Monday, March 23, 2009

Dinosaur Trackway: Walk This Way

The Connecticut Valley is full of dinosaur footprints and trackways.

One such location is a little-known park in Middlefield, Conn., where a small park allows visitors to view up tilted rocks with dinosaur footprints preserved in stone. The old quarry once owned by Professor W.R. Coe and was the property of the Yale Peabody Museum for an outdoor exhibit. At one time the tracks were painted so they would appear more distinct. Now owned by the town of Middlefield, a small sign proclaims Powder Hill Dinosaur Park. The neat and sturdy (now privately-owned) home opposite the fenced-in area (across the street) was once the home of Professor Coe.

Follow the tracks in the floor of the quarry and try to imagine the dinosaur walking along the mud in Triassic era time. Those who examine the layers carefully will also uncover petrified ripple marks and mud cracks, now preserved in stone.

Directions: Take Route 66 from Meriden (east) or from Middletown (west) onto Route 147. Turn south and turn on Powder Hill Road. About 1/4 mile past the now dormant Powder Ridge Ski entrance, the park is on the right.