Sunday, July 9, 2017

Falls of the Ohio State Park in Indiana


Falls of the Ohio State Park in Clarksville, Indiana is a must visit every time we are in nearby Louisville. The park is situated along the Ohio River and provides a unique opportunity to observe exposed Devonian fossil beds.


Exposed fossil beds at the Falls of the Ohio State Park in Indiana
Uneven terrain of exposed fossil beds
There is an interpretive center at the Falls of the Ohio but we seem to always be there on a Sunday morning and it does not open until the afternoon. So, we have not yet been able to take a peek! Inside, you can learn about the geology, archaeology and history of the area. There is a charge but I am sure that it would add more context to the visit. There is also a gift shop where you can buy fossils. Fossils cannot be collected, but the gift shop is perfect for a souvenir.

Fossil beds at Falls of the Ohio

The terrain to see the fossil beds can be a bit uneven. You can also see fossils from the top of the beds, but I prefer climbing down to see the lower beds.

Pipe organ coral at Falls of the Ohio in Indiana
Pipe organ coral
In the lower beds, you will see a lot of sponges and coral. Some are pretty intact, so you do feel quite a sense of amazement when you find one! The fossil above appears to be a pipe organ coral. Beautiful!

Devonian fossils at Falls of the Ohio

Some sections, of course, are a bit more difficult to discern. But, that is part of the fun! Above, you can see quite a few shells. If you spend a few minutes looking, you may  be able to pick something more definitive out.

Brachiopod shell at Falls of the Ohio
Brachiopod fossil
I love to look for brachiopods which are shelled organisms that appear to look like clams but you will find that the top shell is different than the bottom shell. In clams, they would be the mirror image. There are other differences, but I think this info helps when fossil hunting!

Horn coral at Falls of the Ohio
Horn coral

There are fossils everywhere, so fun to search! I discovered the horn corals above in a crevice.

View of Louisville across Ohio River from Falls of the Ohio
View of Louisville across Ohio Rive
The Falls of the Ohio also provides a nice view of Louisville. Overall, a nice little stop to add on a visit to Louisville!

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