Thursday, July 3, 2008

June 21 Continued

It is quarry day. We have a lot of overburden to remove, and a wall to take back, so it will be a hot day with lots of heavy lifting, hauling, pounding and picking. This is what it looks like working….

Toni and Tim. Grad students and volunteers are good slave labor!

…and this is what it looks like when they pose for my camera…

Here they are posing between swings, looking relaxed and refreshed. This is how you know it either isn’t totally awful, or that I have threatened them….

It is really hot work, as you can imagine. I love to watch these guys…some of whom have never camped, and, because this is mainly an NCSU group, some of whom have never been out of the south…but it is, believe it or not, a healthy lifestyle, working outdoors in the sun all day, (beats playing computer games) and then coming back, eating lots, and falling into bed. Sometimes I wonder why people like this life, and come back to volunteer year after year. Then, I think it must have something to do with this…the freedom, the hard work, it is rare to find this in the cities where most of these guys live.

We have been joined by my colleague Clive, from the UK. He quarries right along side the rest, and has been GREAT to have out here. Because Clive is like me, a rather non-traditional paleontologist more into analytical, chemical ‘stuff’ than the descriptive science that characterizes most of paleo, we have a lot to talk about, mostly boring stuff like methodology, chemical paramters, conditions resulting in preservation, etc. He has provided great input for my students, and lots of ideas for me. And, the best part is always the collaborations that result from discussions in quarries or around campfires. So, we will aim for a paper or two out of this. I am really glad that he came, and we will all be sorry to see him go.

My colleague Clive, working alongside Toni, with a ready smile, always, no matter how tired. Clive, you are always welcome here!

I love the story the rocks tell. This is the back quarry wall. Can you see the change in texture?

My geology friends tell me that our quarry represents point bar deposits, and the switch from sandstone to clay is where the ancient river changed direction, and consequently, energy. I wish I knew more geology. Especially out here, where the rocks are so exposed and not covered with vegetation, they tell such a story, and help me understand the world of the past.

No comments: