Wooster geologists return to Saaremaa and Muhu one last time

KÄINA, ESTONIA–Today the Wooster/OSU team crossed the strait between Hiiumaa and Saaremaa to visit some earlier sites one last time on this trip. The Ohio State paleontologists stayed on the northern part of Saaremaa to look for crinoids and Panga, Ninase and Undva Cliffs; the Wooster geologists went farther south and west to visit Soeginina Pank (above) and Nick Fedorchuk’s 2011 field area. This was important to us so that we could compare observations here to Richa Ekka’s exposure of these beds on the eastern side of the island.

Richa stands by Nick’s Soeginina locality to compare it to her own rocks. This Soeginina section seems considerably more dolomitized in the west than the east.

Jonah and Richa at Nick’s outcrop. Richa is pointing to the Wenlock/Ludlow boundary horizon, and Jonah is showing the stromatolite layer near the top of the section. Richa’s section in the east begins somewhere above her finger.

We were impressed by how poorly preserved the stromatolites are in Nick’s section compared to the gorgeous specimens Richa studied earlier this week. You can barely make out the laminae in this western sample. Look here at its equivalent in the east.

Another difference we noted between the Richa and Nick sections was that Nick’s has thin coral branches (above) in storm layers whereas Richa’s does not. Nick’s oncoids are also larger and more complex.

The amount of damage the Soeginina Pank outcrop received in the last year is astonishing. I had worried about our hammer blows leaving noticeable marks on the rocks. The freshly fallen blocks on the cliff above appeared since our visit last June. Much of this is likely due to ice floes slamming into the rocks during the winter.

After our observations at Soeginina Pank, the Wooster geologists drove to Muhu to visit an historical site (more later on that), then went north through Orissaare to Triigi where we reunited with our OSU companions and boarded the ferry for the ride back to our hotel on Hiiumaa. Our two matching field vehicles are seen above at the front of the ferry. We weren’t going to miss the last ferry to the island!

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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3 Responses to Wooster geologists return to Saaremaa and Muhu one last time

  1. Nick Fedorchuk says:

    I thought that picture looked familiar…good work guys!

  2. Linda Fry says:

    I found this very interesting. I walk a lot in the local streams and creek bed area’s, filling my pockets with interesting rocks. Have found many fossils and ringed stones ( as a child I called them Indian beads); a friend told me they were plant stems. He said to watch for the parts that look like the flower heads from these stems, there maybe some in my rock collection.
    The reason this caught my eye is I have been told my rock collection needs to go. So I was wondering if you would know of a place or school that could use or benefit from these unique formations I’ve gathered. Perhaps as a teaching tool.
    Congrats to you for reaching your goals, acheivements, and following your endeavors, may God bless you and your fellow members in these studies. Thank you have a nice day

  3. Mark Wilson says:

    Hello Linda: Sounds like your “Indian Beads” are crinoid stems! They would indeed have flower-like heads, but were animals.

    Rock collections are almost always appreciated by local elementary, middle and high schools. They use them to teach many concepts of the Earth sciences, and I imagine your rocks and fossils would fascinate teachers and students alike.

    Thank you for asking. We’re glad you enjoy this blog!

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