Sunday, February 22, 2015

Microfossil Crinoid Pieces from Clark County Indiana

My cousin recently sent me some images of crinoid fossils he has been finding in the New Providence Formation of Clark County, Indiana, USA. The fossils date to the Mississippian Period (Carboniferous). All pictures were taken using a microscope and have an approximate field of view of 2 mm.

Thanks to Kenny for the images.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Fossils of Mesa Verde National Park - Colorado

In August 2014, my parents visited Mesa Verde National Park in the state of Colorado, USA. I have just now started reviewing some of the pictures they brought back from that trip. They brought back a geology book listed in the reference section of this posting.

The picture above is of a fossil on display at the visitors center. It is of an unidentified Cretaceous dinosaur.

The area is rich in geological history going back 2 billion years. The national park was founded in 1906 to protect the Anasazi Native American sites found on the mesa tops, cliffs, and canyons. The exposed areas found in the park are from the Mesozoic Era, Cretaceous Period (about 100-78 million years ago). They make up four formations: Cliff House, Menefee, Point Lookout, and Mancos.

Guide to the Geology of Mesa Verde National Park by Mary O. Griffitts, 1990, ISBN 0-937062-11-1
Available at at this web link.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Six Ways to Prepare a Coelacanth Video

The American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) located in New York city has created a monthly series of videos highlighting some of the 33 million specimens and artifacts held in their collection. Paleontological specimens make up 17.3% of the collection. Invertebrate fossils are a large part of the collection with approximately 4.5 million specimens. In 2014, they received the Mapes collection from Ohio University composed of more than 500,000 marine fossils. So the museum has a lot of material to pull from for creating videos.

The series is called Shelf Life. The videos they have been creating so far are top notch!

Episode 3 has been released for January 2015 and it is entitled Six Ways to Prepare a Coelacanth. This animal was thought to be extinct but one was caught December 22, 1938. A curator in South Africa Marjorie Courtenay-Latimer obtained it from the fisherman. She then contacted a research at Rhodes University who spent 14 years waiting for another one to be caught. Learn more by watching their video link to in the posting.

If the embedded video is not showing up on your browser is the the direct YouTube link.

The Coelacanth tail fossil picture at the beginning of this post was taken at Cincinnati Museum Center in August 2013. This Triassic Period fossil was found in Favret Formation of Pershing County, Nevada, USA.

YouTube has another video (A Fish Lost in Time: the Coelacanth) showing a lot of clips of live Coelacanths in the deep. I wonder if the bright lights of those divers are blinding those fish. They live in a dark environment and then BAM this super bright light right in the eye. That would seem pretty painful unless they are almost blind from living in a dark environment already or have some mechanism for shielding from rapid light intensity changes.

The AMNH has produced some other great videos available to watch on the Internet. Their most popular one of this writing is The Known Universe with over 13 million views on YouTube. It really puts our place in the Universe in perspective. It can be viewed at this YouTube link.

Learn more:

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Using a Quadcopter as Geological Scout

For Christmas I received a Syma X11 Hornet quadcopter to learn how to fly. The videos make it look easier to fly than it is. Looking around YouTube for flying tutorials I came across a video of a Phantom quadcopter survey of a large flooded quarry. It has some nice images of submerged vehicles and tools in the water. Hopefully the embedded video in this posting can be seen at the end of this posting. If not, here is the link to it on YouTube:

If I can be able to fly this small drone with some skill I can move up to one with a camera so that one day I can use it to survey for fossils.