Black and white vintage photograph of a Daemonelix or devil's corkscrew, the burrow of an ancient beaver. The photo shows a man in long-sleeved shirt, long pants, knee-high boots, suspenders, and a broad-brimmed hat holding a pick. The pick and one of the man's foot are resting on the horizontal part of an infilled burrow that has been excavated from a hillside. Next to the man, a corkscrew-like burrow extends to the surface of the excavated hill. Other branches of the burrow complex can also be seen.

Nebraska Earth Science Quick Facts

Page snapshot: Nebraska State Geologic MapFossil; 3D modelsRock; Mineral; GemHighest and Lowest Elevations; Places to Visit; and Additional Resources.

Image above:Fossil burrows, known as Daemonelix (“devil’s corkscrew”), of the extinct beaver Palaeocastor. This large burrow was discovered in the late 19th century at Agate Fossil Beds National Monument. Photo of a vintage photo by James St. John (Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license, image resized).

Geologic Map of Nebraska

Geologic map of Nebraska.

Geologic map of Nebraska showing maximum ages of mappable units. Image by Jonathan R. Hendricks for the Earth@Home project developed using QGIS and USGS data (public domain) from Fenneman and Johnson (1946) and Horton et al. (2017).

Nebraska State Fossil: Mammuthus columbi

The state fossil of Nebraska is the Neogene Columbian mammoth, Mammuthus columbi.


Model of a Columbian mammoth outside the Nebraska State Museum of Natural History in Lincoln. Photograph by James St. John (Flickr; Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license).

3D Models of fossils from Nebraska

Fossil brachiopod specimen of Composita subtilita from the Pennsylvanian of Nebraska (PRI 76919). Specimen is from the collections of the Paleontological Research Institution, Ithaca, New York. Longest dimention of specimen is approximately 3 cm.

Nebraska State Rock: Prairie agate

Prairie agate is a semiprecious variety of chalcedony known for its lack of the coarse banding present in most types of agate. It is found in abundance in the Ogalalla National Grasslands.

Nebraska State Mineral: None

Nebraska does not have an official state mineral. What do you think it should be?

Nebraska State Gem: Blue agate

This dark blue variety of chalcedony often exhibits blue and white banding. Blue agates formed from wind-blown silt and claystone deposited during the Oligocene and are found in northwestern Nebraska.

Nebraska's Highest and Lowest Elevations

Topographic map of Nebraska.

Topographic map of Nebraska with physiographic regions and point of highest elevation identified. Topographic data are derived from the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM GL3) Global 90m (SRTM_GL3) (Farr, T. G., and M. Kobrick, 2000, Shuttle Radar Topography Mission produces a wealth of data. Eos Trans. AGU, 81:583-583).

Highest Elevation: Panorama Point

Panorama Point, located near the juncture of Colorado, Nebraska, and Wyoming, is the state’s highest point, with an elevation of 1655 meters (5,429 feet). Despite its name, this “point” is neither a peak nor a hill, but simply a rolling portion of the High Plains, marked only by an engraved stone and guest register.


Panorama Point, the location of highest elevation in Nebraska. Photograph by Jimmy Emerson (Flickr; Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic license).

Lowest Elevation: Missouri River

Nebraska’s lowest point, at 256 meters (840 feet) above sea level, is located along the Missouri River in Richardson County.

Places to Visit

Ashfall Fossil Beds State Historical Park

Royal, Nebraska.

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Photograph of a group of skeletons at Ashfall Fossil Beds State Park, Nebraska. The photo shows the articulated skeletons on rhinos laying scattered on the ground. The skeletons have been partially excavated so that they are exposed at the ground surface. They are preserved in a light gray rock. Each skeleton has been partially dug out of the rock, so it appears to be elevated on a pedestal.

Skeletons of the North American rhino Teleoceras major preserved in a Miocene ash deposit, Ashfall Fossil Beds State Park, Antelope County, Nebraska. Photo by Ammodramus (Wikimedia Commons, CC0 1.0 Universal/public domain dedication).

Agate Fossil Beds National Monument

Harrison, Nebraska.

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Photograph of a diorama at Agate Fossil Beds National Monument, Nebraska. The diorama shows reconstructions of four skeletons: two entelodonts ("hell pigs") standing side-by side, with a beardog also standing nearby. Laying on the ground in the background is a skeleton of a large Moropus. A painting in the background shows a vulture flying toward a kill.

Recreated skeletons of two large entelodonts (hell pigs, Daeodon) and a beardog (Daphoenodon), Miocene, Agate Fossil Beds National Monument, Sioux County, Nebraska. The skeleton laying in the background is Moropus (see below). Photo by Jllm06 (Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International license, image cropped).

University of Nebraska State Museum

University of Nebraska, Lincoln.

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Photograph of a skeleton of Bison antiquus taylori from the Pleistocene of Nebraska on display in a museum. The photo shows a large, hoofed animal standing on four legs. The spines on the vertebrate between the shoulder blades are very tall. The head is robust with two short horns extending horizontally, then turning upward. The tail is short. 

Bison antiquus, Pleistocene, Scotts Bluff County, Nebraska. Specimen on display in the Nebraska State Museum of Natural History, Lincoln, Nebraska. Photo by James St. John (flickr, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license, image cropped and resized).

Additional resources

Simple map showing the major physiographic regions of the northwest-central United States.

Earth@Home resources about Nebraska and nearby states:

Earth@Home resources about the Northwest Central region of the United States:

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