This page contains comments from readers (in reverse chronological order).

Tony Gomez
Tuesday, September 23, 2003 11:34 PM

Love the site, as a amateur collector of fossils I like how your site is presented. I just got back from visting Yellowstone National Park, and made the pilgrimage to Kemmerer, Wyoming as well. I had done a lot of research before I went on the trip to Wyoming, and found out about the fossil fish quarries in Wyoming. I wanted to make it to Utah to dig for trilobites as well but didn't have time. Hailing from Oklahoma City ,I was astounded that I have world class trilobites in my backyard. Do you have any detailed information about the let me quote you "A well-known location for collecting Devonian trilobites is called "White Mound", Haragan Fm., Hunton Group, near Sulpher, Oklahoma in Arbuckle Mtns.This is a private ranch and a fee area owned by Pat and Merylyn Howe.  At the time of my visit, there was a $25 fee to visit, plus $5 per person....." by the way "Sulpher" is spelled Sulphur on all Oklahoma state maps....Are there any other dig sites available for fees around the Arbuckle Mountain area? Does the White Mound have a website or Email or a point of contact? Thanks for your help in advance!

Reply: You're the second person this month to ask for more information on White Mound, so I guess I need to add it to the article.  Not sure why I didn't in the first place.  It's great that they let collectors like us collect on their land.  Here's the info I have from my Mar '03 trip:
    {contact info provided again, see next message}
I didn't visit any other fee quarries in Oklahoma, but I know Bob Carroll runs Black Cat Mountain Trilobites, but don't have any info on it.  You might try searching Google for "trilobites Oklahoma quarry fee" or for "trilobites Bob Carroll".  Happy Collecting!

Louis Herzner
Sat 9/13/2003 12:06 PM

My name is Louis Herzner,  I am in the Army and stationed in Lewisville, Texas as a Recruiter.  One of the high school kids that just joined told me
about finding fossils up in Oklahoma.  I started doing some research and found out about White Mound and then got your e-mail address.  I was hoping you would give me a call so I can take my family out looking.  Thank You so much!

Reply: I would recommend going to one of the private sites where they allow fee-collecting.  You will definitely find fossils which is a big plus when taking family.  From my experience, you especially want your children to come home with real fossils to spark their interest and motivate them for future outings.  Oklahoma has GREAT trilobites and brachiopods.  I went to White Mound which would be good. (see my trip at: )

   "White Mound"
   Pat & Marilyn Howe
   Rt. 1, Box 323
   Sulphur, OK   73086

There are other private fee quarries, but I don't have information on them.  You might try searching Google for "trilobites Oklahoma quarry fee".  I know Bob Carroll runs Black Cat Mountain Trilobites, but don't have any info on it.

Phil Waltz
Tue 9/9/2003 8:55 AM

Greetings Mr. Wagner!  One of our staff "found" us on your great web site!  I love the virtual nature tours! Also, much thanks for your very kinds words about South Plate Park and the Carson Nature Center!  Thanks again for the great site and for including us, we do sometimes feel like a bit of hidden gem!

Phil Waltz,
Nature Center and Outdoor Recreation Coordinator
The Carson Nature Center at South Platte Park

Andrew Taylor
Sun 6/1/2003 3:45 PM

My name is Andrew Taylor and I enjoyed your web site very much as I am very interested in Paleobotany.  I am going to Douglas Pass, CO, July 5 and 6, 2003 to collect fossil plants with the Western Interior Paleontology Society and I would like to know if there are any areas around Bonanza, UT that are open to collecting or any one I could contact in this regard.  Also I would be very interested in purchasing a copy of the Atlas of Fossil Plants when it becomes available.  If you could give me any information regarding collecting I would greatly appreciate it.

