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.

A Hot One – #Paleontology Field Work 2018 – Day 12

Today’s plan was developed with the day’s forecast in mind: ridiculously hot and sunny (but a dry heat, right?).

We started in the morning at a locality we hadn’t been to before and spent two hours finding nothing (in the way of fossils), until we stumbled upon this lovely fossil horse.

I promise, it’s a horse. An ancestor of modern horses, anyway.

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Fossil Soils – #Paleontology Field Work 2018 – Days 7 and 8

The past two days have been all about soils Paleosols. Fossil soils.

Soils, as they develop, often concentrate calcium carbonate (calcite) nodules as they mature. These paleosol carbonates preserve geochemical evidence for ancient climate and vegetation, so when I find these little nodules, I collect them for analysis.

So, while my friends dig for bones, I walk about and find nodules wherever I can.

Paleosols can be lovely…

Looking up at the bottom of the Duchesne River Formation. The maroon rocks are an ancient soil.

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The Eocene – #Paleontology Field Work 2018 – Day 6

I didn’t post last night because I was tired. But now this morning I have some energy, so I will post about yesterday.

Yesterday was my first day in the field in the Uinta Basin this year. We decided, just for giggles, to bop down to a rock unit lower than our study area because there are abundant leaves and bugs and other things to be seen. The unit is called the Green River Formation, and is famous elsewhere for yielding beautiful fish fossils.

Happiness is collecting fossils with friends!

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There and Back Again – #Paleontology Field Work 2018 – Days 3, 4, and 5

The past three days, I’ve caught myself in a wireless signal vacuum, which is why I’m only now writing something.

Two days ago (day 3, for those counting), I drove through the rest of Nebraska and into Wyoming until my stopping point at the Virginian Hotel in Medicine Bow, Wyoming. There I met up with colleagues and spent the evening drinking beers and talking about the Paleocene-Eocene Boundary. Continue reading