Posts Tagged 'quarry'

Xinjiang 2011 fieldwork report


While few of my posts have hit any kind of length in terms of text recently, this is rather set to continue the trend as there is simply not much to tell about this year’s expedition. As with last year, there was a couple of weeks in the Shishugou combined with a short excursion to the Tugulu, cut short in my case first by illness and then a rainstorm necessitating a early departure in case I got stranded.

As noted recently, the Shishugou at Wucaiwan tends to be an all or nothing place: you can go for days without finding more than couple of scraps of bone, but when you do, it can be a whole specimen or even a whole block of specimens. This year was no different, but (for me) one major difference. The person who found the big block of material was me. It is, without doubt, the best single find I’ve been responsible for and as such I’m rather delighted. Naturally most of what we found is still in the jacket and we only exposed various bones to see what was there and how far it extended into the hillside. Suffice to say there is a fair bit of material, and a very healthy (i.e. far too big) jacket was removed with a number of bones in. It’ll probably be a year or two before I really get to see properly what I found, but I’m already looking forwards to it (especially given my strong suspicions about what it actually is).

In the Lower Cretaceous Tugulu rocks I was able to continue my campaign to accumulate dsungaripterid pterosaur material with some nice new pieces including a couple of quite large cervicals which is good. A few more years like this and they’ll be quite a pile of material to work on.

That is about it really, though it’s worth commenting that for whatever reason there was a pronounced absence of wildlife around this time. Few insects and spiders and fewer still reptiles and birds, or even mammals, so I have not a single new photo of any animals out there. The best I managed was a pair of dead jerboas but I didn’t have my camera with me when I saw either of them. In context I suspect there was a harsh winter or a delayed spring and the animals suffered as a result, natural selection in action really. On the upside the weather and night sky combined for some beautiful scenes.

The long quarry

This probably all looks rather underwhelming since the scale is so hard to show, but this is the ‘main’ quarry at Zhucheng. The bones on the face of the rock wall on the left were covered to protect them but a couple of elements are visible between the gaps. What does help though is that at the far end, just visible against the light are some dots. Those are people. This quarry is about 300 m long (and I know because I measured it) and up to 30 m tall. That is a very large area and a pretty significant proportion of that has bones on it.

To reiterate, Zhucheng: lots of material.


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