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The Tertiary in New Mexico, US

Tertiary in New Mexico map

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Tertiary Fossils
Fossil photos from Tertiary in New Mexico

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Paleontology and geology

During the Early Tertiary, a mountain-building event, referred to as the Laramide Orogeny, turned much of New Mexico into ranges and basins. River floodplains and lakes covered the lowlands. The middle of the Tertiary was a time of pervasive volcanism, and the eruptions left behind huge calderas. By the Late Tertiary, plate movements fractured the earth’s crust, pulling it open along the Rio Grande to form a chain of rift basins in which rivers, lakes, and dune fields deposited sediment. Fossils of magnolia, a four-tusked elephant called Gomphotherium, and the hippopotamus-like mammal Coryphodon are typical of the terrestrial flora and fauna. Fossils of a gar fish, Atractosteus are also common. This map indicates extensive exposures of Tertiary rocks throughout the state.

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Courses and Lectures (showing 1 of 1 listings)

Paleogeography of the Southwestern U.S.: The paleogeography of the southwestern U.S. from 1.8 billion years ago to 10 million years ago. Text and images by Dr. Ron Blakey from Northern Arizona University.

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Databases (showing 1 of 1 listings)

New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science Web-based Paleo-database Home Page: Search the fossil collections of the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science. Listings by Kingdom down to species, era, epoch, group, formation, country, New Mexico county, and map ID. Many listings contain images of the fossils (including all holotypes.) 

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