Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Coastal Paleontologist is back; Field Camp, Part 1

Well, ladies and gentlemen, I'm finally back from my teaching assistantship for MSU's 2009 Geology Field Camp. It was definitely a blast, possibly even more fun than I originally thought it would be. Three flat tires, an engine running on 5 of 8 cylinders, several scrapes and bruises, a sprained ankle, and a case of Giardia and E. coli in tandem (yes, one person, simultaneously), we finally made it through the month of geological and paleontological experiences. Keep posted; I'm going to have a bunch of posts published on the site electronically while I'm on a road trip to California this week.

The first week was spent recording a 200 M measured section at Bozeman Pass, through the Cretaceous Kootenai (=Cloverly Formation), Thermopolis, and Muddy Sandstone Formations.
MSU geology students trenching through the basal sandstones of the Kootenai Formation (roughly equivalent to the infamous KK1 map unit).

MSU geology students still trenching; they've unearthed an ash bed in their trench, which is the yellow sediment.
Intraformational thrust sheets and faults (sometimes called 'horses') within the Kk2 unit of the Kootenai Formation.

Cary Woodruff ambling down a hillside of the late Eocene Renova Formation (Tr) on his crutches. He had sprained his ankle the previous week, and was assigned an alternate project: this is a famous locality of the Renova Formation, first prospected around 1900 by Earl Douglass.

Partial mammal skeleton within the Renova Formation (Tr).

A mammal bone within the Renova Formation (Tr). It is difficult to see in this photo (and it doesn't help that I forgot to add an arrow), but there are rodent gnaw marks on this bone, nearly directly above the '10' on the scalebar, right where the shadow ends on the left hand side of the bone.More intraformational thrusts within the Permian Phosphoria (Pp) Formation.

MSU students taking strike and dip on the Gastropod Limestone, otherwise known as Kk4 or the top of the Kootenai Formation. This is a laterally extensive freshwater limestone loaded with gastropods.More intraformational thrusts within Kk4.

A dinosaur bone (tibia?) within the basal conglomerate of Kk1. This bone is directly on the erosional unconformity between Kk1 and 'Jm'. 'Jm' is the Morrison Formation, famous for gigantic sauropod dinosaurs, Stegosaurus, Ceratosaurus, and Allosaurus. This bone is not likely reworked from the Morrison Fm., as the Morrison doesn't really have any fossils locally. Our professor, Dave Lageson, just calls this unit "Jim", and insists that it was named for Jim Morrison, the 'lizard king'.


Brian Lee Beatty said...

It is really good to have you back... one summer devoted to getting papers submitted is important, but blogs seem to be the main escape for me.... don't go anymore.
Field camp looks like it was great - although after having gotten Giardia in West Africa (Senegal) myself in 1998, I can say that whoever that is, you have my sympathy. Giardia sucks, period.

Robert Boessenecker said...

Haha, I'll try not to. Fortunately for you and your situation, there are going to be five or six (and possibly seven) posts in a row, one per day this week.

Ya... I really hope that the Giardia was a false positive, because if not, that means that most of us have it, because we all drank from the same water source (unless he got some bad water somehow).