19 October 2010


It has been eventful times this fall. Aside from uncovering hundreds of new fossils we've been involved in a couple other fun activities like speaking to volunteer Mary Simun's AP Environmental Studies class and having a table at NHM's Haunted Museum where we educated on the 3 sloths found at RLB

NHMs Haunted Museum

Also, there have been some major staffing changes. We celebrated Chris Shaw's retirement and are also now fully staffed (except for Collections Manager) Karin Rice and Laura are now full-time, and Christina Lutz is part-time. Congrats to all!

Now for some needed box updates!

I know that some are wondering what has been up with box 1, and that is...a bit of remodeling, pedestaling, and power digging. Box 1 currently has some of the most curious and hardest grids to excavate which has lead us to take slightly different approaches to traditional digging. We are now "pedestaling" around the main fossil deposit in the south end. This means taking the matrix around the bones down to deeper grid levels without removing the bones. This creates a side view of how they are in place which helps us see how the deposit formed. To easier accomplish that excavation approach a "window" was removed from the south wall next to the bones so that someone can stand outside the box and excavate from the side as Tara demonstrates here, working across from Michelle.


The rest of the open grids in box 1 are sterile and difficult which means its time to bring out the power tools if we want to get this box done in the next 10 years. Michelle and I have been using the pneumatic hammer and Herb brought in his electric hammer which proved very useful in clearing out half of a grid in one day. Here's Michelle digging her "hole to China" in a hard sterile grid next to the bone deposit.

Michelle in box 1 hole

And 7A?

Since 7A was re-opened on the 7th of July all of the "C" grids from level 3 to the bottom boards have been completed (roughly 4 tons of matrix) and now we are well into the B grids

box 7A 10-26

The major fossil finds are 3 horse cervical vertebrae. Other bones have been sparse - just a few bones from smaller animals and random worn large bone frags. There are however gastropods galore

striped-shell from 7A

And some neat geology has been revealed, such as this wavy silt/clay structure that was probably created by asphalt deforming soft sediment

Box 7A Sedimentary Structure

Volunteers have been great at chiseling though the tough old asphaltic stream beds of 7A.

Pat Simun helps in 7A

Everyone still loves the safety glasses which are a necessity in 7A...but will they protect Karin from Justin's apparent backstabbing...?

we love our safety glasses

With their help, including the "Master Chiseler" Jack (aka The Chiserater, Jack the Chipper, or The Grand Chizier) who competes with Herb as to who can produce the most buckets in a day, we will probably have this box finished within the next couple of months.

And there's continual awesomeness in the large box 14 deposit:

I like to call it a fossil buffet

Here's a closer look at the dire wolf skull that was "biting" our box 14 juvenile mastodon's scapula


Both of Little Timmy's scapulae and a humerus have been exposed. Plus...we found the back of a sloth skull! And recently a coracoid from a teratorn, the largest bird found at RLB - its a giant condor with a wingspan of 12 feet!

Box 14 also has this

mysterious caliche surrounding bone

See those bluish-gray bands that surround the brown bone? That is a caliche that has never been seen at RLB before and its formation is still somewhat of a mystery...speaking of which...did anybody catch the Page Museum featured in the Travel Channel's "Mysteries at the Museum" show that aired last week?

No comments: