What Still Threatens our Beloved Dinosaurs Today?!?!

In 2006, the Quarry visitor center, which houses some 1500+ bones preserved in-place was closed and evacuated with 48 hours notice due to structural instability and threatened imminent collapse of the building. The building was failing to meet safety standards because it was built on a soft clay-rich soil called a bentonite. These soils shrink and swell with the moisture in the area; rain, water pipe leaks, and ground water caused the soils to repeatedly expand a great deal then contract as the soil dried out. Because of this shrinking/swelling phenomena, many large cracks developed in the walls and foundation of the building. It also caused growth in the natural cracks on the quarry face that developed as the rock layers were folded and tilted over millions of years. All this led to the building's closing.

In 2011, however, a new Quarry Visitor Center was finally completed. It was much more structurally sound than the original. In order to make sure that cracking and fracturing of the building does not happen again to the new visitor's center, it is important that the new building and the quarry wall are monitored for new cracks as well as the growth of existing cracks.

There are many large and small cracks on the quarry wall that continue to grow and expand. They cut through both rock and bones. In order to keep track of the cracks through time, these cracks are being documented and photographed as part of a planned long-term monitoring and preservation plan for the 150 Million-Year-Old Dinosaur Fossil Quarry.

Dinosaur Bones
Bones on the wall: At some point in the past, the cracks in these bones had been filled and repaired. Carefully watching these cracks through time will help staff at Dinosaur monitor their condition and takes steps to repair any new damage as it occurs.

National Park Service


Last updated: February 24, 2015

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4545 Hwy 40
Dinosaur, CO 81610


435 781-7700

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