Archive for September 27th, 2014

Wooster Geologist over the Andes

September 27th, 2014


MENDOZA, ARGENTINA–I have just arrived in Argentina for the Fourth International Palaeontological Congress to be held in this city all next week. I thank me colleagues at Wooster for making this possible, especially Shelley Judge who is teaching my History of Life class in my absence. I also thank the Faculty Development Fund at Wooster.

It was a treat to have a window seat in the last leg of our air journey from Santiago, Chile, to Mendoza over the Andes. Sure, it was cloudy over the crest of the mountains, but the views were still fantastic on either side. Above is a view of the Argentinian foothills just at the edge of cloud cover.

DSC_4521Soon after take-off from Santiago I was impressed with the lush greenery of the Chilean foothills leading to the Andes themselves. This is the rainy side of the mountains.

DSC_4527The contrast is dramatic between the western and eastern sides. This is a classic rain shadow effect.

DSC_4531Here is an Argentine oilfield near Mendoza. Each of the cleared spots has a pump jack, and the tank farm is visible near the middle.

DSC_4532This is the scene from my hotel window of Mendoza. Not exactly enchanting, I must say, but the views on the other side of the hotel show the tall, snow-capped mountains.

All is well with me (as in no kidney stones). It is a joy to see so many very good friends as we gather together for what will be a spectacular meeting of hundreds of international paleontologists.