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last updated: 6/26/2013

Fossils in Indiana

Fossils in Indiana: A Resource Guide




Resources Available Online


Selected Bibliography of Materials Available at IUB


Finding More Information


Other Materials






The bedrock geology of Indiana is diverse, spanning from the Precambrian era to the Pennsylvanian. These rocks contain the evolutionary history of our state. Numerous species leave records of their existence within the fossils of Indiana’s bedrock. These fossils have received much attention within the geologic literature of our state, from introductory texts on how fossils are formed to detailed reports on species located in very specific geographic areas. This guide has been compiled as a list of “top picks” for finding information about Indiana Fossils and their use. It also contains reference sources, keywords, and subject headings for finding more information.



Resources Available Online

Canright, J.E. (1959). Fossil Plants of Indiana. Bloomington, IN: Department of Conservation, Geological Survey.

This guide to Indiana fossils focuses specifically on flora fossils found in the state. This is an essential source for identifying plant fossils in Indiana as there is very little literature available on the subject. Contains a map of known plant fossil sites within the state.

Online at

Also in print at the Geosciences Library, QE109 .A19 no.14 [STACKS]


Indiana. Department of Natural Resources, Geological Survey (1974-1984). Our Hoosier State beneath Us. Bloomington, IN: Indiana Geological Survey.

Our Hoosier State beneath Us is a series of brief articles on several specific topics relating to Indiana Geology. The guide is useful for those looking for very basic information on specific fossil types found in Indiana.

Online at

Also at Government Information, Maps and Microform Services(Wells Library), QE109 .O88 1980z [Secure Area]


Indiana. Geological Survey (1869-1916). Annual Reports of the State Geologist of Indiana.

The Annual Reports series published by the Indiana Geological Survey is an invaluable resource for locating historical and paleontological information about specific Indiana counties. Use GeoRef to locate specific counties within the Annual Reports series, or browse the digitized versions of the reports on IU ScholarWorks.

View partial digitized holdings at

Also visit the Geosciences Library (for circulating copies), QE109 .A2.


Indiana. Natural Resources Commission. Article 8: Public Use of Natural and Recreational Areas. 312 IAC 8-2-10: Preservation of habitat and natural and cultural resources.

Indiana Code indicating the legal status of collecting fossils and other natural resources on Department of Natural Resources-owned land.

Online at


Shaver, R.H. (1959). Adventures with Fossils. Bloomington, IN: Indiana Department of Conservation, Geological Survey.

A beginner’s guide to collecting and identifying fossils, aimed primarily at children. Includes numerous suggested fossil walking trails within the state.

Online at

Also at the Geosciences Library and Government Information, Maps and Microform Services (Wells Library), QE109 .A16 no.6


Smith, N.M., Brookley, A.C., and McGregor, D.J. (1954). Common Rocks, Minerals and Fossils Found in Indiana. Bloomington, IN: Indiana Department of Conservation, Geological Survey.

A very basic guide containing information on common Indiana fossils, their characteristics, classifications, uses, and general geographic locations. Contains illustrations of common fossils.

Online at

Also at the Geosciences Library, QE109 .A16 no.3 [STACKS].


Swinehart, Anthony L. (2002). An illustrated catalogue of macroscopic subfossils from Late-Pleistocene and Holocene wetland deposits in Northern Indiana. Indiana Academy of Science: 111-2, pp. 117-139.

Descriptive and illustrative guide to macroscopic fossils found in Northern Indiana wetlands. Notes on the abundance, occurrence, chronology, and frequency of each fossil catalogued are included.

Online at

Also located at Wells Library RC Stacks; Geosciences Library, Q11 .I38.



Selected Bibliography of Materials Available at IUB

Note: Most items can be delivered to any IU Library using IUCAT.Simply search for the item title and click the “Request Delivery” link on the right column of the item record.However, some items must be used within their owning libraries due to fragility, rarity, or other constraints.Please feel free to visit the Geosciences Library or other owning libraries to use these items.


Ausich, W.I. (1975). A paleontological review of the site of Clifty Creek Lake, Wabash River Basin, Indiana. Louisville: U.S. Army Engineer District, Corps of Engineers.
A guide to fossils near the Wabash River Basin, including illustrations and fossil location map.
Location: Geosciences Library, QE747 .I6 [STACKS]


Bishop, A.C. (2005). Guide to minerals, rocks, and fossils. Buffalo, NY: Firefly Books.

Full-color guide for identifying common fossils. A good starting point for beginners attempting to identify fossils.

Location: Geosciences Library, QE363.8 .B565 2005 [REFERENCE]


Camp, M.J. and Richardson, G.T. (1999). Roadside Geology of Indiana. Missoula, MT: Mountain Press.

An entertaining guide to geologic features found along Indiana highways. Includes information about locating specific fossils in southeastern and south-central Indiana with specialized road trips. Also includes example illustrations of fossils likely to be found in surrounding geographic areas.

Location: Geosciences Library, QE109 .C36 1999 [STACKS]


Conkin, J.E. and Conkin, B.M. (1976). Guide to the rocks and fossils of Jefferson County, Kentucky, southern Indiana, and adjacent areas. Louisville: University of Louisville.

Extensive guide provides information on locating specific fossils around the Louisville, KY/Jeffersonville, IN area with photos and walking tour information.

Location: Geosciences Library, QE116 .J36 C66 1976 [STACKS]


Conkin, J.E. and Conkin, B.M. (1980). Handbook of strata and fossils at the Falls of the Ohio. Louisville: University of Louisville.

