10 February 2011

Treasure trove of traces

Posted by Callan Bentley

Here’s an amazing sight that caught me unawares in Capadoccia — some paving stones outside a small “museum” (preserved Byzantine hoodoo church) that were chock full of some AMAZING trace fossils. Sense of scale is provided by a Turkish 1-lira coin, about the same size as a U.S. quarter. Check out the variety, size, and preservation quality of these gorgeous things:

These are “negatives” — molds of depressions that were formed as a new layer (ultimately tougher) of sand was deposited on top of what was probably originally mud. So where the original features were trough-like, we now see raised ridges. They have been inverted, and our “view” is looking “up” as far as deposition was concerned.

Also some ripple marks (inverted: this is a “bottom up” view like the traces above):

Current would have been flowing from the bottom of the photo towards the top, as the asymmetry of these ripples has the steep side facing “up” before the inverted “mold” was formed. Assuming you’re sitting upright right now as you read this, if you had been lying on the seafloor (?) when these strata were deposited, the current would have been flowing up your nostrils.