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You are browsing the archive for trace fossils Archives - Mountain Beltway.

26 March 2018

Raider of the Lost Anticlines

A solo hike in search of anticlines yields new outcrops and good views!

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17 January 2018

Winter ichnology puzzle

Here’s a puzzler to warm up your chilly brain this Wednesday morning: Click to enlarge Figure out the story told by this set of imprints in the snow. The branch of science called ichnology studies the traces organisms leave behind. There’s a neat little story here. If you’ve got a guess, then you can check your answer by watching the video that this screenshot came from. It was posted on …

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9 March 2017

Lugworm casts on the beach, Islay

Who dwells beneath the sands of Islay? Lugworms do. These embedded annelids process the sediment for food, extruding the undigested sand in charismatic piles that adorn the beach of Loch Gruinart.

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8 December 2016

Silent samples, holey samples

Two very different samples tell stories that are full of holes. What’s going on with this weathered sandstone? What’s going on with this fossil scallop shell?

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3 October 2016

A virtual field trip to Rathlin Island, Northern Ireland

Rathlin Island lies north of mainland Northern Ireland, a few miles offshore. I spent three lovely days there this past summer, investigating the geology and appreciating the wildlife (puffins and other sea birds, and seals). The geology is pretty straightforward: Paleogene basalt overlying Cretaceous “chalk” (really not so chalky here – technically, it’s the Ulster White Limestone). Here’s a suite of interactive imagery that you can use to explore Rathlin’s …

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31 August 2016

Ball & pillow and other sedimentary structures in Graafwater Formation, Table Mountain

In Cape Town for the International Geological Congress, Callan hikes up Table Mountain and finds some superb primary sedimentary structures in sands and shales of the Graafwater Formation.

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4 July 2016

Virtual field trip to Kinkell Braes, Scotland

Walking along the shore east from St. Andrews, Scotland, along the seaside sandstones of Kinkell Braes, you encounter several extraordinary examples of geology. It’s a great place for the next stop on our Grand Tour of the geology of the British Isles. Here’s the scene: The first stop is a giant eurypterid trackway, potentially the largest invertebrate trackway in the world (Whyte, 2005), on the underside of an overhanging sandstone …

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29 June 2016

Trace fossils in sandstone from Barns Ness

Check out this sandstone cobble I saw at Barns Ness – it comes bearing gorgeous trace fossils. Can you spot them? Lens cap for scale in all these photos. The next three are close ups of the burrows from the previous image: Plus two more, from other cobbles I encountered::

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28 June 2016

“Dunbar marble” at Barns Ness, Scotland

Thanks to the website ScottishGeology.com, run by Angus Miller, I learned of Barns Ness, a Mississippian-aged limestone fossil site on the shore not far from where we are staying at Dunbar. We ventured out there on Saturday afternoon, in search of fossils. The presence of the Dunbar Cemenet Works nearby is an indication that this is the most extensive limestone outcrop in central Scotland. I set my field assistant loose …

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23 June 2016

Mega-trace fossils in the floor of the Old Bushmills Distillery, Northern Ireland

We arrived at Old Bushmills at 4:06pm, and the last tour of the distillery for the day had left at 4:00. But all was not lost – We were delighted to see that the visitor center area was paved in slabs of shale with tremendously large, well-preserved trace fossils – sinuous burrows parallel to the bedding plane, in some cases cross-cutting or looping back over themselves! Great stuff – balm …

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