Sweet Home Alabama

Lonely highway near Jefferson, Alabama, at one of our roadside outcrops (N 32.39412°, W 87.92422°).

DEMOPOLIS, ALABAMA — We practically had the state to ourselves on this steamy Sunday as we drove around western Alabama looking for outcrops of the latest Cretaceous and earliest Paleogene.  As is often the case, localities described in the literature disappear because of housing developments, road expansions, new dams on rivers, and the luxuriant growth of vegetation (especially kudzu down here).  Still, we found that even a meter-thick strip of the Prairie Bluff Formation in a roadside ditch can be loaded with encrusted and bored fossil shells, so we collected enough specimens to make the driving worthwhile.  Now we settle down for our last night in Alabama before crossing over into Mississippi tomorrow.  (This gives me time to soothe the chigger bites on my ankles!)

We promised Megan and Caroline that if they crossed the muddy creek to see what was on the other side, we would immortalize their heroics in the blog.

We all had our photographs taken under this most appropriate ranch sign. (For the non-geologists, "KT" is our code for "Cretaceous-Tertiary".)

About Mark Wilson

Mark Wilson is a Professor of Geology at The College of Wooster. He specializes in invertebrate paleontology, carbonate sedimentology, and stratigraphy. He also is an expert on pseudoscience, especially creationism.
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2 Responses to Sweet Home Alabama

  1. marciepooh says:

    I am impressed and horrified at the fact y’all are wearing shorts and tank tops in the field. Kudzu and other “luxuriant vegetation” may impede geologists at work but sun burn, poison ivy, mosquitoes, ticks and chiggers will all go home with you, or at least the bites/rash will. (I hope you didn’t put those socks in with clean clothes.)

    I hope you’ll return to Alabama for more field trips, we do have some lovely geology – just try and show up between hunting season and tick/kudzu seasons.

    marciepooh (semi-native of Tuscaloosa)

  2. Mark Wilson says:

    Hello Marcie: It actually all worked out quite well as I look back at the trip that just ended. We saw no mosquitoes, only one tick wandering across a hat brim, and the chigger attack apparently affected only me. (I learned quickly not to sit down in the grass to eat lunch.) We avoided poison ivy successfully, and did not encounter a single snake or even snapping turtle despite plenty of creek-time. We very much enjoyed the Alabama and Mississippi geology, culture, history and food!

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