To the Victor Goes the Spoils…

July 16th, 2010

The Utah gang was back at it in the Green River Formation, which is exposed in one of the cuestas in the Sanpete Valley. It was a wonderful 100 degrees by midafternoon, and I think that even the fossil ostracodes were beginning to sweat. Our goal today was to investigate a couple of quarries, and first thing in the morning, Jesse found an very intriguing stromatolite layer about 5 feet above the top of our first quarry. There were smaller stromatolites, which provided a base for the much larger stromatolites.

This photo highlights the size differences between the stromatolites that were found within the same interval in our first quarry.  A penny in the photo is used for scale.

This photo highlights the size differences between the stromatolites that were found within the same interval in our first quarry. A penny in the photo is used for scale.

Elizabeth noticed that several centimeters of the surface of some stromatolites had a very interesting tube-like fabric.  We cannot wait to get this back to the Wooster lab for some additional work to identify these structures (and for some expert opinions from Dr. Wilson!!).

Elizabeth noticed that several centimeters of the surface of some stromatolites had a very interesting tube-like fabric. We cannot wait to get this back to the Wooster lab for some additional work to identify these structures (and for some expert opinions from Dr. Wilson!!).

We were able to look at three different quarries within the cuesta. While Elizabeth and I were working in quarry #2, Jesse went to one of the other cuestas in the Sanpete Valley for some recon work on the quality of the stromatolites there. The Black Hill quarry that Jesse visited is enormous, but he reported back that the quantity of stromatolites was disappointing. So, we hiked to quarry #3, where Elizabeth attracted yet another scorpion. (As I have learned, Elizabeth seems to have a real gift for attracting scorpions, wasps, huge bees, and fire ants.)

Quarry #3 was great!! Although we were supposed to be looking for mudcracks, our attention strayed. First, we were fascinated that the small scorpion seemed to be very angry at Elizabeth for flipping over a stromatolite (its home), and seemed to chase her. But, then things got very interesting…The scorpion rested near a small bush, and before you knew it, a lizard was stalking the scorpion. In a flash of an eye, we watched the lizard grab the scorpion and run away with the prize, all the while capturing everything with the camera. National Geographic, here I come!!

Notice the small lizard in the top center of the photo.  This was the instant that the lizard grabbed the scorpion from between the small bush.  Things in the photo are a little fuzzy, because the lizard moved so quickly.

Notice the small lizard in the top center of the photo. This was the instant that the lizard grabbed the scorpion from between the small bush. Things in the photo are a little fuzzy, because the lizard moved so quickly.

Our fierce lizard scrambled to a nearby rock to celebrate its find.  Sadly, the scorpion had no chance.

Our fierce lizard scrambled to a nearby rock to celebrate its find. Sadly, the scorpion had no chance.

4 Responses to “To the Victor Goes the Spoils…”

  1. Stephanie Jarvison 16 Jul 2010 at 9:10 pm

    That is awesome!! I can just see Meagen’s face as she reads this–one of utter disgust and disbelief that anybody would pay attention to something living (much like the one she was making the first day of Desert Geo when Dr. Wilson was talking about all of the wildflowers in the Mojave Desert). Looks like you all are having a good time–I’m quite jealous :)

  2. Mark Wilsonon 16 Jul 2010 at 11:26 pm

    What a fantastic scene with the lizard and scorpion! I’ve never seen such a drama. I always cheer for the vertebrates over the invertebrates.

  3. Meagenon 17 Jul 2010 at 4:45 pm

    Steph – have you checked out Dr. Wilson’s post on the wildflowers? They’re beautiful, but you know how I feel about the living. In fact, my Icelandic colleague says that they’re reclaiming the quarry and planting grass – we’re both really sad about it! But I think I would be more frightened than disgusted if I were being chased by a scorpion! Elizabeth – hope you don’t attract any more creepy crawling critters!

  4. [...] encounter reminds me of the lizard-scorpion battle witnessed by the 2010 Wooster Geologists team in [...]

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