Finally! An update…

So I must apologize for my lack of updates over the past month, but I just returned from a month long trip to the Montana and Wyoming area for field work (and a week of touring Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks, which were incredible, by the way) and I really didn’t have access to the internet during the trip. While there, I was able to locate and sample five microsites during my field work only one less than my intended number of six. I think I vastly underestimated the amount of time it would take to locate, record, and sample each microsite, so I was lucky to come away with five and not less. Of the five sites, I interpreted two to be of lacustrine (or pond/lake) origin and the three others were interpreted to be deposited in fluvial (river) environments. While in the field, I recorded the geology I observed at each of the microsites that I had found (to make a resonable and applicable interpretation of depositional environment) and proceeded to collect a 40 lb sample of rock from each, which are in the process of being disaggregated and sieved with .5 mm screen. In addition to the 5 microsites, I also collected one 40 lb surface sample (of fossils/sediment that already weathered out of formation from my third microsite (HC 10.03)) to compare how biased surface sampling can be, as opposed to quarrying directly out of the formation. It is commonly hypothesized that that surface collecting will significantly bias results because smaller, more fragile fossils are likely to be destroyed, though this has never been published in the  scientific literature. I also collected multiple gallon-sized samples (~5 lbs) from each site to try and map spacial and temporal variability  and sediment samples from each site, hoping to provide more evidence for the depositional environments.

Unfortunately, because I just returned with my samples, I really don’t have any other updates. The 40 lb sample from HC 10.01 has been, for the most part, completely screened down to .5 mm and is currently drying. One other 40 lb sample (HC 10.02) is currently soaking in the Geology Department storage facility underneath Zable–trust me it’s not as cool as it sounds–to disaggregate the rock and prepare it for sieving down to half of a mm. Hopefully within the next few weeks, I’ll be able to give an update that includes some of the microvertebrate fossils that were found in the sample.

Hope you all are surviving this nasty Williamsburg weather! Part of me is yearning for the cool, 40 degree nights of Montana that were only a few weeks ago.