Area Celebrates Opening of Sherman Dugan Museum of Geology
Farmington, NM is well known for the Ancestral Puebloan history of the region, ancient ruins, centuries old culture, and plenty of wide open spaces in which to explore nature. Farmington is also home to undiscovered treasures—fascinating geologic wonders that surround the area.
In addition to the existing areas for geology buffs and those interested in photography, landscapes and hiking, visitors will also be able to soon explore the Sherman Dugan Museum of Geology, beginning on September 15th. The geology museum will be located in the San Juan College School of Energy building and features over 100 mineral and rock specimens, fossils—including the skull and jawbones of a 35-million-year-old brontothere, and a full pterosaur skeleton—and historic geology and mining equipment. The museum is open to the public, and is open Monday through Friday,8:00am to 5:00pm. A grand opening celebration will take place at 4pm on September 15th.
“For generations, geologists have worked in and studied the Farmington area because of its historic and scientific significance" said Tonya Stinson, Executive Director of the Farmington Convention and Visitors Bureau. "Whether you enjoy identifying our geological history or simply want to discover the beauty of a land curiously shaped by time and nature, the Four Corners region is an exciting place to explore. Throughout the year, visitors enjoy hiking the San Juan Basin badlands, discovering our iconic landmarks and viewing fossils and incredible samples of petrified wood. Now we have another exciting option for them, and we hope that all will come out and enjoy the spectacular collection displayed at the Sherman Dugan Museum of Geology, as well as continuing to frequent the one-of-a-kind spots around Farmington.”
While the collection of fossils and petrified wood is prohibited in As-shi-sle-Pah, Bisti and De Na Zin Wilderness and Angel Peak Scenic Area, the Badlands found in the San Juan Basin have the greatest concentration of petrified wood in the Southwest, next to the Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona. Additionally, the area is home to many unique rock formations as well as opportunities to view rare fossils. In addition to the new museum, Farmington is home to many unique sites with fascinating geology, including:
- Hogback – Located west of Farmington, a sandstone ridge known as Hogback offers explorers the chance to view a rare formation. This brilliant yellow sandstone ridge beautifully captured the ripples of time and is an important outlining formation within the San Juan Basin. Hogback, best described as a rolling uprising, was created over 100 million years ago when the North American Plate crept over the Pacific Plate.
- Shiprock Pinnacle - Shiprock Pinnacle, or in Navajo Tsé Bitʼaʼí "rock with wings" or "winged rock" is a unique monadnock rising nearly 1,583 feet above the high-desert floor and visible for nearly 50 miles in any direction. The solidification of the volcanic rock pinnacle and dike walls date back about 27 million years ago. Up close or from afar this peak, held sacred by the Navajo, is a wonder to behold. One of New Mexico's most iconic landmarks it is on the must shoot list of many photographers.
- Angel Peak Scenic Area - This 7,000 foot sandstone pinnacle is surrounded by 10,000 acres of badlands reveled for their scenic and scientific wonders. Once a grassland fed by forceful rivers flowing from the Rocky Mountains, the beautiful banded badlands, canyons and fossils that can be viewed at Angel Peak today have been instrumental in documenting the evolution of many mammal species. Angel Peak Scenic Area and the surrounding badlands are rich with fossils and petrified wood, making it a must see point of interest.
- Bisti Badlands and the De Na Zin Wilderness Area - South of Farmington, Home to incredible hoodoos and rock formations, many complete dinosaur skeletons have been excavated in the Bisti Badlands and De Na Zin Wilderness, including the Bisti Beast displayed at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History in Albuquerque. Explore this wilderness area and you will easily discover giant petrified trees amidst the strangely shaped canyons. Those with a trained eye can scan the desert floor and canyon walls carefully for dinosaur and small mammal and reptile fossils.
- Ah-shi-sle-pah Wilderness Study Areas – Southeast of Farmington, the Ah-shi-sle-pah Wilderness Study Area (AWSA) is a little known site for viewing fantastic hoodoos. Composed of rolling water-carved clay hills, large colored hoodoos, gardens of balanced rocks, petrified wood and fossils the AWSA is a great place to visit for those interested in photographing unique formation and fossils.