The field expedition to the Mussentuchit and the Crystal Geyser Quarry in Utah was a success. Sometimes spending three weeks together with the same small group of people can be questionable. One person can ruin the entire mood. This was not one of those trips and I am happy to say that many specimens were collected and brought safely back to the museum for preparation.
The first task was to determine which specimens should be placed at the top of the preparation list. The three unguals collected at the crystal geyser quarry were selected as highest priority. One of them will be molded and cast as a thank you to our rockethub feulers.
Last day in the quarry with one task, to get the last large jacket down and into the truck. Started questioning why we made such a big jacket. Hopefully this strategy with pay off back in the lab.
We isolated an area with a concentration of bones, both large and small. Larger bones are always easier to identify in the field and can be preserved much easier, but are harder to move, while smaller bones are usually more fragile, break easily and don’t show themselves until it is too late. Our goal is to be able to go through the rock more slowly in the lab using microscope and fine tools and hopefully be able to find and preserve some more delicate parts of the skull and smaller animals. The only question is whether those elements are contained in this large and heavy block of rock we are transporting from this remote location back to the Lab at the Nature Research Center.
We managed to maneuver the block on the iron duck first down a steep hill, then up a smaller one then down a really steep one, then across a flattish wash, then down the big cliff. Don’t want to have to do that again anytime soon. Took some pictures along the way. Enjoy!
Strapping the jacket to the stretcher. This one is pushing 300 lbs.
Woke up last night to rain in my tent. Wasn’t expecting that. Much better with the fly up. However, fly traps all the heat. This desert doesn’t cool off very well at night, especially with cloud cover.
Getting ready for last full day in quarry. Probably hardest day so far. Mentally preparing to haul out two large field jackets. Four people, one iron duck, some straps, and determination. The jacket will come down one way or another.
We are on day four of quarry work at the Feathered Dinosaur Death Pit (AKA Crystal Geyser Quarry). We are calling it the “Hell Pit” due to the over 100 degree temperatures that have been a daily standard. Had a small period of refreshment yesterday with a swim in the Green River and a trip to town to restock water and food supplies. Have been finding many bones in the quarry. We will keep digging for more.