On FIRE! – #Paleontology Field Work 2018 – Days 9 and 10

One challenge of doing field work in the high desert is the risk of fire, and this is what we have right now.

The Dollar Ridge Fire started two days ago, unbeknownst to us, about 80 miles from our field area. Late last night, we noticed the smell of smoke in camp.

Smoky sunset

Soon after, alerts hit our phones and we started making phone calls to find out what was really happening.

That’s not a cloud bank. That’s smoke!

It turns out we’re safe, but we had to think carefully about plans for the next day. The fire remains uncontained, spreading rapidly due to high winds, but we continued fieldwork, nevertheless.
Meanwhile, here are a few highlights from the last two days:

Working diligently in a transient patch of sun.

A funnel cloud on a sunny day..

You almost can’t even see the funnel cloud (or dust devil in this part of the world). It’s about 1/3 of the way from the left across the photo.

View from the outcrop this afternoon, just before I collected…

Do you see the four cars out there? That’s where my lunch was waiting for me.

This neat turtle.

Turtle at the transition between the Uinta Formation and the Duchesne River Formation.

Tonight we’re in Vernal for the night, so we can take showers and resupply after a full week in the field. The Dollar Ridge Fire continues to grow, and a second fire has started closer to Vernal. Hopefully, neither will interrupt our plan to head back out tomorrow afternoon.

Smokey sunset in Vernal.

Wish us luck!

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About Penny

Scientist (Paleontology, Geochemistry, Geology); Writer (Speculative and Science Fiction, plus technical and non-technical Science); Mom to great boy on the Autism spectrum; possessor of too many hobbies.

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