Wheeler Shale


The Wheeler Shale (named by Charles Walcott) is a Cambrian (c. 507 Ma) fossil locality world-famous for prolific agnostid and Elrathia kingii trilobite remains (even though many areas are barren of fossils) and represents a Konzentrat-Lagerstätte. Varied soft bodied organisms are locally preserved, a fauna (including Naraoia, Wiwaxia and Hallucigenia) and preservation style (carbonaceous film) normally associated with the more famous Burgess Shale.As such, the Wheeler Shale also represents a Konservat-Lagerstätten.

Together with the Marjum Formation and lower Weeks Formation, the Wheeler Shale forms 490 to 610 m (1,610 to 2,000 ft) of limestone and shale exposed in one of the thickest, most fossiliferous and best exposed sequences of Middle Cambrian rocks in North America.

At the type locality of Wheeler Amphitheater, House Range, Millard County, western Utah, the Wheeler Shale consists of a heterogeneous succession of highly calcareous shale, shaley limestone, mudstone and thin, flaggy limestone. The Wheeler Formation (although the Marjum & Weeks Formations are missing) extends into the Drum Mountains, northwest of the House Range where similar fossils and preservation are found.