The Clarkia Flora of northern Idaho.

The first discovery of fossils in the Clarkia area was in 1972 during the construction of a snow mobile racetrack. The fossils, primarily plant remains, are preserved in the sediments of a Miocene Lake bed. The lake was formed fifteen to fifteen and one half million years ago by the damming of a drainage basin very similar to the present day St. Maries River drainage basin. The ancient lake was relatively narrow and as deep as 100 to 150 meters. Because of cold, anoxic bottom water and a high rate of sedimentation, preservation of the local biota was excellent. During the last 15 million years this area has remained tectonically stable, resulting in little post depositional change of any biota remains trapped in the sediments. Leaves often show original fall colors (brown, red, and yellow). Some even contain Chloroplasts and show the original green color. Biochemistry, unique in each modern genera of plant species correlates well with similar fossil species.

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Contact information

Contact information:
Dr. William C. Rember
University of Idaho