This program is free with museum or Springs Preserve membership, or with paid general admission.

Guest Speaker: Frank DeCourten

The Great Basin was submerged by prehistoric oceans for more than 600 million years as life evolved from primitive multicellular organisms to enormous marine reptiles.  Fossils preserved in the sediments that accumulated in the ancient ocean basin document continuous evolutionary change in response to shifting global climate, tectonic events along the western margin of Laurentia, ocean chemistry, and even asteroid impacts.  This non-technical lecture will explore how marine organisms populating the Great Basin’s vanished seafloor evolved in response to relentless environmental change.  The lecture will also explore some of Nevada’s most spectacular invertebrate fossils and fossil localities across the Great Basin to illustrate the diverse Paleozoic faunas of the Sagebrush Seafloor.

Frank DeCourten served as Professor of Earth Science at Sierra College in Grass Valley, California from 1993 to his retirement in 2018.  Prior to arriving at Sierra College, DeCourten taught at the University of Utah and served as Museum Curator and Assistant Director of the Utah Museum of Natural History.  Frank has also taught in the geology programs at California State University, Chico and the University of Nevada.

Mr. DeCourten earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s of Science degrees from University of California, Riverside, and has done additional graduate study at the University of Utah and the University of Colorado. His geological research has focused on the paleontology and regional geology of the western United States including the Sierra Nevada, the Great Basin, and the Colorado Plateau. His research has resulted in 19 technical publications in geology and paleontology, five books including Dinosaurs of Utah, The Broken Land, and The Roadside Geology of Nevada. His current writing project is a new book entitled The Sagebrush Seafloor: Exploring the Prehistoric Oceans of the Great Basin to be published by the University of Utah Press in 2020.


04/06/2019 14:00:0004/06/2019 16:00:00America/Los_AngelesLife of the Sagebrush Seafloor: Exploring the Paleozoic Fossil Faunas of the Great BasinReno, NV
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