This year marks the 10th anniversary of National Fossil Day! Organized by the National Park Service, this day celebrates the scientific and educational value of paleontology and the importance of preserving fossils.
National Bridge Caverns joins in on the geological heritage celebration with some fossils of our own. You won’t find dinosaurs or sabretooth tigers down here. However, we can get a glimpse at what this area of Texas looked like 115-120 million years ago.
Way before Natural Bridge Caverns was ever a cave, the Texas Hill Country region was once completely under water - a shallow ocean to be exact! Marine organisms flourished, died, and became fused within the deposit of the ocean floor. Their calcium-rich shells helped create the limestone surrounding Natural Bridge Caverns.
The remnants of the ancient, shallow ocean can be seen embedded in the walls of our cave system. Gastropods, urchins, and oysters are among the marine fossils found at Natural Bridge Caverns.
We visited with Brian Vauter, Natural Bridge Caverns’ staff geologist who explains a bit more about the geology of our caves.
Most of what you’ll find are broken up bits and pieces of fossil remains. This shows us that at times, the Natural Bridge Caverns area was close to a shoreline during the Cretaceous Period. And at other times, the seas were much deeper. The best place to see these fossils is in the exposed Glen Rose limestone during our Hidden Passages Tour, 180 ft below the surface.
We aren’t short on reasons to celebrate fossils around here, but we love being able to share our history and the geological significance behind Natural Bridge Caverns. Thanks to Brian Vauter – you “rock”! Happy National Fossil Day, spelunkers!