Wednesday, November 18, 2015

New addition to the lab

We just added a new tool to the Martindale lab, a Labo-Pol-35 polishing wheel. It is really neat!

Essentially the wheel holds sandpaper and so you hold a rock slab on the spinning wheel and it sands down the rock (like a belt sander sands down wood). For a finer polish you just swap to a finer sandpaper until you get a glassy, beautiful polish on your slab.

While there are still a few small things the lab still needs (drying over, more glassware and chemicals etc.), the lab is really coming together. It is starting to look really beautiful and is extremely functional (it is a little messy, but that is because people are using it, yay)!

I am so excited for how well this has come together! This was a big time sink for me in the first few years, but I think it has really paid off.
If you're in Austin and need to do some rock-related science, I have just the spot!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

First GSA

This week is GSA and this meeting is special.  This GSA is the first GSA where students of the Martindale Lab have been presenting their research!

On Sunday, Anna Weiss gave a great poster about coralline algae and coral reefs!

On Monday Chiara gave a fabulous talk on her research on fossil symbiosis!

And today, Selva gave an awesome talk about her Jurassic Vampire squids!

I am so proud of them!

(and we had fun hanging out with William Smith, aka Roger Thomas)

Friday, October 30, 2015

More of Morocco

A few more photos from the field!

There are two Donkeys under there!

Palm Tree and the Toarcian OAE!

Field team in wet weather

Our ride got stuck!

Amazing lithiotids!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The Early Jurassic in Morocco

Hi all, sorry for the radio silence, this fall has been an insane semester with very little time for blogging. That said, I have carved out a little bit of time for fieldwork (hazzah!) so this week I am in Morocco to check out some reefs in the Early Jurassic carbonates here.

I landed yesterday evening and am now waiting for my colleagues to arrive so we can get on the road, until then, here are some shots from the flight over and my first few hours here.

The Mediterranean Sea, out the (streaky) airplane window

Awesome erosion!

Barrage el Wadha (?)

I arrived a day early so I had to stay in this very nice villa to wait for my colleagues. 

Loving the views!

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Alberta Fieldwork 2015

This week we are heading out to the field again! Back out to the Alberta site from last year.
All our gear is ready....

Our ATV is ready.....

Are the fossils ready for us? It's time for some science!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Hauff Museum

Over the last few days, my student Selva, and I worked in the Hauff Museum in Holzmaden, Germany.  

This was a ton of fun, not only does this museum have some beautiful specimens on display and in their collections, but the museum is run by Rolf Hauff. 

Rolf is the descendant of Bernard Hauff, the paleontologist who first prepared and identified the skin outline on fossil ichthyosaurs from the Posidonia Shale. 

You can still see Bernard Hauff's signature on several of the specimens!

The signature and dates are very useful for paleontologists trying to reconstruct who prepared the specimens and what techniques they used (and thus what they might have missed).

This is his old work station recreated in the museum.

We even got some help from their preparators in cleaning off some of our specimens!

This is the back room where they prepare the big stuff!

These are so many wonderful specimens on display at this museum, but the Pièce de résistance, is the wall of crinoids (Seriocrinus subangularis) and bivalves attached to a sunken tree.

It is HUGE and absolutely breathtaking! It took them years to excavate and prepare the slabs and this is the largest colony found to date!

Selva and I were pretty excited!

The details are fabulous!!!

The museum is laid out really well, and there is a beautiful "staircase" showing all the layers of the Posidonia Shale complete with information about which layers bear each type of fossil.

And now for a barrage of photos (sorry, but I got excited....)

Ammonites (They used to color in the suture to make it easier to see)!

This guy has a fish inside him!

Many Ichthyosaurs!

The stomach contents of the above ichthyosaur have belemnite bits in them, meaning that the ichthyosaurs ate the belemnites (but not the rostra)!



Marine Crocodiles

Fish and sharks galore

This shark ate a belly full of belemnites with their rostra (replica, the real one is at Stuttgart)!

Of course the lovely crinoids, some of them with the golden hue from pyrite replacement

And some other little echinoderms too!

There is some nice plant material, but not too much.

And of course, what we were there to study, the lobsters and the coleoids!
Lobsters first (Because Hauff has some amazing lobsters)

The belemnites were amazingly well preserved!

And the vampyroids are pretty amazing too!

This one even has his beak!

They have a great toilet sign too....