Today we headed back to the same basin for more prospecting and to try and excavate the nice bone we found yesterday. Unfortunately, the “nice” bone is buried under a sandstone ledge in some nasty hard siltstone. After an hour and a half of pounding on an inch wide chisel all I had uncovered was another six inches of bone…
Next I found a croc scute and two more sites with fossil bone. Tomorrow we will poke around and see if those new sites are worth collecting from.
At the end of the day we tied some firewood to the ATVs and hauled it back to camp.
Lindsay told everyone about the amazing rescue of the atv and the good news for our crew member. I wanted a few other highlights. First we got a new crew member today, David. Here he is with Eric before our hike today.
We looked for fossils in a small basin that we soon found was made of rock formed by shallow ocean water complete with beach, clams, and sharks. Here is a picture of the opposite side of our basin…what a view.
Here’s a picture of the large bed of clams and some crazy calcium carbonate deposit. Look at those pretty paralellograms.
In the excitement of yesterdays events we forgot to mention the coolest fossil find. This is a picture of a fossil crocodile track as it scraped the bottom of a tidal river swimming through shallow coastal swamp. This animal would be over 20 feet long. Think of a salt water croc.
With one atv down, tomorow i will take a group up to a cretaceous fossil lake with algae deposits. Cool!!!
This morning we spent three hours pulling the lost ATV up the cliff. The good news is, it was still drivable and we were able to get it back to camp, sort of in one piece. The handle bars and the frame are bent up so this one is out of commission.
Nonetheless, one rider down, we trudged on. We stopped to prospect a basin with spectacular views.
After several hours of prospecting we finally hit paucity–an area of the basin with ancient river channels and overbank deposits. Inside of these sediments we found lots of bone: turtle, dinosaur, and crocodile. The bone was a rare and beatific shade of peach on the outside and black on the inside. Here’s a shot of a pelvic bone from a plant eating dinosaur sticking out from beneath a sandstone.
There is a strange juxtaposition as one stares at the Book Cliffs. They look so small in the distance, five miles away. Yet at their feet you feel so small staring up the five hundred foot edifice.
The dinosaurs we are hunting lie at the top of the cliffs with a confusing labrynth of roads criss-crossing the valley and only one leading to the top.
After provisioning in Grand Junction, Colorado we headed out toward the Book Cliffs for the night. Tonight we are sitting by the camp fire between Green River and Grand Junction on our way to western utah near a lake narry looked at by paleontologists for dinosaurs.
Visit tomorrow for pictures of our next field site.