Thursday, January 21, 2016

Nice Coastal Fossil Summary Link

I came across this lengthily blog post on The last decade of marine vertebrate paleontology in the Pacific Northwest

There is not much I can add to this. It is a nice summary of recent work and findings in the coastal marine sedimentary rocks.

The post by Robert Boessenecker notes that there are significant challenges to fossil collecting sites along the Washington State coast.  "Paleontological fieldwork in the Pacific Northwest is challenging - the maximum and minimum tides are more extreme than central California, the localities are often more isolated, it's usually far windier and colder".  "Unlike the California coast, which has many fossil sites conveniently located within an hour's drive of various large universities and other paleontological institutions, most of the fossil sites in the Pacific Northwest are a bit further of a drive. Coastal fossil sites need semi-constant monitoring, as erosion is rapid and new fossils can be exposed after every storm at some localities."

So what I will add is that a couple of years ago I walked a stretch of coast that has revealed some very critical early whale fossils. My purpose was geomorphic. It was cold and windy and the tides were a significant concern for my purposes. I did find a few clams and gastropod fossils. The site had active erosion and landslides (big slides) so there was ample new exposures. It was a very good example of the logistic challenge Boessenecker describes. The site is not a bit further of a drive from any institutions I know of - it is a long drive! and a long hike. 

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