Archive for July 6th, 2012

Silurian limestone under our feet

July 6th, 2012

KURESSAARE, ESTONIA–The 2012 Wooster Estonia expedition had its first official time in the field this afternoon. Jonah, Richa and I traveled the short distance from Kuressaare to the historical Sõrve peninsula in the extreme southwest of Saaremaa. There we explored the Äigu Beds in the Kaugatuma Formation exposed along the peninsula’s northwest coast. I know this place well from several visits, and it was the site of Palmer Shonk’s Independent Study project. The limestone here is mostly a high-energy encrinite (a rock made almost entirely of crinoid fragments) with many elaborate crinoid root systems in place showing the arrangement of a “crinoid forest”. Pictured above is a limestone bedding plane with two primary axes of the roots  (holdfast) of the genus Enallocrinus. The interior sediment has eroded away so that you can see the holes where “rootlets” emerged to penetrate the surrounding sediment.

Richa and Jonah on the swampy northwest side of the peninsula with the Kaugatuma Cliff exposed in the background.

Our liberally-educated students are here examining the surface of a granitic boulder brought here from Sweden by the last glaciation and dropped as an erratic. Of course, it is not the igneous rock that excites them — it’s the multicolored  lichens on it!

This project is funded by a grant from the National Geographic Society and the Wengerd Fund of The College of Wooster. Tomorrow we will introduce you to the Ohio State University team members and more details about our work and goals. We are very grateful for this research opportunity. We are also very pleased with the spectacular weather. Sunny and 26°C today.

 

Wooster Geologists return to Estonia

July 6th, 2012

KURESSAARE, ESTONIA–It took longer than we expected, but three Wooster geologists and four colleagues from Ohio State University are finally on the island of Saaremaa and ready for our fieldwork in the Silurian limestones along the shores here and on the smaller island of Hiiumaa to the north. We had a missed connection which delayed us a day in Tallinn, and everywhere we went our reservations were difficult to find, but it has at last worked out. Above you see Richa Ekka and Jonah Novek, two Wooster seniors who will be studying the Silurian sections for their Independent Study theses. Behind them is Moon Sound between the Estonian mainland and Muhu Island as viewed from a car ferry. Richa and Jonah are part of a long tradition of Wooster students who have worked in Estonia, some of whom you can meet by clicking our Estonia tag to the right.

Now we’re off to buy some lunch and take advantage of the fantastic weather to see some rocks. Much more will follow!

The view from my hotel room of Kuressaare Castle. Nice, eh?