July 8th, 2016 – Mammoth Site – Hot Springs, South Dakota

Our good friends Larry and Sharon joined us last night.  They will be going with us the rest of the way on our trip.  We are very excited!  After the horses, we made a stop at the Mammoth Site which is an active paleontological dig site, which boasts the largest concentration of mammoth remains in the world.  It was amazing! =[

About 26,000 years ago the cavern at the site collapsed.   The resulting steep-sided hole, about 65 feet deep, was 120 by 150 wide at the surface.  Warm artesian-fed spring waters created a pond that was attractive to wildlife.  Over the course of the next 350 to 700 years, the hole filled with sediments and mammoth remains.  The remains of the living organisms in the site are not technically fossils, since they were not mineralized but preserved by the clay and coarse sand that accumulated within the sinkhole.   At  least 61 individual mammoths had been identified.  The majority of the mammoth remains have been identified as those of Columbian Mammoths, although the remains of three Woolly mammoths have been found as well.

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