Geosciences in Alaska (cont.)

(page 2 of 3)
 
its cool river and a terrific, though challenging, hike shared with a flock of Dall sheep. The road trip ended at Deadhorse, just south of the Arctic Ocean, where the group traveled on to the Colville River site via a small bush plane.
Joining other faculty and staff from UAF who had arrived earlier, the teachers immediately fell into the field routine. Each day they piled into the motorboat and took the short trip to the Liscomb Bone Bed, where they spent the day sprawled in various positions in order to excavate the quarry to which they had been assigned. Excavation included working within a meter by meter
Teachers excavate quarry
Teachers Phil Wharton, Janet Alpert, Peg Dabel, and Rena Cutright (left to right) busy at work excavating their quarry.
  site, carefully documenting the position of every fossil, making measurements, identifying and extracting each fossil, and then labeling and packaging the fossil for its trip back to UAF.
The Liscomb Bone Bed is named for Shell Oil Co. geologist Robert Liscomb, who discovered a collection of fossilized bones and bone fragments in 1961. More than 20 years passed before a joint scientific team from the U.S. Geological Survey, the UCMP and the UA Museum launched a full research program. UAF has expanded this research to include further evaluation of the original bone beds, discovery of the first dinosaur trackways, the first pachyrhinosaur bone bed, and the first evidence of a pachycephalosaur. The work this particular season was part of a taphonomic study—a detailed analysis of the fossilization process in order to determine the circumstances under which these dinosaurs met their demise. The days were long andshowers became just a fond memory, but spirits remained high. Even the challenges of the Arctic weather (nearly 90 degrees on one day and snow flurries only five days later) did not dampen the determination to get the job done. There were also causes for celebration—the occasional DEET-free day when the winds kept the mosquitoes at bay, the appearance of fresh fish for dinner, a birthday, and some exceptional fossil finds, including a possible insect wing. Nonetheless, when the three Army Chinook

Back Front page Next