This guide is similar to the aforementioned guide by Conkin & Conkin, but with specific emphasis on the Falls of the Ohio state park area. Includes descriptions and photos for fossil identification.

Location: Geosciences Library, QE116 .J36 C68 [STACKS]


Dennis, D.W. (1889). A reprint of the tables of an Analytical key to the fossils of Richmond, Indiana. Nicholson & Bro. Publishing.

A short, descriptive guide to fossils as defined by early Indiana paleontologists. Interesting from a historical perspective.

Location: Geosciences Library, QE747 .I6 D41 [Special Collections]


Fall, L.M. and Steinmetz, J.C. (2006). Bibliography of Indiana Paleontology, 1831 to 2006. Bloomington, IN: Indiana Geological Survey.

This is the definitive resource for finding materials on Indiana paleontology and fossils. The 83 page extensive bibliography covers both general and specific print materials on Indiana fossils. Use with IUCAT or GeoRef to locate materials.

Location: Geosciences Library, QE109 .A183 no.68 [CD-ROM]


Gray, H.H. (1987). Bedrock geologic map of Indiana. Bloomington, IN: Department of Natural Resources, Geological Survey.

A useful visual reference to aid in finding specific fossil types in Indiana. If, for example, a guidebook indicates that a certain type of fossil can be found within a specific type of bedrock, the Bedrock Geologic Map will enable one to find the geographic area the guidebook refers to.

Location: Geosciences Library, G4091 .C55 1987 .G7


Greb, Stephen F. (1993). Fossil beds of the Falls of the Ohio. Lexington, KY: Kentucky Geological Survey, University of Kentucky.

An educational, illustrative guide to the origins and fossils of the Falls of the Ohio. Includes color illustrations.

Location: Geosciences Library, QE115 .A48 ser.11,no.19 [STACKS]


Hackathorn, M. (ed.) (1996). Fossils of Ohio. Columbus: Ohio Division of Geological Survey.

This in-depth reference guide provides numerous photos and illustrations useful for identifying fossils found in Ohio and along the Ohio River. The guide is relevant for identifying Indiana fossils because of geographic proximity and species overlap.

Location: Geosciences Library, QE151 .A25 no.70 [RESERVES]


Hill, John R. (2009). Fossil Collecting in Indiana. From Ultimate Handy Handouts [CD-ROM]. Bloomington, IN: Indiana Geological Survey.

An introductory guide to finding fossils in Indiana. Provides a brief discussion of fossils located within Indiana and their locations.

Location: Geosciences Library – Ask Staff


Perry, T.G. (1959). Fossils: Prehistoric Animals in Hoosier Rocks. Bloomington, IN: Indiana Department of Conservation, Geological Survey.

An in-depth guide to fossils found in Indiana and their locations. Contains information on identifying the age and species of fossils. Also contains suggested readings on the identification and preservation of fossils. Book contains several diagrams to aid the reader in identifying fossil types.

Location: Geosciences Library, QE109 .A16 no.7 [STACKS]


Powell, Richard L. (1999). Geology of the Falls of the Ohio River. Bloomington, IN: Indiana Geological Survey.

A guide to the geology of the Falls of the Ohio area, including information on the abundant fossils found in the riverbed from the Devonian geologic period. Updated from a report of the same name published by the Indiana Geological Survey in 1970.

Location: Government Information, Maps and Microform Services (Wells Library), QE109 .A16 no.10 1999


Seltzer, R.L. (1996). Before the dinosaurs: the mysteries of Indiana's fossil history. Carmel, IN: Guild Press of Indiana.

An introduction to Indiana’s paleontological past, aimed at novice and amateur paleontologists and fossil collectors. Includes various drawings and maps to aid in materials finding.

Location: Geosciences Library, QE711.2 .S44 1996 [STACKS]


Steinmetz, J.C. et al (2006). Fossils of Indiana [poster]. Bloomington, IN: Indiana Geological Survey.

An illustrative poster of several common species of fossils found within Indiana. Useful as a photographic reference to common fossils.

Location: Geosciences Library, QE747 .I5 F67 2006


Ulrich, E.O. (1880). Catalogue of fossils occurring in the Cincinnati group of Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky. Cincinnati: Printed by James Barclay.

A short historical guide to fossils found in the Cincinnati (Ordovican) bedrock group. Useful for studying and identifying fossils in the Kentuckiana/Ohio River region.

Location: Geosciences Library, QE727 .U5 [Special Collections]



Finding More Information

IUCAT – Indiana University’s online catalog.  Useful for locating physical holdings within the Indiana University Libraries.


Suggested Search Terms:

     Indiana Fossils

     Indiana Paleontology

     Falls of the Ohio

     Ohio Fossils

     Kentucky Fossils


Suggested Subject Headings:





Bibliography of Indiana Paleontology (see above for citation) – A comprehensive guide for locating academic and scientific research reports/papers on Indiana fossils.


GeoRef – Online index of articles in the geological sciences.Excellent resource for locating articles outside of the scope of the Bibliography of Indiana Paleontology.


Web of Knowledge – Another useful index for locating academic articles in the geological sciences, particularly useful for finding retrospective articles.



Other Materials



This webpage is based on a pathfinder prepared for S532: Government Information at Indiana University's School of Library and Information Science by Jessica Cornn in July 2009.  It was edited and updated September 2009 by the author for this website.

last updated: 6/26/2013