Reply: Regarding Bonanza, UT, there are several localities there that are on BLM land (open to collecting Ė as long as you donít sell them).  Iím reluctant to give the precise locations of the quarries in Bonanza though because DMNS is doing a lot of work there to collect specimens for the Atlas.  Iíve forwarded your request to DMNS to be on the waiting list for the Atlas (and Iíll keep your name too).  Michael Graham is very knowledgeable in the Green River Formation, Parachute Creek Member (which is Douglas Pass & Bonanza).  He has a BLM permit to collect in this area and also knows what is common vs. rare.  The best suggestion I have is to talk with Michael on collecting at Bonanza.  Maybe he could organize another trip or make it part of the Douglas Pass trip.  In any case, heís the guy to talk to and I canít recommend going to Bonanza without someone like him.

Susan Simmons
Fri 5/9/2003 6:21 PM

This is a great site.  I teach GED students, and I think this information will fascinate them.  It will bring history alive!

Reply: Susan,  Thank you for your kind comments.  I'm glad you found my site interesting and I'm really glad that you are showing it to your students too.  Education is my #1 goal with this site.  I'm working on a new section that you might also find useful Ė ďWhy Study Fossil Plants?ĒÖ  It will describe how scientists use the size, shape, and structure of leaves to estimate past climates (temperature & rainfall).  For example, the results from the fossil rainforest in Castle Rock, Colorado tell us that Colorado was much warmer and wetter 64.1 million years ago.  And, the geographic area has stayed pretty much at the same latitude as it is today (only turning somewhat).  So, we know that the entire planet must have been much warmer then too.  In fact, the equator was probably a very inhospitable place with very high temperatures.  Thanks again.

Carly Hinchman
Fri 5/2/2003 10:27 AM

Hello,  I am  a Westminster student in Atlanta Georgia. I am doing a research project on the tuatara.  I was wondering if you knew anything interesting about it.  First, I was wondering if you knew it's scientific name.  Second, I was wondering when, who discovered it.  I was also wondering how big it can get and how small it can be.

Thank you for your time, Carly

Reply  Carly, Sorry, but I know nothing about tuatara.  I did a quick search and found the following sites that may help you.

Herder, Leland -AES
Tue 4/29/2003 8:35 AM

Keep up the good work at Castle Rock.  I read an article in yesterday's Colorado Springs "Gazette" that Denver paleontologists
are digging along Woodmen Road in Colorado Springs and exploring an ancient rain forest here.  I live in this area:  Woodmen Road and Austin Bluffs.

Steven Wallace
Colorado Dept of Transportation
Fri 4/25/2003 8:39 AM

Hi Steve,

[Comments regarding "Fossil Plants from the Denver Basin, D1 Section".]
Actually, Woodmen Road is an El Paso County road and, therefore, Chopping at the Gap is in El Paso County DOT right-of-way, not CDOT ROW.  CDOT provided most of the money for the construction project and that's why we are involved.  Nice-looking page.

Reply: Thanks for the corrections.  The changes have been made.

Mary A. Miller
Wed 3/26/2003 8:30 AM

Good morning, Steve,

Thank you, abundantly, for posting these pictures and accompanying information on the Internet.  Sharing this information is helping me learn and I surely appreciate your efforts in creating and maintaining this web site.

Our field trip was excellent and I am amazed that you remembered so much at each stop!  I wish I had your memory!

Mary A. Miller
[Note:  Mary is also in the DMNS Paleontology Certification Program.]

Susan Echt
Fri 3/21/2003 11:10 AM

Hey Steve,  Just wanted to let you know that the site looks great!

Susan Echt [Note:  Susan was part of the Castle Rock team in 2002.]

Denise C. Arquiza
Thursday, March 06, 2003 8:28 PM
Subject:   Dinosaur bone?? from the Philippines

Greetings!!! I'm Denise Arquiza from the Philippines.  I would like to inquire if you have any idea what kind of species of bone we discovered.  I'm sending you some pictures (see attachment), you can email me at  Thanks and more power!!  Reply A.S.A.P!!

Reply: Unfortunately, I cannot help you in identifying these.  I'll post them on my website.  Maybe someone else can help.
Image 1     Image 2     Image 3     Image 4     Image 5

Greg Kellie Meyer / GEM STAR
Sunday, March 09, 2003 5:02 PM

Hi there,
I like your site.   I love geology and I live in castle rock so this is really interesting to me.  I wondered if you or someone would be able to let me know if the castle rock area has ever had any volcanic history, I was just curious because ryholite is so abundant here.  any way again I love the site.

