Sunday, May 28, 2017

Graduation 2017

Today marks another auspicious day for the Martindale Lab! Today we have two Master's students (Kelly Hattori and Nick Ettinger) and and two fabulous undergraduates (Maria Reistroffer and Walker Wiese).

Kelly Hattori with Charlie Kerans and I (co-advisors); Kelly's MSc was on a Cretaceous coral reef from Arizona!

Nick Ettinger with Charlie Kerans and I (co-advisors); Nick's MSc was on the Toacian Oceanic Anoxic Event in Slovenia.

Nick and Kelly

The carbonates crew (plus Simon)

Walker worked on an undergraduate thesis on Caribbean coral reefs.

Maria's undergraduate thesis was on the recovery from the end-Permian mass extinction.

Congratulations class of 2017!

Saturday, May 27, 2017


One last Morocco post!

As much as I love geology, one of the best parts of doing field work is exploring another country, another culture, and breathing it all in to the fullest! We didn't have too much free time this trip but we did manage to get a free day in Marrakesh so we walked from our hotel over to the Mellah (a very busy spice market) then to the Jemaa el-Fnaa (the main square), over to the Souks (leather market, dying market, woodworking market etc.), over to a bookstore (which was really hard to find! There are not many bookstores in Marrakesh) and finally back to our hotel!

The flowers are beautiful!

The markets are very neat lots to buy (if you feel like paying too much... even with haggling)! Tagines on the left and rugs on the right!

Spice markets of the Mellah!

 And stray cats everywhere...

This is the dyers market (the Souk des Tenturiers). As a fiber artist, it was my favorite Souk

It is all done right it Marrakesh. First you take some wool from the local sheep and spin it up!

 "Bales" of yarn!

Add some local dye...

 And you have a bright array of scarves, wool, and yarn!

I was pretty excited!

A beautiful array of drying yarns!

The Jemaa el-Fnaa in the morning...

Watch out for Snek!

 The tile work is out of this world!

And the food is... of course... amazing!

This is a Lamb Tanjia, a specialty of Marrakesh

This spectacular dish was my favorite of the trip! A chicken pastilla (sweet and savory in a phyllo pastry!)

While Morocco is a Muslim country, you can still get some pretty exciting drinks!

A very fancy Mojito!

Turkish Delight!

We walked all day but we could have ridden around on a camel!

After a long walk around the city, this cool outdoor pool was just the thing!

The next day we were off, a short trip but a good one... and we left with 2 bags full of rocks and a tajine. Definitely a good haul, but there were a lot of bags!

So... the tajine! This is the clay pot that is used in Morocco to cook many dishes. I bought a small, 2-person tajine from one of the auberge's where we stayed (Ahmed got me a great price!) and brought back some spices. Here's a little pictoral "how-to" for a berber tagine dinner (a pretty good recipe can be found here).

The veggies are pretty easy (and there are thousands of varieties of tagines you can make... this was just what we could find in the stores here in Austin). Just grab an onion, carrots, zuccini, peppers, tomato and potato and chop them up.

Lay down a base of onion slices, some garlic, and pile the meat in the middle (here we used beef) then drizzle with lots of olice oil and heat slowly.

After 15-20 minutes, when the meat is browned, pour a slurry of spices and water over the lot to make a delicious bubbling sauce. Then stack the veggies in the middle like a teepee; I keep the softer veggies out for the first hour.

Then you just cook everything for 2-3 hours

Delicious! Beseha!

Friday, May 26, 2017


The last few days of field work were spent near Errachidia. We were working on this lovely sections here:

Some lovely snails!

And limestones that are "chok-a-blok" with bivalves!

Here is a beautiful bedding plane with our large lithiotid bivalves!

What an amazing surface!

And a lovely cross section!

We took some silly photos with this nice little outcrop.

Look at this amazing exposure surface!

Dasyclad algae!

These are some of the largest oncoids I have ever seen!

So big!

 And some lovely phaceloid corals as well!

We then stepped up the section to look at the post Oceanic Anoxic Event communities. 

Along the sheep trail we found a little local artwork...

Lithology for days!

This little hill was full of beautiful fossils!

 Check out these beauties!
Ctenostreon rugosum

Plagiostoma giganteum with some serpulid epibionts 
Plagiostoma giganteum