Lamar University Students Did Geology Tour That Included Dinosaur Valley State ParkSomervell County Salon-Glen Rose, Rainbow, Nemo, Glass....Texas


Lamar University Students Did Geology Tour That Included Dinosaur Valley State Park

28 August 2008 at 3:59:58 PM

Very interesting. From the Beaumont Texas Enterprise

The field course takes geology and earth science majors to geologically significant sites in the central U.S. Travel is an essential part of the course because little of the fossil record can be found in the soils of Southeast Texas. To read time on the geologic scale you've got to go to the rock.

"Nothing can replace the experience of a seeing what we've been studying in the real-world," said Westgate, professor of earth and space science.

The Lamar group did get their hands dirty, bulk sampling five tons of fossil pond sediments that were then screen washed down to about 250 pounds to be processed in the geology laboratory on campus, Westgate said. This material will be painstakingly examined under powerful binocular microscopes for significant fossil materials that are evidence of a mammal community.

Concentrate from bulk samples collected on this expedition will provide evidence from the first late Uintan age (42-41 million-year-old) micro-mammal community discovered in the Rocky Mountains' geologic basins, Westgate said. Micro-mammals, such as rodents, small primates, shrews and mouse opossums provide evidence of climate fluctuations that did not impact larger mammals such as horses and rhinos. During more than 100 years of collecting late Uintan mammal fossils in the Uinta Basin, medium and large mammal remains have dominated the discoveries.

"Documentation of evolutionary shifts in the small mammal community in the Rocky Mountains at this time is significant because the initial glaciation of Antarctica was occurring simultaneously and signaled the beginning of a long-term shift from the dinosaur-age "Greenhouse Earth" conditions to the "Icehouse Earth" climatic regime which continues today," Westgate said.

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