Greg &/or Kellie Meyer  / GEM STAR Enterprises, Inc.

Reply: Greg,  Thanks for your comments on my site.  You are correct about the ryholite.  The Castle Rock area was devastated by a volcanic event in its past which actually originated up near Mt Princeton (by Buena Vista).  This occurred about 36.7 million years ago.  The eruption was a particularly violent type which produced "glowing avalanches" where the volcanic material covers vast areas very fast.  An image of this eruption was painted as part of the Ancient Denvers paintings at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science (DMNS).
You can see it at:

The rhyolite has been mined in the past and it was used as building material for some of the old buildings in downtown Denver.  I think some of it was even used at Coors Field.  I learned a lot of this from a Geology course which is part of the DMNS paleontology certification program.  There's some discussion and images on the eruption and Castle Rock's history at the following links:

  Danielís Park overlook:

  Castle Rock:

Thanks for the quick reply.  I went to all those websites.  I think I'm gonna try and find some more info on this Mt. Princeton eruption and do a project to present to my geology teacher, you may know him I know he goes up to DMNS often, it is Mr. Caldwell.  Anyway thanks again for the info and I will pass this info on to my class.
Organization:  Asociación Paleontológica Argentina
Wed, 12 Feb 2003 14:38:58 -0300
Subject: Protection Archeological and paleontological

Dear Steve Wagner, In response of your email about fossil laws, the current law in Argentina for Protection and Conservation of Archeological and Paleontological beds is the National Law Nº 9.080 of february 1911, that was regulated by law in december 1921.  Most of the argentinian provinces have their own Provincial Laws regarding fossils protection.

Sergio Vizcaíno
President, Asociación Paleontológica Argentina

Rudy Rau
Wednesday, January 15, 2003 3:24 PM

As a novice, I'm completely fascinated with all of the history around Colorado Springs. Thanks to a tip from Jon Thorson who has been patiently answering my questions, I found your website and am enjoying it thoroughly.

My wife and I have come across a number of 'rocks' lying about at the base of Pulpit Rock that are loaded with wood-plant-carbon particles. I'm attaching a couple pictures taken there.

Thanks for sharing your work with the public.

Rudy Rau
Colorado Springs

Reply: They look like nice specimens you collected.  I shared the images with paleobotanists at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science.  This is there reply, "From the pictures, it seems that the fossils contain a lot of organic debris, rather than wholly preserved leaf material.  The bug is nice.  This area was worked by DMNS volunteers in the late 90's, headed by Pat Ervin.  Geologically, Pulpit rock is coarse fan material that is in the basal portion of the Denver Basin's D1 sequence."

Dodson Reaves
Friday, December 27, 2002 6:12 PM

Hi Steve - I met you at the NE Parkway site on Saturday, 12/14.  You gave me one of your cards & I checked out your web site . Looks like you've got a great, professional Web Site! Thanks for doing it for all the rest of us to look at/study.  I have not looked at everything yet but I will enjoy it in the future when I have time. Thanks again.  - Dod Reaves

* Dod Reaves

Gary Sutton
Thursday, December 26, 2002 12:12 AM

I just had the opportunity to explore the DMNS Castle Rock Rainforest web pages, and I wanted to express my thanks for the great job you have done!  I especially like the descriptive text accompanying the images of the 12/10/2002 photos.  I am proud to be a member of one of the best nature and science museums in the world. Keep up the excellent work, as it is much appreciated.

Gary Sutton
DMNS Member

Reply Thank you for the kind comments on my website.  Iíve had a great time with my volunteer work and the website and itís nice to know others appreciate it too.

