If you like to hike out in McInnis Canyons NCA, you might start to see some activity at the Mygatt-Moore Quarry. In late May the Museums of Western Colorado prepares to open the Mygatt-Moore Quarry in Rabbit Valley for dig season. We work closely with the BLM to ensure the care and protection the site from fossil poaching, vandalism, and to keep winter and spring rain and melt from ponding in the quarry – causing damage to the fossils still waiting to be excavated. Using a small backhoe, we carefully remove the excess fill dirt within a few inches of the quarry layer; the final layers of dirt we remove by hand shoveling. With our Big Red Quarry Truck we haul in our equipment trailer, packed with burlap, straps, buckets, and, of course, picks and shovels. Shade tarps and picnic tables are unloaded from the trailer and set up on the site. And finally, we re-survey the grid reference points for our quarry maps, making sure the old maps will match with new ones from the 2018 season. It takes only a few days and a lot of help from Don Kerven (Head of Maintenance), volunteers, and field crew but, when we’re done, we are ready to go to work – looking for dinosaurs in the original Jurassic Park of the American West.
The best part about our field work is that we get to take the public with us – dinosaur enthusiasts as young as 5 years old help us make the discoveries that push science forward and keep us all young at heart. The 2019 Paleontology Expeditions schedule is now available here. Dates are filling up, but there are still slots available for the season. We are excited to open the quarry and see what new discoveries the 2019 season will bring!