Florissant Fossil Beds Nat. Mon.
National Parks •
State Parks •
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.
(NPS Photo above)