Clear skies at last! Down to the coast to catch good morning lighting and a fortuitously low tide, so we can see in detail how fossil-bearing Upper Ordovician carbonate deposits (445 million years old) at our main locality “lap” against the elevated flanks of a much more ancient rock mass. This highly resistant Proterozoic (about 2500 million-year-old) quartzite body is the remnant of a small island that formed part of an archipelago in shallow Ordovician subtropical seas.
We do a short island walk-about, then each of us hunkers down to the daunting task of scanning countless rock surfaces for elusive chelicerate fossils. It’s a process that requires patience, a sharp eye, and the ability to kneel or squat for hours at a time on cold, damp, sharp-edged dolostone rubble … cold and damp, that is, until an unobscured sun turns our exposed location into a baking, bug-infested dustbowl! Despite the discomforts it’s a successful morning, and by about 1 PM we have a couple of excellent eurypterid (“sea scorpion”) specimens to add to our haul – they are not entire animals, but more complete than anything previously found here.
The afternoon collecting continues to go well, but we have to pack up and head back to the Studies Centre. A crew change is imminent – our colleague Sean Robson arrives on the evening flight from Winnipeg, and Ed departs tomorrow morning. No gradual break-in for Sean – after dinner we’re back out on the coast to look at a section of Lower Silurian rocks. This is a magical time on the tundra and tidal flats, with every little detail thrown into sharp relief by the setting sun.
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