Thursday, September 5, 2013

North Otago/South Canterbury field visits

A few weeks ago, Ewan invited us to go into the field - mostly as a field tour rather than a dedicated collecting trip. All in all, Tsai, Morgan, new student Josh Corrie, and I went out with Ewan and we visited a number of localities including Kakanui, Awamoa Beach, the Waihao Greensand and Kokoamu/Otekaike LS interval in the Waihao valley, Haugh's Quarry, the Earthquakes, and Kokoamu Bluff. It was a great opportunity to see some old localities that have been more or less cleaned out, but where many of the important specimens from our respective Ph.D. theses were collected from.

Kakanui beach is the type locality of the squalodontid Tangaroasaurus kakanuiensis - it was originally thought to be a marine reptile by professor Benham, but is pretty obviously a cetacean according to various studies by Ewan and others.

Ewan and Morgan Churchill looking through concretions at Awamoa Beach. All we found were invertebrates, and several mermaids purses on the beach.

A mussel (Mytilus) in a concretion of the Mt. Harris Formation.

Josh Corrie and Ewan looking for bones in the Kokoamu Greensand along the Waihao River.

An isolated bone in the Kokoamu Greensand.

Some interesting bluffs of Otekaike Limestone in the Waihao Valley.

View to the south from Myer's Pass, looking down into the Hakataramea Valley.

A Zeacolpus (Turritellidae) from the Otekaike Limestone at Haugh's Quarry.

After some rainy weather, the limy sediment washes away leaving a pavement of shells and shell fragments along the quarry floor. A short window during the spring exists between the last extensive rains and the start of quarry operations in early summer; the rest of the year it's generally not possible to find these nice accumulations.

A gorgeous Guildfordia gastropod from the Otekaike Limestone at Haugh's Quarry. It's one of three large, low spired gastropods from the quarry, and one of the most attractive fossil mollusks. This one was one of the only specimens we brought back.

Josh (blue), Ewan (red) and Tsai (green) walk along the quarry looking for bones and teeth.

Ewan, Tsai, and Josh walking along the cliffs at the Earthquakes. The locality got its name because it does somewhat resemble a gigantic, cartoon-like fissure, about a half kilometer wide and 100 m or so wide, with numerous large house-sized blocks littering the valley floor. A large squalodontid and a beautiful eomysticetid from my dissertation were collected here.

The rest of the gang looking across at an odontocete locality in the base of a huge cliff at the Earthquakes. This was probably the most spectacular - in terms of scenery - locality I've visited here in NZ.

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