DINOSAUR VALLEY STATE PARK (& Surroundings)

FIELD TRIP STOP – DINOSAUR VALLEY (Cretaceous Dinosaur Footprints)

 

LOCATION:  The park is located four miles west of Glen Rose. TX. Take U.S. Highway 67 to FM 205 for four miles to Park Road 59; then go one mile to the park headquarters. After heavy rains the footprints in the park might not be visible; however, there are private areas just outside the park boundary where tracks can be observed (for a nominal fee).

 

GEOLOGIC FEATURES: Cretaceous Glen Rose Formation (120 myo) with dinosaur (Theropod and Sauropod) trackways.

 

DESCRIPTION: The Glen Rose Formation consists of limestone and sandstone beds separated by thin layers of mudstone representing numerous fluctuations in sea level (transgressions and regressions). Weathering of the soft mudstone between the harder sediment, gives a step-like appearance to the outcrops. Numerous footprints of two-legged carnivorous Theropods having three clawed toes are found in the firmer sediments thought to have represented tidal flats, lagoons or nearby environments.

STUDENT QUESTIONS:

(1) What types of measurements can you make that involve the dinosaur footprints and their distribution?

(2) What types of life habits do you suppose could be inferred from your measurements noted above?

(3) Search the internet and provide the link to a scientific study that examines the morphology and life habits of dinosaurs as interpreted from the study of footprints.

SELECTED REFERENCES:

Spearing, D. 1991. Roadside Geology of Texas. Mountain Press Publishing Company, 418 pp.

PHOTOS:

Figure 1 -  Footprints of three-toed carnivorous Theropod dinosaur. Cretaceous Period (120 myo).

Figure 2 -  Trackway of Theropod dinosaur. Muddy layers between firmer limestone and sandstone promotes a "step-like" appearance of the eroded Glen Rose Formation.

Figure 3 -  Water in the trackway from a recent rainfall helped to make the footprints more visible.

Figure 4 -  Footprints without a water accumulation gives the footprint less contrast.

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