Field Notes
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
ARCTIC: Fossils Provide A Glimpse into the Past
Alaska Region, October 1, 2005
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Researchers and Refuge staff got a glimpse into the past this summer when Dr. Louie Marinchovich of the California Academy of Sciences uncovered fossils dating back 30 million years ago on the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. While exploring the Nuwok Member of the Sagavanirktok Formation in the northeastern part of the Refuge, Dr. Marinchovich discovered fossils of marine mollusks (snails and clams) and fragments of terrestrial wood. The mollusk fossils indicate that the Arctic Ocean was nearly as cold 30 million years ago as it is today, and that ice probably covered the ocean at that time. Other studies of the Arctic Ocean propose that ice first covered it just 3-5 million years ago. The discovery of these fossils provides exciting new insight into what this region of Earth was like long before our time!

Contact Info: Kristen Gilbert, 907-786-3391, Kristen_Gilbert@fws.gov
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