The Montour Preserve’s Fossil Pit recently received an impressive distinction – it was named as one of the “30 Most Impressive Fossil Sites in North America” in a recent Top Value Reviews article.
The fossil pit consists of approximately one acre of exposed Mahantango Formation shale. Formed some 395 million years ago during the Devonian Period when much of Pennsylvania was covered by a warm, shallow sea, these shales are particularly rich in fossils. The most commonly found fossils at this site are Pelecypods (oyster, mussel and clam-type species), Cephalopods, Brachiopods (lamp shells), Byrozoans (moss-like animals), Crinoids, Gastropods (snail-like creatures), Corals and Trilobites.
The site is open from dawn to dark year-round. Admission is free and visitors may keep any fossils they find. Dogs and other pets are not allowed at the Montour Preserve. Please click here for site rules.
Those visiting the Montour Preserve Fossil Pit are encouraged to come prepared with some basic supplies, including: small geologist’s hammer, soft brush, safety goggles, a bag or bucket to carry fossils and supplies and newspaper or other material to wrap fossils for safekeeping. Visitors are cautioned that the fossil pit shales are exposed to day-long sun and are often quite hot to the touch by mid-afternoon. The shale is also particularly sharp on broken edges, so please move about the site with caution. Children should be kept under close supervision. Please wear long pants and sturdy footwear and bring plenty of water.
More information about visiting the fossil pit, including the full article and top 30 list, can be found on the Montour Preserve’s website.