Falls of the Ohio fossil beds: a National Natural Landmark

“You may have noticed as you pass by the south wall of the interpretive center a plaque that reads ‘Falls of the Ohio Fossil Beds has been designated a National Natural Landmark.’ Reading further down the plaque says ‘This site possesses exceptional value as an illustration of the nation’s natural heritage and contributes to a better understanding of the environment.’ This designation is no small achievement. Designated a National Natural Landmark in 1966, Falls of the Ohio’s fossil beds (Ohio Coral Reef) were among the first few natural resources recognized by the U.S. Department of Interior. The 390 million years old Silurian and Devonian coral community at Falls of the Ohio represents the world’s largest exposed Devonian Period fossil beds.
The interpretive naturalist staff at Falls of the Ohio State Park, assisted by a corps of trained volunteer naturalists, tell the incredible story of how these fossils were formed and what they represent in geologic history. Falls of the Ohio has long been a center for scientific inquiry. Paleontologists and geologists from across the world have researched and published studies documenting different facets of these ancient rocks of the Devonian Period. Elementary, high school and college students visit Falls of the Ohio to explore and discover the wonders of this geologic treasure.
This plaque and the National Natural Landmark designation says that when you visit Falls of the Ohio you are in a special place – a place of national and international significance. We all play a role in the stewardship and preservation of this natural treasure in Southern Indiana and the Louisville Metro Area.”
Submitted by,
Mark Young
FOTO Foundation Board Member