Archive for June 30th, 2011

Cafe Hopping in Reykjavik

June 30th, 2011

REYKJAVIK, ICELAND – [Guest bloggers Travis and Lindsey] So we made it to Reykjavik at around 0930 GST. Myself and Lindsey had about maybe 30 minutes of sleep on the plane and were subsequently exhausted. After checking into our guesthouse and shopping for our meals we decided to head into Reykjavik, the capitol city of Iceland. As soon as we parked we headed straight for the nearest cafe to grab a strongly caffeinated beverage. So now we are moving down the main drag moving from cafe to cafe drinking latte after latte. It’s not working too well:

Long flight-no sleep!

Our “inn” is much more like a hostel and we were surprised when we saw the size of our room! It’s basically an octagonal auditorium with vaulted ceilings. We are lucky enough to have the giant space to ourselves; our hostess told us that usually there are many more guests. We will be practicing our I.S. presentations on our very own projector screen in our “guest room” of sorts. The setting of the inn is gorgeous, right near the small harbor in Hafnarfjordur and with some small basalt outcrops in the front yard to remind us of why we’re here.

Travis shows the scale of our giant auditorium/room!

Tomorrow, we start field work in the pillow quarries. Stay tuned!

A second new Senior Independent Study project begins in Estonia

June 30th, 2011

KÄINA, ESTONIA–Today we moved our geological investigations from Saaremaa to the island to the north: Hiiumaa. Our friend Olev Vinn of Tartu University then led us to an abandoned quarry in the Hilliste Formation (Lower Silurian). This made Rachel Matt very happy as it is the place she has been studying as the potential site for her Senior Independent Study project. First, it is not filled with water; second, it is easy to get to; third and most important, it has a diverse mix of fossils and rocks crying out for her attention. She is shown above in front of what looks like an ancient mud mound.

The rocks and fossils are so good that the students quickly accumulated a pile of cool specimens. I had to stop them from picking up fossils because we’ve not even started to sort out the stratigraphy. A good sign!

Our friend Bill Ausich at Ohio State University will be pleased to hear that there is much crinoid debris, as shown here in this image. It is a calyx plate in the center, with stem fragments around it. Hiiumaa is the island on the Euro to the right of the top star.

There is much I can’t identify here, at least not immediately. Another good sign!

The only thing that I don’t like is that we’re on yet another island, and this one smaller than the last. So much water around so little land, and no way off except by these little ferries. Our car is the brown one in the front on the right. I’ll endure for science!

A few of the wildflowers on the alvars of Saaremaa Island, Estonia

June 30th, 2011

KURESSAARE, ESTONIA–We have gotten to know the western coastline of Saaremaa very well and would like to simply share some of the gorgeous flowers found there. All of these grow in alvars, which are environments on limestone bedrock with thin and nutrient poor soils. They often dry out completely in the summer, so they tend to host endemic species well adapted to these specific conditions and generally out-competed elsewhere.
Saaremaa is especially blessed with plant diversity. There are 1200 species of vascular plants on the island, about 80% of all the vascular plant species in Estonia. About 10% of these species are rare and protected

I don’t have any identifications for these flowers. They are here for their beauty and as a break from all the rocks!