Rain. Rain for paleontologists can be a good and a bad thing. Without rain, erosion does not take place. Without erosion, new bones cannot weather out to be found. However too much rain can obliterate a specimen over time. So finding a good dinosaur specimen requires just the right amount of rain/weathering and good timing. Also rain can be a good “excuse” to take a few days off.
When doing field work in Utah or Montana, rain can make life miserable. The high clay content in the soils can turn roads to axle grease and make walking a near death experience. the Hanksville-Burpee Quarry is in a basin or bowl, so another concern is flash floods….another hazard to avoid. So when it rains, we retreat to higher ground and pavement. This was the case last Saturday and Sunday, when after several days of 100 degree temperatures a cold front pushed in, dropped temps to the 60s and brought lots of rain.
We drove out Saturday morning to view the road only to find part of it was now a river. We snaked our way about 2 miles in and found new rivers forming, wash rock moving and even a water fall. After getting some cool
pics of the Burpee Crew on one of the water falls, we decided to retreat. More rain was coming and the bowl might fill up. We spent the rest of the afternoon at Arches National Park and Sunday was spent in the LaSal Mountains. So rain can be good (softens up the ground and provides much needed days off) it can also be bad (washes out roads and delays schedules). /sigh.