Hell Creek Formation is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Montana.
In keeping with the state?s history as a naturalist?s dream, Hell Creek is a major exposure of prehistoric fossils and rocks, and is one of the most famous and intensely studied dinosaur fossil sites on earth. It is named for exposures along Hell Creek near Jordan, Montana.
The Hell Creek Formation is expansive, and includes areas of Eastern Montana badlands, Northwestern South Dakota, and Southwestern North Dakota. The strata?s age ranges from about 65 to 70 million years old, and were formed in a delta with a warm and moist climate. Interestingly, the famous iridium enriched K-T boundary layer that separates the Mesozoic from the Cenozoic occurs as thin, discontinuous but distinct bedding plane near the top of the Formation.
The Hell Creek Formation biota is most famous for its dinosaurs, including the most complete Hadrosaurid (T-Rex) dinosaur ever found, but is otherwise diverse as well, encompassing plants, invertebrates, fish, reptiles, and amphibians, and mammals. Bird (avian dinosaurs) and pterosaur fossils have also been found, as well as the teeth of sharks that were apparently tolerant to fresh water.
The following dinosaurs and types have been discovered from Hell Creek: Tyrannosaurus rex; Nanotyrannus lancensis; Troodon formosus; Dromaeosaurid; Ornithomimus; Nodosaurids; Edmontonia; Denversaurus schlessmani; Thescelosaurus; neglectus; Thescelosaurus sp.; Edmontosaurus regalis; Edmontosaurus annectens; Anatotitan copei; Pachycephalosaurids, Pachycephalosaurus wyomingensis, Ceratopsids; Triceratops horridus; and Torosaurus latus.
Commercial excavations bring Hell Creek fossils onto the market, usually dinosaur teeth, crocodylian osteoderm fragments, and dermal plates of fossil gars. A representative selection of Hell Creek fossils can be seen at the Museum of the Rockies, in Bozeman, Montana.
Hell Creek?s Jurassic residents can be seen by dinosaur fanatics at the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman, Montana.