Paleontology

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Welcome to the Hill Annex Paleontology Project

Mission: Examination of the Cretaceous sediments of Minnesota through new discovery, analysis of existing data, and the documentation of known collections.  Provide public outreach and aid in fulfillment of community engagement needs.

The Hill Annex Paleontology Project in Northern Minnesota (Calumet, Mn)

The Hill Annex Paleontology Project is a research endeavor directed on the Cretaceous deposits of the Minnesota area, begun in 2014. Focus has stayed mainly with the Coleraine Formation conglomerates of the Mesabi Iron Range but includes the entire region surrounding Minnesota. Primary work has been based out of Hill Annex State Park in Calumet, Minnesota. The stratigraphic placement of the formation is within the Cenomanian, in coastal depositional environments of the Western Interior Seaway.

This is a citizen science initiated project started by volunteers from the Science Museum of Minnesota. The Project is now based out of the Minnesota Discovery Center in Chisholm, Minnesota, with new fossil material being curated there and the addition of a paleontologist staff person in 2021. The project goals for research include the expansion of the existing base of scientific knowledge, documentation of existing known Coleraine Formation specimens in both public and private hands, and the digitization of the project collection. In conjunction with research energies, the Project aims to grow and expand community engagement and public outreach efforts in the area and regionally. Public interactions have included schools of all ranges, community groups and clubs, public gatherings and professional societies. We’ll share some of our history, challenges and successes along the trail of our research.


Paleontology Department Programming 2024 

> Member Only Paleo Social & Recap - February 24th starting at 4:30pm - FREE FOR MEMBERS
> Paleontology Camp #1 (for 13-18 year olds) - June 17–20 (Call 218-254-7959 to sign up | 10 spots | $140 nonmember $130 members)
> Paleontology Camp #2 (for 7-12 year olds)  - July 15th-18th (Call 218-254-7959 to sign up | 10 spots | $140 nonmember $130 members)
> Family Discovery Day: Fossils! Fossils! Fossils! - March 30th 11am-4pm (Regular admissions apply)

Become a Supporting MDC Paleo Member - CLICK HERE!

Interested in volunteering or learning more about our paleontology department, email the Minnesota Discovery Center Paleontologist, John Westgaard, at john.westgaard@mndiscoverycenter.com