Sierra College’s DeCourten revisits dinosaur days |

Sierra College’s DeCourten revisits dinosaur days

Frank DeCourten is a dinosaur aficionado.
Courtesy photo |

TAHOE/TRUCKEE, Calif. — Sierra College Earth Science Professor Frank DeCourten recently released the second edition of his book “Dinosaurs of Utah.” The first edition was released in 1998.

Barnes and Noble wrote, “More than 100 of author Frank DeCourten’s meticulous line drawings illustrate fossil remains and various features of dinosaur anatomy, as do five stunning paintings by Carel Brest van Kempen.

“More than 40 color landscape photographs by John Telford and Frank DeCourten show modern geologic contexts in most parts of the state and emphasize the dynamic nature of the region’s geologic history. There is also a series of detailed maps, including several new to this edition, that show the tremendous topographical shifts that occurred within the Mesozoic era from the early Triassic to the late Cretaceous periods, a span of over 175 million years.

“This second edition of Dinosaurs of Utah enlivens our understanding of these amazing vanished creatures by explaining them and their world to us. It moves beyond the often superficial representations that have been so relevant and more accurately portrays the variety of dinosaurs that once roamed the region now known as Utah.”

The updated second edition of “Dinosaurs of Utah” was recently released by the University of Utah Press, and is available at bookstores now.


Frank L. DeCourten has been Professor of Earth Science at Sierra College in Grass Valley and Rocklin, Calif., since 1993. Prior to arriving at Sierra College, DeCourten taught at the University of Utah and served as assistant director of the Utah Museum of Natural History.

DeCourten has also taught in the geology programs at California State University, Sacramento and Chico and the University of Nevada.

Frank earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s of Science degrees from University of California, Riverside, and has done additional graduate study at the University of Utah and the University of Colorado.

His geological research has focused on the paleontology and regional geology of the western United States including the Pacific Coast, the Sierra Nevada, the Great Basin, and the Colorado Plateau.

His research has resulted in 19 technical publications in geology and paleontology, four books (“Earth Essays,” “Shadows of Time,” “Dinosaurs of Utah,” and “The Broken Land”) and three educational videos. DeCourten also authored two textbook supplements, “Geology of Northern California” (2009) and “Geology of Southern California” (2010) that are utilized on college campuses across California.

His most current writing project in a new book entitled “Roadside Geology of Nevada” will be published by Mountain Press in 2015.

An experienced field geologist and researcher, DeCourten has designed and led geological excursions and symposia for numerous scientific and natural history organizations including the National Park Service, the Geological Society of America, the National Association of Geoscience Teachers, the Sierra Club, the Audubon Society, the National Wildlife Federation, the National Geographic Society, and the Squaw Valley Institute.


Sierra College serves 3,200 square miles of Northern California with campuses in Roseville, Rocklin, Grass Valley, and Truckee.

With approximately 125 degree and certificate programs, Sierra College is ranked first in Northern California (Sacramento north) for transfers to four year Universities, offers career/technical training, and classes for upgrading job skills. Sierra graduates can be found in businesses and industries throughout the region. More information at

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