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Arthur Lakes (December 21, 1844 – November 21, 1917) was a notable geologist, artist, writer, teacher and minister. He captured much of his geological and palaeontological field work in sketches and watercolours. Lakes is credited with successfully deciphering much of the geology of Colorado and, as an economic geologist, guiding mineral exploration which was so important to the State.[1]

Arthur Lakes
BornDecember 21, 1844
Martock, Somerset, England
DiedNovember 21, 1917 (1917-11-22) (aged 72)
Alma materThe Queen's College, Oxford
Scientific career
InstitutionsColorado School of Mines

He was a part-time professor at what later became the Colorado School of Mines. Having sent a fossilized vertebra specimen (from the Morrison Formation of Dakota, US) to Othniel Charles Marsh, in 1877, he was then employed by Marsh to seek other discoveries, in the so-called Bone Wars. He went on to unearth fossilized remains of Stegosaurus, Apatosaurus, Camptosaurus and Allosaurus.

Sketch of bones in skeleton by Arthur Lakes, 1879

Although he was employed by Marsh, Lakes was visited by Marsh's Bone Wars opponent Edward Drinker Cope, while working at Como Bluff. Although it was the last thing he intended, Lakes was the cause of increased animosity between Cope and Marsh, by co-operating with both. Lakes made the original discovery of the fossils in the formation of the Dinosaur Ridge near Morrison, Colorado. Lakes also drilled several test oil wells in the Golden and Morrison area, however they were not successful producing wells.

During this time, he also worked as a teacher at what is now the Colorado School of Mines and as a clergyman. When he retired from fossil hunting, he went on to work for the U.S. Geological Survey. He edited a succession of geological and mining journals. His byline appears on over 800 newspaper and journal articles. Lakes and his two well-educated sons eventually went into business as mining engineers, relocating from Colorado to Ymir, British Columbia, in 1912. Arthur Lakes died there in 1917, still "tanned from the outdoors life he led." [2][3][4]

Awards and honorsEdit

Lakes's sketch of expedition members in Como Bluff

The Arthur Lakes Library at the Colorado School of Mines is named in his honor.

Lakes was inducted into the National Mining Hall of Fame in Leadville, Colorado, in September 2010.


  • Prospecting for Gold and Silver in North America (1896)
  • Geology of Colorado Ore Deposits (1888)


  1. ^ "Lakes Tour 01". Archived from the original on January 7, 2009. Retrieved 2009-02-05. accessed February 5, 2009
  2. ^ Jaffe, Mark The Gilded Dinosaur: The Fossil War Between E.D. Cope and O.C. Marsh and the Rise of American Science. New York, NY: Crown Publishing Group/Random House, 1999. ISBN 0-517-70760-8
  3. ^ accessed February 5, 2009
  4. ^ accessed February 5, 2009

External linksEdit