Gunpowder Creek Tributary

Asked August 16, 2018, 10:23 AM EDT

Hi, we recently took advantage of the open hike at the Environmental and Nature Center on Camp Ernst Road . I noticed unique rock formations in the creek labeled Gunpowder Tributary on the red trail. Not being from this area I’m obsessed with the amount of fossils in the rocks here . Yet these were large round smooth almost like they have been shaped . Do you have any information in this ? Thank you!

Boone County Kentucky

1 Response

I am glad you had the opportunity to explore the trails at the nature center and that you found something of such interest! There are a few things going on with the geology in this area. Most of the fossils you would have found on the trails were from the Cambrian Period when much of North America was covered in shallow oceans. These fossils are mostly Brachiopods (shelled mussels) and Bryzoans (branching corals). The oceans were dried by the ice age, leaving the salt deposits that made places like Big Bone Lick, and Blue Licks State Parks valuable for the wildlife attracted to the salt deposits that leach out of the ground.
Much of our landscape was also changed by the glaciers of different periods. The till that was pushed by the glaciers was rounded under tons of pressure over time. This is evident in the round nature of some of the rocks, and in the types of rock that otherwise would have only been found to the north. During the Pleistocene, megafauna such as Mammoths, Mastodon, and Giant Sloths were abundant and were often found as fossils in areas of Northern KY. A visit to Big Bone State Park would probably interest you a lot due to the paleontological significance and historical value. Thomas Jefferson even had personal collections to study from our area! If you have any more questions or would like more info, please reach out anytime. My email is, and the office line is (859) 586-6101