Archive for July 11th, 2013

Last day of fieldwork for Team Israel 2013

July 11th, 2013

1_DragFoldOscar071113MITZPE RAMON, ISRAEL–We like to think that Dr. Shelley Judge would be proud of our fieldwork today. The Wooster Geologists returned to Wadi Hawarim to finish our fieldwork for Oscar Mmari’s project on synsedimentary faulting in the Mishash Formation (Campanian, Upper Cretaceous). We returned to the fault visible above just to the left of the dark outcrop of the lower Mishash. The left side is upthrown, the right downthrown, making this a very steep normal fault. the Mishash seen here is in a magnificent drag fold against the fault. The Mishash is eroded away on the upthrown block, so we could only climb to the top of the hill here and estimate the minimum displacement on the fault. The blocks are separated by at least 50 meters. The fault trace is almost exactly east-west. You can barely see Oscar in the lower right standing on the spot where the Mishash rocks fold more than 90° to become horizontal to the right. Oscar and I worked today to follow the fate of a conglomerate that is thickest at the fault where Oscar is standing (location 031 on the image at the end of this post), and then thins and becomes finer as we move away from the fault into the syncline to the south. We believe this indicates that the conglomerate came from the upthrown block and thus the fault formed while the Mishash was being deposited. (Lizzie Reinthal and Steph Bosch, in the meantime, collected more shark’s teeth for us and then explored the wadi system.)

2_HawarimPhosphorites071113This is the Mishash Formation phosphorite zone several hundred meters south of the fault (location 049 in the bottom image). It is much thicker than the section near the fault (see the top photo in this entry).

3_ThinConglomerates071113The conglomerate that is a meter thick near the fault is reduced to these two lensoidal coarse sandstones that Oscar found in this southernmost outcrop. The grain size and thickness reduces dramatically as we move away from the fault.

4_WadiHawarimSection071113This beautiful Wadi Hawarim section of the phosphorites gave us our final clues as to the relationship between the fault and the conglomerate. We also have a sealevel story here with shrimp burrows, but we’ll save that for a later post after Oscar has done some lab work.

5_Hawarim071113Here is a Google Earth view of Oscar’s collecting sites and measured sections. The fault shown in the top photo is at 031, with the photo taken from 047. The fault runs east-west, and Oscar’s sites are all to the south.

 

Meeting a group of excellent young Israeli geologists

July 11th, 2013

OlympiadStudents071113MITZPE RAMON, ISRAEL–Today I had the pleasure of talking with four excellent Israeli students who form their nation’s team in the upcoming 7th International Earth Science Olympiad. Their advisor and coach, Hanan Ginat (on the far right), invited me to speak to these young adults about paleontology as they study for the competition to be held in India this September. I was amazed at how hard these students are working for this event, and how much will be required of them during the Olympiad. They will have ten days of tests and practical exercises. In past events these contests have included interpreting core samples, assessing building stones, and even planning dam sites. In the written tests there are questions not only about geology and paleontology, but also oceanography, atmospheric sciences, and astronomy. Wow. Most of it in English, too.

The students had excellent questions and quickly responded to puzzles about various fossil specimens you can see scattered on the table above. It was so much fun — the time just flew by. Good luck to them in the tournament and in their future endeavors. These are very bright students who know the value of learning and persistence.