MITZPE RAMON, ISRAEL — Andrew Retzler, Micah Risacher and I arrived in southern Israel yesterday evening after a 24-hour journey from Wooster. (My boots still have Mississippi mud on them, by the way.) Our primary mission on this trip is to collect data for Andrew and Micah’s Senior Independent Study projects. Like Megan Innis on the southern USA trip last month, they are studying Late Cretaceous sediments and fossils. The K/T boundary here is not as dramatic as it is in Alabama (it is far more erosional in the Middle East), but it is still impressive to easily step between the Mesozoic and Cenozoic Eras.
We are staying in the little desert town of Mitzpe Ramon, which looks a lot like my treasured hometown of Barstow, California. Mitzpe Ramon is perched on the northern rim of Makhtesh Ramon, a beautiful breached anticlinal erosion structure sometimes called “the Grand Canyon of Israel”. We are working with my longtime colleague and friend Yoav Avni of the Geological Survey of Israel, who lives in Mitzpe Ramon and is an outstanding expert on Negev geology and geomorphology. We will also be joined by Stuart Chubb, a PhD student in the geology program at Birkbeck College, London. He is working on Cretaceous sharks along ancient depth gradients.
Hot here, of course, but not so bad with the light breezes and quick-cooling evenings. We are very much looking forward to the adventures ahead of us.