Office of University Relations
SDSM& T News
501 E. St. Joseph Street • Rapid City, SD 57701- 3995
Phone: ( 605) 394- 6082/ 2554 • Fax: ( 605) 394- 3388
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
( October 2, 1997)
SDSM& T CONDUCTING FOSSIL SURVEY OF SOUTH DAKOTA SCHOOL TRUST LANDS
Under an agreement with the South Dakota Office of School and Public Lands, paleontologists from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology ( SDSM& T) are conducting a fossil survey of school trust lands in South Dakota. The objectives of the survey are : 1) to develop a documented inventory of all state holdings of paleontological significance; 2) to salvage fossil specimens in danger of destruction; and 3) to educate the general public about South Dakota’s important fossil resources.
Under the direction of Dr. James Martin, Museum of Geology Curator of Vertebrate Paleontology, Dr. Bruce Schumacher and his scientific team inventoried approximately 50% of the state lands for fossil resources during the past two years. Bruce Schumacher received his Ph. D. degree in Geology from SDSM& T this spring.
The survey conducted by SDSM& T identified state land areas where fossils are exposed to the elements. In some situations, salvage operations also were undertaken to help protect important paleontological resources. The results of the survey will assist Curt Johnson, Commissioner of School and Public Lands, and other government officials in making informed land management decisions.
During the second year of the survey, twelve new fossil localities in five counties were documented. Many newly discovered fossils were salvaged, including the excavation of a partial gigantic marine turtle skeleton, Archelon, on state school land a few miles from Pierre. This specimen had a shell that was twelve feet long. Only a handful of Archelon skeletons have been found worldwide, most of them in South Dakota. This latest Archelon find will remain in the state.
“ This partnership between SDSM& T and the South Dakota Office of School and Public Lands is helping to document and protect our state’s fossil resources on a scientific basis for the benefit of the general public and the scientific community, said Dr. Jim Martin. ” We appreciate the Commissioner’s recognition of the important paleontological resources that exist in South Dakota,”
In addition to the cooperative agreement with the South Dakota Office of School and Public Lands, the SDSM& T Museum of Geology has established partnerships with many state, tribal and federal agencies. Directed by Dr. Philip Bjork, the Museum of Geology maintains archival data and storage for over 300,000 geological, mineralogical and paleontological specimens from the region. The museum’s cooperative agreements and collections involve twenty states, including 2/ 3 of the states west of the Mississippi River as well as Florida, Georgia, Maryland and New Jersey.
The Museum of Geology also provides an active educational outreach program to area schools and organizations. Located in the O’Harra Building on the South Dakota Tech campus, the Museum is open to the public free of charge throughout the year. Group tours can also be arranged. Additional information about the Museum of Geology or its Field Paleontology Program can be obtained by calling 800- 544- 8162 ext. 2467 or via e- mail at pbjork@ msmailgw. sdsmt. edu.
( f:\ programs\ dept\ univrel\ pressrele\ 1097\ SD School Lands Fossil Survey fax/ stwd)
Click tabs to swap between content that is broken into logical sections.
The work from which this copy was made did not include a formal copyright notice. This work may be protected by U. S. copyright law (Title 17, United States Code), which governs reproduction, distribution, public display, and other uses of protected works. Uses may be allowed with permission from the copyright holder, if the copyright on the work has expired, or if the use is fair use or within another legal exemption. The user of this work is responsible for compliance with the law.
Devereaux Library. South Dakota School of Mines and Technology.