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Hermit Shale
Hermit Shale Google Images1 locationSedimentary
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Feb 2 2013
Sedona Marathon/ 10K
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By far one of the most interesting of terrestrial Permian deposits is the Hermit Shales. Exposed over a large portion of Northern Arizona, the main localities include the slopes of the Mogollon Rim, Sedona, and Strawberry and the Grand Canyon. The age of the deposits are 285 - 275 million years old. The most famous of course is the outcrops in the weathered slopes below the spectacular buttes in Sedona and Oak Creek. The Hermit formed from huge alluvial fans and floodplain deposits that crossed Northern Arizona during the Permian before the Pedregosa Sea had transgressed, and is built on the Supai group which crosses the Pennsylvanian - Permian boundary. Deposits are typically a fine grained to coarse reddish brown shale - a typical "red bed" as they are called, both in massive bedding and a fine fissile papery shale.

Fossils are not easy to find in the Hermit, however some of the most interesting plant impressions and both invertebrate and vertebrate trackways are also found here. While some deposits we have visited contain huge calamities stumps over four inches in diameter, others have ferns and leaves. Many unusual trace fossils have also been found by us over the years. Some of the more interesting include centipede trackways, branch drag and tooling marks, wave ripples, reptile and mammal like reptile tracks and trackways. The rarest fossils include giant lycopod stumps, carbonized plant impressions, and the trackways of the giant sail backed mammal like reptile, Dimetrodon.


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