14 July 2010

Farewell to Deposit 5b

Box 5b is done. We started in early November, and after 8 months there is now an empty spot in front of box 14. The "June gloom" weather during the last days of 5b matched the sadness we felt in knowing that the excitement of 5b would soon be gone. We had a good time discovering its intriguing asphalt infused stratigraphy and cool fossils including:

  • Clyde, the partially articulated camel
  • Alphie, the juvenile mammoth
  • Little Timmy the juvenile coyote
  • Pepe the weasle
  • and a yet to be named rattlesnake.

The last noticeable fossils in 5b were freshwater snails and plant in asphaltic sediment and the bottom layer consisted of virtually sterile partially asphalt infused greenish gray clay.


Here Laura works with volunteers Cheyenne Robinson and Pat and Mary Simun to extract the last remains of fossils at this level
Working on last of 5b

Michelle joined them for a time out to capture the adoration for our special safety glasses

Sporting our Safety Glasses


Volunteer Herb Schiff hammers through the final remains
Herb Schiff finishing 5b

5b's last clay lumps

And then there was none.

5b is gone!

5b last boards

Depending on who you ask one highlight of finishing a box is discovering who has been living underneath it. As the final bottom boards were lifted there was an unveiling of slugs, crickets, brown widows, black widows, and some other unidentifiable by me spiders and insects.

Well hello!

Spiders under 5b

Box 14, the large box situated behind 5b and next to box 1 is the next to be opened. It is a partially slumped deposit which means complete measurement of fossils will be limited to what we know is for sure in situ. The idea is to quickly work through the thousands of fossils we will find slumped in the easier to excavate asphaltic "sugar sands" and the area it sits will then be used for bucket storage.

We also look forward to meeting the other half of 5 on the other side of the compound someday hopefully soon to learn more about deposit 5 geology and see if we can find more of Clyde and Alphie.