Earth Science Day will highlight rocks, fossils

Noel Lyn Smith
nsmith@daily-times.com
Riverside Nature Center volunteer Susan Carlson, left, works with Emma Murillo as the girl's mother, Nicole Murillo, looks on as they make fossils out of plaster during Earth Science Day on Feb. 7 at the Riverside Nature Center in Farmington.

FARMINGTON — The Riverside Nature Center will once again educate residents about geology during Earth Science Day this weekend.

"We will have a lot of things on display,” said Donna Thatcher, the center's coordinator, about the annual event, which started about 15 years ago.

Residents are also encouraged to bring their own rocks and fossils to the event to learn more about them, Thatcher said, adding, "sometimes people are surprised by what they found."

Thatcher recalled a few years ago when a man brought a fossil of a tree trunk with a six-inch diameter. It was later identified as a horsetail tree.

“It’s remarkable to see one,” she said. “We never know what someone is going to bring in.”

John Burris, professor of geology at San Juan College, uses a loop to examine a rock on Feb. 7 during Earth Science Day at the Riverside Nature Center in Farmington.

Earth Science Day will also feature the rock and mineral display of John Burris, a San Juan College geology professor.

Another special guest will be Mark Everson, who has helped with fossil and rock identification at previous Earth Science Day events.

“He has a wonderful collection of fossils and fossil replicas,” Thatcher said of Everson.

Riverside Nature Center also has a large collection of fossils and minerals — most that are not on display — that can be used to help identify rocks and fossils brought to the event, Thatcher said.

There will also be a program about volcanoes, including a video and display of volcanic rocks from the museum’s collection.

Among the children's activities will be coloring, assembling small 3-D paper models of volcanoes and creating fossil replicas out of plaster.

At 2 p.m., participants can go on a walk to a nearby gas and oil well. The visit provides an opportunity for people to learn about how the well operates and about petroleum geology, Thatcher said.

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636.

Sean Kern, of Aztec, examines fossilized claws on Feb. 7 during Earth Science Day at the Riverside Nature Center in Farmington.

If you go

What: Earth Science Day

When: 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday

Where: Riverside Nature Center, located off Browning Parkway in Animas Park in Farmington

Niosha Biggs and Briyanna Biggs cut paper to make models of volcanoes during Earth Science Day on Feb. 7 at the Riverside Nature Center in Farmington.