Fossil (n.) –


Solite Quarry:

Solite Quarry is one of the few places in the world that has such a wide and rich variety of fully intact insect fossils from the Triassic, as well as other plants and vertebrae.  Staddling the North Caorline-Virginia border, the quarry is situated right in the middle of the Dan River-Danville basin, which is part of the Mesozoic rift system on the eastern side of the United States. The fossils are well preserved in lacustrine shales, mudstones, and sandstones in the Cow Branch Formation. The lack of bioturbation suggests that shallow water during the initial transgression of a long-lived, saline alkaline, rift valley lake (Luitkas et al 2010). According to the Virginia Museum of Natural History, “many of the Solite insects closely resemble their modern counterparts, and this site is famous for having the oldest records for many living insect families and orders.” Pictured below you can see a beautiful specimen with the eyes still preserved. 

Tipulid Insect (eyes preserved)

For more photos from the Solite quarry click here.


Below are links to Gigapans of fossils that are found in Virginian formations. They allow for an up-close look at the embedded fossils, showing both scale and detail. These images and 3-D model are from the gallery of the Mid-Atlantic Geo Image collection created by Callan Bentley and Rob Rohrback.