Agate in Sioux County, Nebraska — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
A Slice Through Time
Halfway up the cliff face are a series of vertical spiral shapes. First called "devil's corkscrews" (Daemonelix) by local ranchers, these sandstone spirals are burrows of ancient beavers (Palaeocastor). The spacing and number of burrows suggest that the animals lived in communities similar to those of modern prairie dogs. The top of each burrow marks the ground level when these beavers existed. Study of fossilized plant roots associated with these burrows suggests a habitat with abundant vegetation, including grassland, in the vicinity of wide shallow streams.
The sandstone forming the cliff face was deposited over thousands of years as sediment filling an ancient Miocene valley. The present topography was sculpted by erosion of the Niobrara River.
Upper Right: The corkscrew burrows are most visible during the late afternoon. This 1955 photograph shows several burrow locations on the cliff face.
Lower Right: Palaeocastor and burrow. The bottom of the
Erected by Agate Fossil Beds National Monument, National Park Service.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Paleontology • Parks & Recreational Areas. A significant historical year for this entry is 1955.
Location. 42° 25.81′ N, 103° 47.169′ W. Marker is in Agate, Nebraska, in Sioux County. Marker can be reached from the intersection of River Road and State Highway 29. The marker is located along the 1 mile Daemonelix loop trail. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Harrison NE 69346, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Daemonelix (within shouting distance of this marker); Agate Springs Ranch (approx. 0.4 miles away); Guests from Pine Ridge (approx. 0.4 miles away); Two Cultures, One Land (approx. 0.4 miles away); Bone Cabin (approx. 2.4 miles away); Fossil Hills Trail (approx. 2.4 miles away); The Gift of Friendship (approx. 2.7 miles away); a different marker also named Fossil Hills Trail (approx. 2.7 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Agate.
More about this marker. The Agate Fossil Beds National Monument is a fee-free National Park Service site.
Also see . . . History & Culture. Agate Fossil Beds National Monument (Submitted on July 14, 2022, by James Hulse of Medina, Texas.)
Credits. This page was last revised on July 15, 2022. It was originally submitted on July 14, 2022, by James Hulse of Medina, Texas. This page has been viewed 71 times since then and 36 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on July 15, 2022, by James Hulse of Medina, Texas.