Manning Canyon fossils - Utah county
Cordaite?? – Image Credit:

After our disappointing trip to Manning Canyon I did a little research and received some great advice from a geology student who told me where to look for the formation. There are many clay quarries between Saratoga Springs and Elberta in Utah county that also contain fossils. He lead me to a great location just south of Pelican Point. This area is very close to many other spots I’ve been investigating this summer. About a mile south of the Dyno Nobel calcite operations there is a quarry on the west side of the road. You just drive in and start breaking shale. The red stuff supposedly contains the most material.

The Manning Canyon Shale is Upper Mississippian, which means you’ll find plenty of plants there. I didn’t stay too long because I didn’t have any water and it was over 100 degrees out there, but I did take home a few interesting fossils that looked like six-inch segments of papyrus reeds (here is an example of the closest thing I could find to it). I’ll post some more information and pictures when I get them.

This brings up an important point: DON’T VENTURE INTO THE DESERT WITHOUT WATER. I feel stupid just saying it. It was a 20-minute drive and I’d been to the area a dozen times, so I thought I’d be fine for a quick trip. After 15 minutes in the heat of the quary I started to get dizzy, and I was feeling pretty crummy by the time I got home. So always bring water.

I’ll enter the location in the guide soon. To get there, drive four miles south of Pelican Point and turn west up a dirt road. You should see a quarry there, and lots of red/purple rock.

Many thanks to L.J. Krumenacker for help in finding this location.

[Update]: After posting this I received an anonymous comment: 

Dyno Nobel is an explosives plant just before three quarries, one being the Cedarstrom Calcite Mine. If you’re talking about the quarry I think you are, that’s a private claim and they don’t even let you target practice there anymore so be careful.


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