Paleo Room

Fossil Localities in Oregon

John Day Fossil Beds – Within the heavily eroded volcanic deposits of the scenic John Day River basin is a well-preserved fossil record of plants and animals. This remarkably complete record, spanning more than 40 of the 65 million years of the Cenozoic Era (the “Age of Mammals and Flowering Plants”) is world-renowned.

Oregon Coast – Oregon coast fossils are found in three formations: the Astoria Formation, 15- to 20-million-year-old sandstone layers mixed with compressed volcanic ash; Nye mudstone, up to 20 million years old; and on south coast stretches of beach, Coledo Formation specimens of dark ash and sand, which are 25–30 million years old. These formations of compacted sand, volcanic ash, and river-borne silt are uplifted from the Pacific Ocean floor by geo-plate movement

Identification & Preparation
You can find out more about fossils at the following websites:

Oregon Collections – Places you can visit to see fossil collections

  • Condon Museum
  • Rice Museum
  • Northwest Natural History Museum

Fossil Dealers and Shows in Oregon
Most shops and dealers do not carry Oregon material for sale. It is against the law to collect fossils for commercial purposes without a permit. 

Fossil Books


  • Oregon Fossils – by Dr. William Orr
  • Miocene Mollusks – by Ellen J. Moore
  • Handbook of Fossil Plants and Animals
  • Roadside Geology of Oregon

Regional with Oregon Text:

  • Index Fossils of North America – Shrock & Shimer
  • Invertebrate Paleontology, MLF

Links to Fossil Sites:

North America Research Group 
University of Oregon – Condon Museum