Sunday, 24 November 2013

Fossil-Hunting!


This week we started cracking the core – splitting it along the bedding planes – to search for fossils. With an experienced team from the British Geological Survey in Edinburgh we have made speedy progress and have sampled the lower 100 metres of the core so far. 

From left to right: Mike Browne, David Millward and Tony Irving hard at work

This work follows on from our month logging and sampling of the core at Keyworth. There, we recorded a sedimentary log of the entire core, and sampled for isotopes, palynology and thin sections from the working half of the core. During this process we noticed many fossils, so now we are systematically breaking up the working half of the core to record every fossil present. In the last week we have found numerous bivalves, ostracods, roots, burrows, fish debris, plant fossils and more!

Core sampling - from splitting this part of the core we found numerous bivalve, ostracod and plant fossils

A selection of some of the fossils we have found

My favourite fossil of the week was Stigmaria, which is the root of a lycopsid type tree. The find was unexpected and the entire core bedding surface was made up a compressed specimen of this root – in fact the whole specimen could be a metre long or more. It was exciting as it means that at this point there were large trees growing nearby. Through this fossil-hunting work we are discovering more and more about the environment in which the tetrapods lived and who they shared it with, which will enable us to reconstruct the ecosystem in which they evolved – fantastic!

Until next time 
Carys


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