Marker Logo HMdb.org THE HISTORICAL
MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Hot Springs in Fall River County, South Dakota — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
 

The Mammoth Site of Hot Springs, SD

 
 
The Mammoth Site of Hot Springs, SD Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, September 6, 2015
1. The Mammoth Site of Hot Springs, SD Marker
Inscription. Gigantic mammoths, ancestors of the majestic elephants of today, once roamed freely on the High Plains of North America. A repository of their remains, along with other kinds of animals, lay undisturbed until their discovery over 26,000 years later, in June 1974.
Limestone deposits beneath the earth’s surface dissolved in water from underground springs. The land then collapsed and the resulting sinkhole filled with 95 degree water that lured mammoths to drink or feed on vegetation. Once in the water, they could not get up the slippery, steep incline. Death by starvation or drowning was the fate of most animals that came to the sinkhole. Along with the mammoth, remains of the giant short-faced bear, extinct camel, gray wolf, raptor, cottontail rabbit, white-tailed jackrabbit, white-tailed prairie dog, fish and other associated fauna have also been found at the Site.
As centuries passed, the sinkhole gradually filled. Rain, snow and wind wore away the soil leaving a hill of buried skeletons.
This hill remained undisturbed until 1974 when excavation for a housing project by Phil and Elenora Anderson revealed bones and tusks of these huge animals.
Opposite side:
In 1975, the Mammoth Site of Hot Springs, South Dakota, Inc., was formed as a non-profit corporation dedicated to the preservation of the
The Mammoth Site of Hot Springs, SD Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, September 6, 2015
2. The Mammoth Site of Hot Springs, SD Marker
fossils, protecting and developing the site as an in-situ (bones left as found) exhibit.
The Mammoth Site is quite different from most museums. It is not merely a display of collected items; most of the excavated bones remain exactly where they were found (in-situ). Visitors also witness the complete process of paleontology from start to finish. Along with the scientists, they will see for the first time bones of animals that lived before any person walked this land.
In 1980 the Mammoth Site was designated as a Registered National Natural Landmark by the Department of the Interior.
The Mammoth Site of Hot Springs is truly a gift from nature - - our inheritance held in trust for over 26,000 years. We would diminish ourselves if we failed to perceive the historical and scientific value of this discovery.
 
Erected 1997 by The People and Business of Hot Springs, The South Dakota State Historical Society and the South Dakota Department of Transportation. (Marker Number 680.)
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the National Natural Landmarks marker series.
 
Location. 43° 25.374′ N, 103° 29.022′ W. Marker is in Hot Springs, South Dakota, in Fall River County. Marker is on Bypass U.S. 18 near South 19th Street
Mammoth Excavation Site image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, September 6, 2015
3. Mammoth Excavation Site
, on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1901 U.S.18 Bypass, Hot Springs SD 57747, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 7 other markers are within 11 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Hot Springs, SD (approx. 1.3 miles away); Leslie Jensen Scenic Drive (approx. 3.5 miles away); Fall River Falls (approx. 4.1 miles away); Paha Sapa Limestone (approx. 9.2 miles away); The CCC's Enduring Legacy (approx. 9.2 miles away); Jedediah Strong Smith’s Route - - 1823 (approx. 10.1 miles away); Life in a Prairie Dog Town (approx. 10.4 miles away).
 
Also see . . .  Mammoth Site of Hot Springs. More than 26,000 years ago, large Columbian and woolly mammoths were trapped and died in a spring-fed pond near what is now the southwest edge of Hot Springs, South Dakota.
For centuries the bones lay buried, until discovered by chance in 1974 during excavating for a housing development, when earth moving equipment exposed South Dakota’s greatest fossil treasure.
(Submitted on October 7, 2015, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California.) 
 
Categories. Paleontology
 
Mammoth Excavation Site image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, September 6, 2015
4. Mammoth Excavation Site
Mammoth Excavation Site image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, September 6, 2015
5. Mammoth Excavation Site
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on October 6, 2015, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. This page has been viewed 194 times since then and 25 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on October 6, 2015, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California.   3, 4, 5. submitted on October 7, 2015, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California.
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