Discovered in 2010 by construction workers during a planned expansion of the reservoir, the assemblage was quickly brought to the attention of scientists at the, “To find such an exquisite fossil site from this time period at this elevation is virtually unheard of,” says. What happened to them? “When it’s not freezing, there won’t be snow to accumulate,” said AGCI executive director John Katzenberger. It was a joyous time, despite the wintry weather.”, Coordinating the army of scientists, construction workers and volunteers was no easy task, but the effort paid off. Any copying, redistribution or retransmission of any of the contents of this service without the expressed written permission of the American Geosciences Institute is expressly prohibited. Still, “there was a lot to learn about how this particular project needed to be done, especially how to record the location of the bones as they came out of the ground,” Wagner says. Then, that Friday night, the damp chill turned rain to snow — large, wet snowflakes fell overnight and for the next two days, thoroughly coating the green, late-summer landscape. Telling mastodon fossils apart from mammoth fossils can be tricky, with some bones more readily distinguishable than others. The Snowmastodon site was dominated by forests and mastodons during this time period and beyond, up until about 100,000 years ago. Markalunas’ observations are supported by other data, analyses and studies that paint a picture of a changing local climate. All told, it is the most productive high-elevation Pleistocene fossil site ever discovered. Clearly, Aspen isn’t the only ski resort facing an existential crisis. “(Climate change is) impacting us, but so far we’ve been able to adapt,” said Burkley. The program trains interested laypeople in the art of collecting, studying and curating fossils, one of the only programs like it in the world. The USGS (U.S. Geological Survey) publishes a set of topographic maps of the U.S. commonly known as US Topo Maps. The oldest layers the researchers dated were about 140,000 years old. may be different as well. Summer snow covering the Northern Hemisphere receded from 10.28 million square miles at its peak in 1979 to a low of 3.69 million miles in 2013, according to Climate Central’s website Like others, the biggest change that Rich Burkley, SkiCo’s senior vice president of strategy and business development, has seen in his 30-year career is more variability. The only reason there was enough snow to race on was extra early-season snowmaking that at the time was considered excessive. An initiative of the Center for Environmental Journalism at the University of Colorado Boulder. Markalunas likes to say that Aspen’s weather is “consistently inconsistent.” But he started noticing a difference in patterns in the 1980s — in particular, less-frequent below-zero temperatures. This story was originally published by Aspen Journalism on December 18, 2019. From about 87,000 to about 60,000 years ago, the site was dominated by grasslands and mammoths. It also spurred massive investments in technologies to battle drought impacts, such as snowmaking and cloud-seeding. The Snowmastodon site was discovered in October 2010 by a bulldozer driver working with the Snowmass Water & Sanitation District who was excavating the soft mud at the bottom of the Ziegler Reservoir just west of Snowmass Village.