Dr. Paul C. Murphey
Rocky Mountain Paleontology
Monday, December 16, 2002 10:26 AM

[Regarding Northwest Parkway dig - 12/14/2002]
Dear Steve, I'm very glad to hear that you enjoy working with Jennifer, and have collected some nice specimens from the 120th Street site. I'm also really glad that she's picking up paleobotany techniques. I'll be sure to check out your web site. Cheers, Paul

Dr. Paul C. Murphey
Rocky Mountain Paleontology

Peter Kelber
Monday, December 16, 2002 3:50 AM

We've added links to your site on Links for Paleobotanists at Universität Würzburg in Germany. Please see:

Plant Fossil Preservation:

Websites, Showing Plant Fossils:

Sedimentology and Sedimentary Rocks:

Best regards,
Klaus-Peter kelber

Georgia Hoffman
Sunday, December 15, 2002 7:45 PM
Subject: Castle Rock Dig

We already checked on your web site on Saturday [regarding Castle Rock dig - Sat 12/10/02], and it's really, REALLY good!   Even the pictures of us (especially because we know that the light was fading fast when you took them).  But seriously, your site is really well done, and really informative.

I am going to write a short description of our site visit for the Alberta Palaeontological Society newsletter when I get back to Alberta, and I'll let them all know about your web site.  Could I get copies of one or more of your images for inclusion in the article?  Perhaps a nice leaf or two, and that one of Regan and I in the quarry?

Georgia Hoffman
1914 - 5th St. S.W.
Calgary, Alberta  T2S 2B3
(403) 228-7729

Reply Thank you for the kind comments on my website.  Here are some full size images for you.  Also, is the Alberta Palaeontological Society newsletter online somewhere or would you be so kind as to send me a copy of it?  Thank you very much.

Beth Ellis
Tuesday, November 12, 2002 9:16 AM

Wow, Steve.  You've been busy!  Great job as always.
Monday, November 11, 2002 2:36 PM
Great Work!!! & reference

I am very familiar with your site--an excellent paleobotantical reference area, indeed.  Just yesterday, I posted to the newsgroup a link to your very nice Bonanza, Utah, Green River Formation page. I hope to visit that classic site someday... That perfect Macginitiea is simply extraordinary. I have seen excellently preserved Macginitiea from the early Middle Eocene Chalk Bluffs Flora (the extinct sycamore is of course named for Dr. MacGinitie, who first described the classic Chalk Bluffs Flora), western Sierra Nevada foothills, California, but few have compared to that Bonanza Green River specimen. Unbelievable preservation. Keep up the great work.

Kirsten Johnson
Monday, November 11, 2002 12:12 PM
Subject: So great!

Just a big thanks from me for your great site! It's so amazing to have such a fabulous record (and so quick!) of the swell Bonanza trip. Thank you so very much for all the time and energy you put in! Very fun for me to have documentation of me and my fine bro on the job together. Good to see you in Denver and many many thanks, Kirsten

Steve Sroka
Monday, November 11, 2002 8:47 AM
Re: Green River, Bonanza, UT Dig

Steve, Thanks for the note and listing [Utah Field House of Natural History Tour]. I have been trying to get the state to let us develop a better web page for the museum.  Maybe once they see work like yours they will realize this is the way to go.

Steve Sroka

Val Gunther
Monday, November 11, 2002 7:15 AM
Subject: Re: Green River, Bonanza, UT Dig

Thanks for the information. [from Green River, Bonanza dig]  I noticed that Marvin Hawkins' e-mail address was incorrect.  His e-mail is


Mary Miller
Sunday, November 10, 2002 1:52 PM
Subject: Green River, Bonanza, UT Dig

Thanks for sending us this website information! [from Green River, Bonanza dig]  What a gift you have made to all of us who participated and to other interested persons.  Thank you again, Mary
Colorado Yale Association (CYA)
Saturday, November 09, 2002 7:07 PM

The pictures [from CYA day at Castle Rock] are wonderful! Thanks enormously. I'll put a link to them on the CYA web page.  Thanks for a terrific day.

Best wishes, Bill Betz

Michele Reynolds
Tue, 05 Nov 2002 10:36:09

Great!, now I can study the Green River fossils by morphotype number!  Well done, as always...
Colorado Yale Association (CYA)
Monday, November 04, 2002 8:23 AM
Subject: Thanks

Thanks very much for sharing your splendid web site on the Castle Rock Rain Forest with us. We had a splendid turnout for the tour yesterday, and the events later on at the museum that Kirk hosted. In fact, so good was attendance it looks as if the Colorado Yale Association may actually come close to breaking even on an event for a change. I am sure that it is due in part to people linking to your site, and seeing the pictures of the treasures that awaited them.

With sincere thanks from everyone at the CYA,

Bill Betz

Reply: We enjoyed the CYA visit too.  It's always fun to talk with people that are also very interested paleontology and our earth's past.

Regan Dunn
Thu, 31 Oct 2002 11:04:14

Castle Rock is a neat story, and a great website.  I am so glad that you are pouring in the work for it!  We are all grateful and delighted with your work, and the website!  Keep up the good work.

Laura Cunningham
Sunday, October 27, 2002 12:56 PM

I just discovered the Denver Museum website and your site while on looking up fossil plant information. This is really a great site!  The information and images are superb, and I appreciate being able to access your current research and see what is happening.

I am a natural science illustrator specializing in paleontology, and there will be a Guild of Natural Science Illustration conference in Denver next July. Maybe you already know about this, but they are looking for presenters from the Denver Museum of Natural History. I think it would be very interesting if you guys could give a talk on your Paleocene paleobotanical research, and perhaps how you use illustrators to make technical drawings as well as reconstructions such as these beautiful murals.

If you are interested, I could give your contact info to the organizers.


A big fan,

Laura Cunningham
PO Box 70
Beatty NV 89003

Reply:  Thank you for the kind comments.  Yes, I would be interested in info on the Guild of Natural Science Illustration conference and will pass it on to others that I work with.

Followup from Laura Cunningham:

The URL for the Guild of Natural Science Illustrators is  I e-mailed Marlene Donnelly, who is organizing part of the conference that you might be interested in participating. Her contact info is below, but I hope she will contact you.

Marlene Hill Donnelly
Field Museum, Dept. of Geology
phone 312-665-7638 Wed, Thurs and Fri

Aldorfer, Thora
Friday, October 18, 2002 7:40 AM

THANK YOU for this web site -- it is very nicely done! I just read about this Castle Rock project in an email publication CDOT puts out called "Road Quill", where it mentioned the Castle Rock excavation project this month (and a link to your site that doesn't work! - had an extra "." period at the end of the URL). But I looked it up and was very pleased to see what a well-designed site it is. I'm glad CDOT is involved with the Castle Rock rainforest project. I firmly believe that CDOT has an ongoing responsibility to contribute to the pool of knowledge when we come across natural sites that yield information about the earth's physical and/or social history. As a state governmental entity, we should not be just "about roads".

I may just check out the Museum's programs, too. I was fascinated by dinosaurs and the early evolution of the earth as a kid, and I'm due to retire in about 5-6 years. I should start checking into ways to keep the ol' brain in gear and do something useful. At the present time my supervisor and myself do computer support for the engineering branches of CDOT at the headquarters building. Some of that knowledge might come in handy too.  Do keep going!!! Be encouraged!

Thora Aldorfer
Staff Branches Tech Support
4201 E Arkansas Ave, Ste 290

Reply:  Thanks you for the kind comments.  If you're interested in the museum's paleontology program, please see the new pages under "Paleontology Certification Program" at

Jim Englehorn
Monday, October 14, 2002 10:03 AM

You have done a great job with the  Castle Rock web site, congratulations.  It has given me some ideas for my own personal family genealogy web pages.

Keep up the good work. As a paleontology volunteer at DMNS (H) I think its great other volunteers take it upon themselves to promote our department.

Rowett, Andrew (PIRSA)
Monday, October 07, 2002 5:09 PM

Thanks Steve!  Must be fun working as a volunteer in such an exciting place. If I'm not mistaken Dr Kirk Johnson is also at Denver. He spent some time in Adelaide in the late eighties in our Lab with Dave Christophel and myself a lot of leaf fossil was going on then. All a bit too quite these days but with Stuart Creek I still keep my hand in.  Cheers, Andrew

Note: Mr. Rowett has a page on "The Stuart Creek Palaeochannel and its Fossil Rainforest Flora" at Office Of Minerals And Energy Resources, Primary Industries and Resources South Australia, Government of South Australia.
Wednesday, October 02, 2002 5:18 PM
Subject: Your Castle Rock Site Linked

Hi Mr. Wagner: Just thought I'd let you know that I've linked your Castle Rock Fossil Rainforest page to my site, Paleobotanical Field Trip To The Sailor Flat Hydraulic Mine Gold Mine, California, at Your link's in the paleobotany links section.

