Sunday, 29 September 2013

Core study week 1 – a journey into the past

This week we started our logging and sampling of the 500 metre core that we drilled earlier this year. Starting from the base of the core we recorded the types of sediment and its properties, while sampling approximately every metre.

The quality of geological information you can see in the core compared to field exposures is truly remarkable. Some of the amazing features we were able to see in detail were palaeosols, cementstones and clay-rich sediments that are normally weathered and hard to see. We found a lot of fossil plant material and a variety of other fossils including a fairly large bone fragment and many ostracods!

While we are studying the core we are constantly thinking about what the rocks can tell us about how they formed: for example the presence of palaeosols tells us that conditions were drying out at times, with the establishment of land plants – it really is a journey into the past. Using this core we hope to uncover what life was like for tetrapods during the Early Carboniferous and what other creatures were living alongside them during that time.

It is amazing to be working at the Core Store where all the cores from the UK are stored, along with samples collected over 100 years ago – so much geology in one place! 

The core working team, from left to right: Emma Reves, Andrea Snelling, Carys Bennett, Tim Kearsey.

Keep following as we update you on what we find.

Until next time

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Countdown to core

On the 5th September the TW:eed Project team met up at the Core Store of the British Geological Survey, where all 502 metres of the newly drilled borehole were set out for us to examine. This was a preliminary look at the core and group discussion of the first results, before work starts next week. After a long wait since drilling finished at the end of May, we can finally start our detailed study, very exciting!

It was fantastic to see the wonderful quality of the rock that we have drilled. The core has been cut in two with a rock saw, revealing the ‘fresh’ rock within. The whole core has been photographed and a summary sedimentary log recorded at the drill site. Features that were hard to see in the field because of seaweed cover like palaeosols and thin fossil-rich beds were very clear. Below are two images of the core, and you can see more on the @TetrapodWorld Twitter profile. 

Cross-bedded white sandstones

A close-up image of a fossil-rich silt unit – I think I can see ostracods in there! 

Next week we will start detailed logging and sampling of the core, keeping half the core untouched as a record, and taking small samples from the other half. The core working team comprises myself and Tim Kearsey (BGS), who will log the core, and new team members Emma Rathbone (University of Southampton, working on palynology) and Andrea Snelling (BGS, working on isotopes) who will sample the core and record fossils. We will spend a month working through the core – and with such fantastic material there are sure to be lots of new discoveries!

Why are we working on this core? Re-visit Tim Kearsey’s blog 15million years in 56 days to find out.

Other News
We recently held a project meeting where team members presented their latest results and research progress. We were delighted to welcome Project Partner Mike Coates from the University of Chicago, a tetrapod and rhizodont expert and the artist of our fantastic Ribbo image which is the blog background. It is amazing to see how quickly the project is progressing as we enter our second year of research.

If you live near Edinburgh do pop down to the BGS Open Day on Saturday 28th September where you can hear all about the TW:eed project from Dave Millward.

Learn more about geology at the BGS Open Day!

You can now visit the TW:eed Project on Facebook, please ‘like’ us! Even if you don’t have a Facebook account you can still catch up with the latest.

Until next time