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When I was young my Dad took me to this fossil reef in Stroudsburg PA. It is solid fossils. You may collect there, and keep your fossils, on the field.

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Presentation on theme: "When I was young my Dad took me to this fossil reef in Stroudsburg PA. It is solid fossils. You may collect there, and keep your fossils, on the field."— Presentation transcript:

1 When I was young my Dad took me to this fossil reef in Stroudsburg PA. It is solid fossils. You may collect there, and keep your fossils, on the field trip. All slides are copyright © Charles and Susan Smart Some are also copyright © National Geographic Society Permanent stock collection

2 When I was a young Marine in Vietnam we passed a fossil Mastodon skeleton while coming back from patrol. Geology seemed an interesting major. West of Dong Ha Marine Base, RVN

3 As soon as possible, I took degrees in Geology at Rutgers and Princeton. My first job in Geology was Natural Gas exploration for Shell Oil. Mapping the White River Oligocene, containing many fossil mammals, South Dakota

4 This course provides the fundamentals of Geology. In the laboratory we will learn the skills of the field geologist. We will learn to read and make maps, recognize common rocks and minerals, make and interpret geologic cross sections, make observations, and on the field trip, correctly take samples. A field geologist’s equipment is usually simple. Mapping the Careless Creek Dinosaur sites, North of Shawmut, Montana

5 In the early 60’s, Geology was collection of unrelated topics without an underlying theory. Prospecting for Silver in Montana

6 For example, long volcanic arcs and deep ocean trenches were discussed in separate courses. As students, we didn’t realize how they are related. Deep trench the entrance to a subduction zone The Aleutians, a volcanic island arc, made of basalt that rose up from partial melts of the mantle, wetted by subducted ocean lithosphere

7 Climate changes in the past, with growing and melting glaciers, were still another separate course. As students, we didn’t realize extreme climate changes were caused, in part, by plate movements. A Tarn, a glacial meltwater lake, in the Swiss Alps. Photo by Susan Smart

8 There were courses on rift valleys with long axial lakes, and separate courses on long linear seas. As students, we didn’t realize they were the same thing at different stages. Research Vessel, Lake Turkana, Northwest Kenya

9 Or that oceans were just old seas. Limestone coast, Curaçao

10 Everyone had a specialty. Some geologists studied coastal erosion Sunset, Curaçao

11 others studied coral reefs Dive site, Bonaire

12 or stream erosion Stream, Swiss Alps, (c) Susan Smart

13 or sedimentation in small ponds called oxbows Our swimming pool, Middle Awash Basin, Ethiopia

14 Desert specialists knew of a connection to equatorial weather Sunset, Bonaire

15 and tried to understand the physics of dunes and desert pavement Sand Dune, Northwest Lothagam, Kenya

16 or weathering by flash floods Flooded Kerio River, Kenya

17 whose water disappeared as quickly as it arrived. Lomenyenkuperat River, Kanapoi, Kenya

18 Water formed erosional features such as this toadstool Lothagam, Kenya.

19 and this arch. Both are explained by flash floods. But as students we were never told about any connections between the topics we studied.

20 Finally, in the early 1970’s, the geology faculty members let students in on the secret. Now geology has a robust central model that relates folded mountains, rift valleys, mid-ocean ridges and oceans, deep trenches and long ranges of volcanoes, and earthquakes, to a single process: very slow convection in the Mantle. The paradigm, called Plate Tectonics, has made the Earth much easier to understand. Of course, geologists still specialize. Plate Tectonics

21 Some geologists who study long extinct fossils still set out to look for modern counterparts Bonaire

22 With colleagues from universities from all over. Bonaire

23 Deep dives in remote regions sometimes lead to understanding a fossil Malindi, Kenya

24 when modern animals give up insights to past life Bonaire, 130 feet

25 Some were captured with bottles Bonaire

26 Or nets Bonaire

27 and brought up for examination Bonaire

28 For example, this jellyfish from offshore of Malindi, Kenya has a hard disc similar to fossils in the Shawangunk Formation near here. Malindi, Kenya

29 Students of fossil plants study modern forests Susan in the Karura Forest, Kenya

30 as do students of weathering, erosion and soils. Karura Forest, Kenya

31 From studies of fossil plants, we know that climates cooled and dried in the Oligocene. Plate Tectonics explains this cooling. Forests retreated, and were replaced over large areas by drought tolerant grasslands. South of Nairobi, Kenya, near the Athi River

32 Herbivores evolved to eat the grasses. These are impala. South of Nairobi, Kenya

33 Horses became increasingly adapted for grasses; they developed large molars and very long feet.

34 Elaborate social structures evolved to allow huge herd migrations in search of fresh pasture and water Treetops, near Nyeri, Kenya

35 A great variety of carnivores appeared, Ashok’s pet Otters, Calcutta

36 Some groups, e.g. dogs and cats diversified into social, cooperating hunters South of Nairobi, Kenya

37 including some really large ones. South of Nairobi, Kenya

38 Hominids evolved as grassland hunter-gatherers (this guy had malaria, note the thickened skull bones) Bodo D’Ar, Middle Awash Basin, Ethiopia

39 Mad dogs, Englishmen and geologists. This is my student, Dr. Assefa Mebrate Bodo D’Ar, Middle Awash Basin, Ethiopia

40 Recently our civilizations arose. This is a burial of a Corinthian soldier in northwestern Kenya 220’ bench, Lothagam, Kenya

41 Some geologists study Taphonomy, the processes that preserve fossils This civet has just died. Will a fossil form? Insects and scavengers will remove the flesh. On the road escarpment to Naivasha, Kenya

42 If the bones are on a floodplain they may be covered with sediment Water Buffalo killed by Lions, South of Nairobi, Kenya

43 This fossil hippo skull is 5 million years old Lothagam, Kenya

44 These dinosaur bones are about 70 million years old Avaceratops level, Careless Creek Ranch, near Shawmut, MT

45 Here Prof. Peter Dodson collects dinosaurs from a Cretaceous stream Avaceratops level, Careless Creek Ranch, near Shawmut, MT

46 Sometimes Field Geology is hazardous. This geological survey crew ran out of Petrol. When we happened by five days later, they had run out of water. We gave them water and gasoline. Pokot District, Kenya

47 Camps, however, can be luxurious. Here our shower water is heating up in the equatorial sunshine. Kanapoi, Kenya

48 Sources of water, groceries and the doctor are a short drive to town Note the cinder cone volcano Lodwar, Kenya

49 Bathrooms are spacious Sundown, Lothagam, Kenya

50 We fend for ourselves; here a tire tube needs a patch. Prof. Dennis Powers, UTEP Lothagam, Kenya

51 Infrastructure is up-to-date Crossing the Awash River, Gewane, Ethiopia

52 Of course, some of the local fauna are a nuisance Red Spitting Cobra, Lothagam, Kenya

53 Some downright dangerous. Our friend John M. Kioko is holding a dead five-stepper, Echis carinatus. It has been preserved in alcohol for the Kenya National Museum Kanapoi, Kenya

54 But the neighbors are great. Mary, near Gewane, Ethiopia

55 So if you like learning about the world, welcome to geology.


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