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EARTH Magazine–Travels in Geology: Hike to the Burgess Shale!

January 3, 2013

Travels with the Blonde Coyote

This past summer my dad and I made a pilgrimage to one of the most famous fossil localities in the world: British Columbia’s Burgess Shale. My Travels in Geology feature story for EARTH magazine appears in the January issue:

Of all the famous fossil localities in the world — Mongolia’s Flaming Cliffs, Tanzania’s Olduvai Gorge, Wyoming’s Green River, Germany’s Solnhöfn Quarry — perhaps none is as widely celebrated as British Columbia’s Burgess Shale. High in the Canadian Rockies, the Burgess Shale contains some of the oldest and most exquisitely detailed fossils of early life on Earth. Visiting the Burgess Shale requires some preparation — you must hire a guide and hike 22 kilometers at high elevation — but for a fossil enthusiast, the payoff is worth every step.


As a general rule, the fossil record is dominated by hard parts: shells, teeth and bones. The Burgess fossils, however, reveal so…

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