Mud, Sun and Fossils

May 22nd, 2010

GREENVILLE, ALABAMA — Reconnaissance is over for this part of the state, and our work commenced this morning.  We want to find good sclerobiont communities above and below the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary, so here that means we want specimens from the Upper Cretaceous (Maastrichtian) Prairie Bluff Formation and the Paleocene (Danian) Clayton Formation.  That means plenty of muddy creekbeds and sun-smacked roadcuts.

Megan Innis (below) and Caroline Sogot (above) collecting bored and encrusted fossil oysters from the Prairie Bluff Formation in Mussel Creek (N 31.97259°, W 86.70387°).

Megan (in the fashionable yellow wellies) and Caroline collecting oysters from the Prairie Bluff Formation along Alabama 263 (N 32.04082°, W 86.79367°).

This would be a good time to mention that Caroline’s father is a famous magician in England with the stage name Jack Stephens.  We think this is very cool.  And I quickly add, Megan’s father Jeffrey is a famous pediatric geneticist at the University of Michigan.  We like that too!

This is the kind of fossil we like. It is a bivalve shell from the Clayton Formation (Tertiary, Danian) thoroughly bored by sponges. Unfortunately it is also well locked into this silicified rock matrix!

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