Ice Age Fossils of Florissant

(St. Louis County, Missouri)

The following were found in a ice age lake or swamp deposits exposed along Cold Water Creek in Florissant, Missouri. It is believed they date back to the Illinoian glaciation, at a time when glacial meltwater created a swampy conditions in St. Louis county. The environment was much like Canada today, with spruce forest (evidenced by fossil spruce trees and cones) as the primary tree type. While it is certain the deposit dates to the Pleistocene, an exact age for the deposit has not been determined. It is possible it could date anywhere from  approximately one million years to as recently as 12,000 years ago.  If  it dates to the more recent time, it could very well contain artifacts from paleo-Indians, but to date no such evidence has been found to indicate this.


 [At Left: Mastodon legbone found in Cold Water Creek, Florissant, Missouri Collection of Dr. Bruce Stinchomb, Geology Department, Florissant Valley Community College,
Ferguson, Missouri]

 

 

Left: Finger and claw of a giant ground Sloth
Note: small circle, used for scale,  is approximately the size
of a nickle. Found in Cold Water Creek, Florissant, Missouri.
Collection of Dr. Bruce Stinchomb, Geology Department,
Florissant Valley Community College, Ferguson, Missouri.

 

 

 

 

 

 


 


 Right:  Incisors (teeth) of the now extinct giant beaver that resided here during the ice age. These were also found in Cold Water Creek, Florissant, Missouri. Collection of Dr. Bruce Stinchomb, Geology Department, Florissant Valley Community College, Ferguson, Missouri (Note: a quarter is included for scale.)


Spruce cones, preserved in lignite (first stage of coal formation). These were
collected from the pleistocene lake deposit, Cold Water Creek by Scott Williams.


Close-up of a spruce cone. After excavation, as the lignite drys, the cones frequently open
up as if they fell from the tree recently.



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This webpage by Scott K. Williams of Florissant, Mo. Copyright 1999, All Rights Reserved.