Bill Betz
Colorado Yale Association (CYA)
Wednesday, October 02, 2002 8:45 AM

Dear Steve,

What a magnificent site!

We have put links to the site at the Colorado Yale Association website. We are having a Yale event on November 3.  Links to your site are at:, and

Best wishes,

Bill Betz

Beth Ellis
Monday, September 30, 2002 2:46 PM

You've done a fantastic job with very little support. Thank you.

Monday, September 30, 2002 1:27 PM

What are you doing with the specimen which are not good enough or scientifically valuable enough to place in the museum's collections? Are the chunks of rock with fossils being left on the site so that there is some semblance of a fossil recod still there, or is it all being dismantled and destroyed?

Thanks, Charlene

Reply:  Though we are removing and studying thousands of fossils, the actual percentage of what we are removing is very small.  This was a large rainforest which covered a large area of land.  We are working on a single area that is exposed on a hillside below a railroad track.  The hillside is several hundred yards long and of that we've made about 11 quarries - each being about 6 feet wide.  So, yes, most of the fossil record still exists.  We have probably tapped a very small fraction of 1% of the total.  Please note that this area is Colorado Department of Transportation land and fossil collecting by the public is prohibited.  A permit is required from the State of Colorado to collect at the site.  Hope that answers your questions.  Thanks for writing.

Thursday, September 26, 2002 8:32 AM
Subject: Identifications?

Any chance that Dr. Johnson could be persuaded to identify the many fossil leaves in your image galleries? I mean, the fossils are nice to look at, but they'd be a whole lot more meaningful if we could learn just what kind of plant we're looking at. Just a thought, anyway.

Reply:  Great suggestion. I've been planning to get help on that for some of the morphotype images that I recently added.  One problem is that identification of most will take a very long time.  Some are known like the Platanus, Cycads, or Infructescence of Hamamelidacae (see the images at  And, others we may casually call arctocarpus at the quarries, but they aren't true arctocarpus.

Castle Rock has been a treasure of new species - in fact, it is believed that most of the specimens are new to science.  The team is currently doing morphotype identification of the leaves using the Manual of Leaf Architecture, Smithsonian Institution, 1999, Published and distributed by the Leaf Architecture Working Group. If you're interested, it can be found at

Unique specimens are identified using the techniques in this manual.  Then, they are assigned a morphotype number (e.g. CR097 - Castle Rock's 97th  morphotype).  With new species, that is probably all we can call them by without years of research and publications to formally name them.

Jerry Suchan
Tue, 17 Sep 2002 19:10:24

I have been considering the Denver Basin for 20 years. I really like what you have offered here. There is a lot of information provided about what is a rather complicated and difficult geological structure, fossils and formations.

I do have one suggestion. You really don't have any kind of index.  It is a  typical web site constructed in a treelike manner connected by following (some say drilling into) link after link. You really do need an index or table of contents of some kind.  It could be constructed in the traditional book form (major parts [chapters or individual papers], the subdivisions of those into things that would be sections in a books chapter, and so fourth) or tree like, showing the actual links that are there. In any case this needs to be right at the top of the pile, or perhaps I should say, at the root of the tree.

Also, when you say "new" or "new addition", please add the date.

Anyway, please keep up keep up the good work. It clearly took a lot of effort to make this happen.

Reply:  Thank you for your feedback.  I will give the index some thought and make some changes.  I like the idea of putting the date next to "New" also.  Over the coming months, I should be adding more about the Denver Basin from other fossil quarries as well as geology.  It's a difficult balance between the work I'm doing for the website and the work in the field and museum.  It's a fascinating area though.  Thanks again for your feedback.