Annually, Burpee Museum heads up research trips looking for clues to our Earth's past. YOU can join these trips through our Dinosaur Expedition programs to Hanksville, Utah in May & June.
A daily rhythm is soon established in Hanksville, as participants settle into the field lifestyle of a paleontology dig site.
Wakeup at your hotel
Lodging is secured by individual volunteers at one of several Hanksville hotels. Most guests stay at the Whispering Sands in Hanksville.
8:30 am Gather in Trucks & Leave for the field
Burpee paleontologists meet you at the welcome center with multiple off-road ready pick-up trucks and provides transportation to the site for the whole team. If you choose to rent your own car and drive to the quarry, you want to be sure it can handle the off-road nature of the long road to the quarry. The team packs the trucks full of supplies for the day including water jugs and tools. You will ride with the team in these trucks for about 20 min to arrive at the location for the day.
9:15 am Begin field work
Most volunteers are assigned a spot in the dinosaur quarry to work during their time on site. Don't be surprised if you find a second bone while working on your first as this quarry is packed with dino remains! Depending on the daily goals, the team might also prospect for more fossils by hiking around known areas, stopping to collect petrified wood (you can bring a small amount home) or even oysters and agate.
Break for water
It gets hot out in the desert! Teams are encouraged to have water in their backpacks and take several breaks to reapply sunscreen, drink water, and rest between working. Water coolers are also provided at the site for bottle refills.
While you bring your own lunch, Burpee provides a large shaded seating area to gather for lunch and a break from the sun.
5:00pm Leave the Field
Returning in the Burpee trucks, you will have a relaxing and well-deserved escort back to town to relax, shower, or clean up for dinner.
6:00pm Dinner on your own
While dinner is on your own each night except Friday, where the team gathers for a closing get-together, volunteers and staff often meet up for dinner together at the local restaurants in Hanksville.
Volunteers work on different dinosaur bones
A partly uncovered pelvis with volunteer tools
Hiking in the field
Gathering Data on Fossil Location
The Hanksville Burpee Dinosaur Quarry is located in the Morrison formation. This rock unit is from the Late Jurassic (155 million years ago-148 million years ago).
Although the Morrison was deposited in a wide variety of environments, this quarry was part of a high energy river system with varying speeds of water. The site is a great spot for finding animals that were washed downstream and deposited leaving a jackstraw of various dinosaur bones from the longneck sauropod dinosaurs Diplodocus, Apatosaurus, Barosaurus, and Camarasaurus. Burpee has also found Allosaurus, Mymorapelta, and more.
Burpee teams will bring you to locations with high probability of finding fossils, or sites with a fossil bone partly exposed. You will learn how to remove the tough rock (matrix) around the bone, and prepare it to be brought back to the museum for further preparation and study.