Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Parowan Gap Dinosaur Track Site

We recently took the road through Parowan Gap, which is north of Cedar City and west of the town of Parowan, Utah. The paved road has a sign pointing out the Parowan Gap Dinosaur Track Site. I was so excited to see that, as years ago I had found information on the Internet about the dinosaur tracks, but hadn't been able to locate them. 

A short road led to a parking area and an informational kiosk. Unfortunately most of the posters in the kiosk were so faded by the sun we couldn't read them. One was about Discover Dinosaur Tracks and Preservation, another about Birds of Prey and Climbing. I had no idea that there was rock climbing nearby, that's something we'll have to go check out sometime.

The BLM has a little information about the dinosaur tracks on their website.  The tracks were made by ornithopods, ceratopsians, and theropods in sandstone of the Iron Springs Formation. The most obvious ones are in large fallen boulders on the valley bottom. You can find a lot more info about the tracks in the Milner et al. 2006 paper.

We followed the trail and found that some of the tracks were quite obvious, jutting out of the boulders.

Soon it was a race to the next track.

The metal track markers were very helpful.

It was chilly and late afternoon, so our visit was quite brief, but we look forward to returning. There is a lot to see in this small canyon. Up next: recent improvements at the Parowan Petroglyph Site.

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