Submission: Santa Paula Creek

Submitted: May 31, 2019

Location: 34°26’20.0″N 119°05’01.4″W

Fossils Found: A contributor found Turritella Snail Shells, Oyster Drill Snail Shells, and Fossil Bivalves, which they were told could be any of or a mix of Cucullaea, Glycymeris, and Glycymerita. Shell and gastropod fossils are relatively common in this area which is part of the Topatopa Range. The fossils are of an unknown age, but similar fossils found in the Los Padres Wilderness have been dated to the Oligocene-Eocene periods.

Directions: Find the coordinates on the Santa Paula Creek flood plain, downstream from the “Punchbowls” waterfalls. Many of the trails in the area can have loose gravel so it’s important to be careful fossil hunting in the area!

Guide to Finding Fossils at Elk Head


From Arcata, North on Hwy. 101, take the Trinidad exit.

Geology of the Area:

Around 500,000 years ago (Pleistocene Epoch), this area was an intertidal zone with tidepools and serge channels. 

Paleontology of the Area:

“trace fossils”, which are hundreds of holes made by pholads or boring clams, along with mussels, dogwinkles and worm tubes.

Other Fossil Sites Nearby:

Scotia Bluffs: link

Centerville Beach: link

All information cited from:

“5 Top Fossil Sites Around Humboldt Bay”,