Archive for June 30th, 2009

Estonia Geology Research Team in Place (More or Less)

June 30th, 2009

KOGUVA, MUHU ISLAND, ESTONIA–We are spending our first night together in a small model village (N58.59638°, E23.08559°) designed to show what farming life was like in 19th century Estonia. Our rooms have rough-hewn wooden walls, rope mouldings, and iron bedsteads. We’re a bit concerned that we will have to milk cows before breakfast. The weather is simply perfect.

In the photo below you see Bill Ausich (on the left), a paleontologist from The Ohio State University, Mark Wilson, Palmer Shonk, and Rob McConnell. You may see Rob in these clothes for awhile. In his epic journey here from Montana, his luggage has yet to arrive!

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Pillows, Pillows, Everywhere

June 30th, 2009

Today, we spent nearly all day mapping and sampling one pillow quarry. We found that the pillows are highly varied in size, shape, and orientation. Todd is interested in understanding the relationship between pillow morphology and the physical properties of the magma. He hypothesizes that magma viscosity plays a large role in controlling pillow size. To test his hypothesis, he and his trusty field assistants (Adam and Rob) measured the dimensions and orientations of several pillows. They also sampled the interior and glassy rinds so that Todd can analyze the geochemistry when we return to the States. Tomorrow = another day = another quarry.

Adam, Rob, and Todd working in the pillow quarry.

Adam, Rob, and Todd working in the pillow quarry.

Thoughts on Leaving Svalbard

June 30th, 2009

Peaks of Spitsbergen, Svalbard, poking up through the clouds as we took off for Oslo.

Peaks of Spitsbergen, Svalbard, poking up through the clouds as we took off for Oslo.

I’m now in Tallinn, Estonia, awaiting the arrival of Bill Ausich (OSU Professor), Rob McConnell, and Palmer Shonk (intrepid Wooster Senior Independent Study students). Our fieldwork will begin tomorrow once the team is assembled with our Estonian host, Olev Vinn (University of Tartu).

Yesterday I spent several more hours with paleontologist Hans Arne Nakrem of the Natural History Museum in Oslo. We had excellent discussions of possible joint projects with material from Svalbard, and even me joining a future expedition there. (I know what to expect now!) There are very interesting Jurassic carbonates which need analysis for bioerosion and other trace fossils. It is also clear that many of the numerous marine reptile skeletons, especially the common ichthyosaurs, have invertebrates associated with them and other odd features beyond the vertebrate paleontology. Hans Arne and I have discussed exchanging students during the summers, and the easy framework the University of Norway has for visiting scholars in the summer. We’ve opened new doors for future Wooster geology research. In combination with the Alaska and Iceland teams, we’re gaining quite the northern exposure!