Ernst Quarries

The Ernst Quarries have some of the largest deposits of marine fossils in the world. It’s located right next to Shark Tooth Hill in Kern County. The site contains over 260 acres of rich paleontological lands divided into 3 quarries. The land is owned by The Ernst Quarries, found here!

How to Get There:

Find directions here on the Ernst Quarries website.

Arrange a Visit:

You can arrange a visit by contacting them on their website. See pricing here, $40 per adult, $30 for children, and $15 for student groups for 4 hours of fossil collecting.

What Kind of Fossils Can You Find There:

Find rich deposits of marine bone fossils from the Miocene (12 to 15 mya). At the time Kern County consisted of shallow oceans and river bays. Shark teeth from this period are very common in the area.

Guide to Finding Fossils at Shark Tooth Hill

One of the most well known and prolific fossil sites in California, Shark Tooth Hill is a reliable source of shark teeth and the fossils of over 175 marine species.

Geology of the Area:

The area was a shallow extension of the Pacific extension during the Miocene epoch, or approximately 12-15 mya, and thus harbored a variety of marine mammals, sharks, birds, rays, skates and even land mammals.

Theories for the strata’s dense fossil record include 1) neighboring volcanic activity poisoned the bay with ash and noxious gases, causing a mass extinction of the organisms, and 2) the bay became landlocked during the Miocene epoch, rendering the inhabitants unable to escape as the waters slowly evaporated in the Pliocene epoch.