It is often said one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, and this has never been truer than for the community of Fairmead. In 1993 while clearing for a trash dump at the Fairmead landfill, an equipment operator noticed unusual coloration in the soil. He alerted his supervisor and the investigation that followed has brought an incredible historical discovery to our Valley.
The initial dig of the area surfaced a complete fossil of a Columbian Mammoth tusk, which was dated at approximately 500,000 years old. Since then, over15,000 fossils have been discovered making the Fairmead landfill one of the most significant fossil beds on the West Coast.
Following the initial investigation, the San Joaquin Valley Paleontology Foundation was formed and the Fossil Discovery Center was built. This beautiful facility includes a small movie theatre, replicas of mammal fossils found, paleontology lab and mock dig site. The newest addition to the Discovery Center is a full-sized Colombian Mammoth fossil towering over visitors at 14 feet tall. This specimen is worth the trip by itself!
The beautiful facility has knowledgeable and friendly volunteer staff. Along with display cases there are several great tactical stations for children on how paleontologists gather and preserve our important Valley history. The highlight of this 99 Golden Dig is the mock dig site – large enough for dozens of children to enjoy the excitement and precise work of finding and preserving fossils.
The Fairmead Fossil Discovery Center is incredible in both its size and unique composition, located right off SR 99 at Avenue 21 1Ž2 it is truly a golden dig. The Fossil bed is over 25 acres in comparison to other sites that are often less than one acre. (R. Caporale)
For more information on the Fossil Discovery Center visit:http://maderamammoths.org/
State Route 99: Local Gem Fossil Discovery Center