Geology/Paleontology Collection

This volcanic bomb formed when a volcano near Flagstaff ejected viscous lava during an explosive eruption. The spindle or football shape originated as the molten rock tumbled and spun in the air before reaching the ground. [MNA5743]
Ancestral Puebloan farmers were near Sunset Crater when it erupted around AD 1085. Archaeologists found more than 50 lava rocks with impressions of prehistoric corn at sites near Flagstaff. Experiments suggest that some were made deliberately by placing ears of corn as offerings near small spattercones. [NA860.75]

See the collection online


The Museum of Northern Arizona maintains a small geology collection that contains approximately 4,000 mineral, rock and meteorite samples. In addition to rock and mineral types commonly found on the Colorado Plateau the collection also includes samples from outside the region.


The Museum of Northern Arizona (MNA) holds approximately 150,000 paleontology specimens (fossil invertebrates, vertebrates, plants and tracks and traces) from most of the fossil bearing geologic units in the region. The collection, which contains 181 holotypes and more than 4,250 published and/or illustrated specimens, is the basis for scores of scientific technical papers on the paleontology and geology of the area.

Fossil vertebrate collection strengths include:

Significant fossil invertebrate holdings include specimens from:

Ichnology (fossil tracks and trails) collection strengths include:

Paleobotany (fossil plant) collection contains numerous specimens from: