Wooster Geologists in Paleontological Heaven

March 14th, 2012

MITZPE RAMON, ISRAEL–The above is an untouched view of an eroding marl of the Matmor Formation (Middle Jurassic) in Makhtesh Gadol. I simply placed a one shekel coin in the scene for scale. This is why we love this place — the fossils are just rolling out of the outcrops (once you know where to look). Our ultimate goal is to describe the communities in this particular unit, and you can see that we have rich material to work with. You can try to identify the fossils you see here. I’ll give the answers below!

Melissa walking across the northern end of Makhtesh Gadol through the middle part of the Matmor Formation. You can see in the distance that dust (and the wind that brought it) is still an issue.

Ready for the answers to the fossil quiz above? 1 = scleractinian coral; 2 = Apiocrinites (crinoid) calyx base; 3 = Apiocrinites calyx plate; 4 = terebratulid brachiopod; 5 = Apiocrinites stem fragment; 6 = echinoid spine; 7 = oyster; 8 = Apiocrinites calyx plate; 9 = another kind of oyster.

In a close-up yet another type of brachiopod is visible. The red circle shows a thecideide brachiopod (no doubt Moorellina negevensis) attached to a crinoid column.

Cool, eh? And this is just a taste of what we saw today. Heaven indeed.

6 Responses to “Wooster Geologists in Paleontological Heaven”

  1. Meagenon 14 Mar 2012 at 11:33 am

    Yes! I aced the quiz! Looks like you hit the jackpot. Good luck deciding which samples to take.

  2. Mark Wilsonon 14 Mar 2012 at 11:51 am

    Well done, Meagen! You’re an exemplar for petrologists around the world. Hope all is well back in Old Woo!

  3. Meagenon 14 Mar 2012 at 2:25 pm

    70 degrees, sunshine, and blue skies today. No dust storms for us!

  4. […] Callovian) of southern Israel. Melissa Torma and I collected this particular fossil on our expedition last month. It is another indication that the Matmor Formation was deposited in very shallow waters. This is […]

  5. […] a diverse paleocommunity. The latest trip to study these fossils was this past March with Melissa Torma and our Israeli colleague Yoav Avni. The shells above are Burmirhynchia jirbaenesis Muir-Wood 1935. We identified them using the […]

  6. […] note: The Wooster Geologists in Israel this spring wrote abstracts for the Geological Society of America Annual Meeting in Charlotte, […]

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