Monday, 13 April 2009

Lost In Spain #2: Fossils

For a sedimentology and structural geology trip, there was a fair bit to interest the palaeontologist. By far the most common organisms we saw were Eocene Nummulites, planktonic forama:

You can see one in cross-section in the middle of the photograph above - that's under 10mm wide. The other bits and pieces are Nummulites stacked at 90° to the rock surface.

There was much harvesting of micropalaeontology samples, and several people will have looked sheepish at Barcelona Airport when asked "Has anyone asked you to carry anything onto the flight for them today?" as the weight had to be distributed...

And there was even something to interest even the most diehard dinosaurologist, in the form of a Cretaceous ornithopod trackway:

I clocked two different animals - an adult and a sub-adult or juvenile. All the notices were written in Spanish (it's soooo inconsiderate when countries put their information panels in their native language... </snark>), but they seemed to have a pretty good explanation of the formation of the footprints in the sediment.

And you will no doubt be relieved to see that the residents of Aren have in no way cashed in on the presence of dinosaurs:

Nor indeed have any of the coffee shops embarked on an ambitious mural of life in the Cretaceous of northern Spain:

It was just a bit of a shame this was the last stop of the day on a rather damp afternoon, otherwise I suspect the students would have been fascinated looking at the footprints. I'd certainly have loved to have chatted more to them about what they were looking at.

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