnitudes, and dates of earthquakes in the PNW within seconds of their occurrence. Also find information on tsunamis, real-time seismograph records from around the PNW, and links to quakes around the globe. The Pacific Northwest Seismic Network


Global Earthquakes: Find the magnitude, locations and depths of earthquakes around the world on this US Geological Survey site. Displays quakes within minutes of their occurrence. USGS Earthquake Hazards Program


Plate Motions and Climates Through Geologic Time: PaleoMap Project provides maps and plate tectonic animations. Shows where continents were throughout geologic time, and how they have moved. New features include maps showing climates during different geologic time periods, and global views that depict details of areas covered by sea water, locations of mountain belts, and lowlands. PaleoMap Project


Jon Day Fossil Beds National Monument: Site includes a wealth of information about fossil, ancient ecosystems, and geologic history here. National Park Service


Columbia River Gorge and the Great Floods: This site is an excellent and readable overview of the Ice Age Missoula Floods in the Columbia River Gorge, and the evidence for them. Text is by Jim Connor, a U.S. Geological Survey geologist who has studied and documented the floods. Historical photos of drowned trees and other features. A good read. Oregon Historical Quarterly

Plate Tectonics Animations: Renowned geologist and educator Tanya Atwater and her students at University of California, Santa Barbara, have created animations of many plate tectonic processes and plate motions. Free downloads. UCSB Department of Earth Sciences Educational Outreach 

Plesiosaurs: A complete history, including great animations of swimming motions, and descriptions of the different kinds of long- necked marine reptiles. The Plesiosaur Directory
Baby Plesiosaur animation: The National Science Foundation site provides information about—and an animation of—a baby plesiosuar (Marine Reptile) of Cretaceous age, recently discovered in Antarctica. Allow plenty of time (1-3 minutes) for the animation to download! National Science Foundation

Ichthyosaurs: Another dinosaur relative whose fossils are found in the rocks of eastern Oregon and the John day basin are ichthyosaurs—marine reptiles that gave birth to live young, had huge eyes, and looked a lot like modern dolphins.


Ichthyosaurs: An accurate, Scientific American site with information and pictures of ichthyosaurs of all sizes, ages, and styles.

Columbian Mammoths: The mammoths that grazed in central and eastern Oregon during the Ice Age (Pleistocene) were Columbian Mammoths—the largest elephants that ever lived.


History of Horses: Authoritative University of Florida site with information about the evolution and history of horses over the past 60 million years.


Metasequoia: This deciduous conifer sheds it’s needles each fall—one reason its fossil “leaves” are so abundant! It is Oregon’s state Fossil, a. It lived here during the Oligocene and early Miocene, but as the climate on the East side of the cascades became more temperate, the tree died out. Today, living trees are found in southern China’s rain forest. This site is a good introduction to the tree—with great links to additional information.

Oregon Paleo Lands  
Institute Center

2024 Summer Hours

Thursday - Sunday 


*we will be closed

one hour for lunch

Want to Volunteer?

The Paleo Lands Center invites you, to meet the public and school groups at our educational hub of the John Day Basin. Volunteers can serve as Board Members, Advisors, Center helpers and docents and help share exciting natural history exhibits, brochures, and books with visitors and schools.
Please Contact the Center at

541-763-4480 or for details


Road and Weather Conditions


*Please call or email if you would like to schedule your school group for a visit during the week. Thank you!


Contact Information

333 West Fourth Street

Post Office Box 104

Fossil, OR 97830
Phone: (541) 763-4480




bottom of page