We began our Friday with an early morning meeting with the BLM at the Hanksville-Burpee Quarry. Our task was to put up fencing around the quarry to mark it off as well as restrict movement to certain sensitive areas. It turns out that there are Fish Hook Cacti not far from the quarry and they need to be conserved. So we assisted BLM Agent Buzz Rakow in putting up the fencing, which during a 90+ degree day, driving steel rods into thick sandstone is no picnic. My hands are still numb. By about 1:00 PM we had the site fenced
and were off to check out some jeep trails we had spied from the road. One of the trails took us several miles off the beaten path. On the top of one of the Morrison Formation exposures we found billions and billions of fossil Oysters. When I say billions…I mean hundreds of billions. There were so many they covered acres and acres like pavement. Interestingly these fossil oysters are early Cretaceous in age, making them younger than the Morrison Formation. They come from the Mancos Shale (a Cretaceous Marine Formation). In this spot the Mancos had weathered down leaving the oysters behind. From this spot we eyed hundreds of more unexplored square miles to the north. The exposure looked like we were on Mars. The Geology in this area is awesome…I would think some student could make a good project mapping it all.
Saturday was a little less exerting. Josh and I traveled to Salt Lake City to pick up Carrie Levitt. Carrie is a University of Wisconsin at Madison Geology grad and volunteers as a fossil preparator at Burpee Museum. After picking her up we swung by the University of Utah Museum of Natural
History and got a chance to meet their fossil preparators. Its a cool place for fossils. In fact they are working on some new to science horned dinosaurs which will be published on soon. After meeting with the preparators we checked out the exhibits. Aside from some very cool dinosaurs the fossil mammal displays are equally impressive. We left SLC behind and returned to Hanksville. Tomorrow we get to open the site and begin work…..some more volunteers showed up as well so things are about to pick up….stay tuned.