Florissant Fossil Beds Nat. Mon. 

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The fossil beds of Florissant are internationally renowned for the variety and number of fossils-particularly of insects and plants-they have yielded since their discovery in the late 1800s. Thirty-five million years ago an ancient lake, 15 miles long, existed in the valley. Many types of trees, plants and shrubs flourished in the warm climate. Insects, fish, mollusks, birds and mammals fed from the waters of the ancient lake. A volcano erupted and sent mudflows to cover and extinguish life in parts of the forest surrounding the lake. For several hundred thousand years the volcano erupts blanketing the area with layer upon layer of ash and debris. The living organisms trapped in the fallout became the fossils we see today.

Florissant is a small community located on the western slope of Pikes Peak. The town lies along Highway 24 west of Colorado Springs. From Florissant, the fossil beds are a few miles south on Highway 1.

(NPS Photo above)

 


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