Fossil tree stumps occur in old mine highwalls, roadcuts, and stream exposures in Kentucky’s coal fields. Where fossil tree trunks pose a hazard, they should be removed (by people who know what they’re doing), but if they do not pose a hazard, please leave them where they are. Standing fossil tree stumps are dense and heavy. Large stumps can weigh several tons. They are generally not well cemented to the surrounding rock, so may unexpectedly fall out of exposed faces of rock in a creek bed, roadcut, or highwall. For these reasons, fossil stumps can be dangerous to remove from bedrock. It is also difficult to remove a whole stump, without damaging the fossil. In-place fossil stumps tend to fall out in pieces, so excavating them usually results in broken rock that has little value. The Kentucky Geological Survey does not post the locations of known standing fossil trees because many have been vandalized, removed for sale, or destroyed in futile attempts to find additional fossils associated with the trees. If standing tree stumps are left where they are, they still have educational and research value. Please leave them where they are unless there are safety concerns.

Report a Fossil Standing Tree Stump in Kentucky

If you think you’ve found a fossil standing tree stump, we’d appreciate knowing about it to add to our inventory and general knowledge. Please email Stephen Greb at the Kentucky Geological Survey, University of Kentucky.

  1. If possible, please provide a digital image of the fossil. Taking a picture with someone standing or with a yardstick nearby will help us judge the size of the stump.
  2. Please provide any location information you can.
  3. Please provide your contact information so that we can email you back if we have questions.

Thank you!


See Photographs of Standing Fossil Tree Trunks


Last Modified on 2023-01-05
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