Monday, 28 November 2011

A weekend at Eric the Red: 25-27 November 2011

We didn't exactly pick the best weekend to spend on the exposed south coast of Victoria. The weather forecast was rain and more rain. However, we are a tough bunch and a bit of rain wasn't going to deter us.
We rendezvoused at Bimbi Caravan Park, near Cape Otway, (a must for koala lovers) on Friday night and made plans for the next day. Saturday dawned grey but no rain. We were hopeful. We got down to the Eric the Red site - still no rain.
The first thing we noticed was the lack of sand, which usually covers most of the shore platform. On this particular morning its absence gave us our first view of the entire fossil layer and its extent. On previous visits to the site, we had glimpsed areas of conglomerate exposed between patches of sand and were unsure of its extent. Now we could see all the layers and we immediately started searching the newly exposed conglomerate for exposed bones.
We were rewarded with the discovery of six exposed bones, weathering on the surface of the shore platform - one in the area where the partial dinosaur skeleton was found six years ago and five bones in the newly exposed area. It was a great start to the weekend and we talked excitedly about future work at the site.
Then the rain came. It started as a drizzle and built up to a miserable drenching downpour. We toughed it out until lunchtime, but then admitted defeat when it became increasingly difficult to tell the difference between the bones and coal in the conglomerate.
Sadly we walked away from our potential bonanza, vowing to return the next day, weather permitting.
The afternoon passed slowly, with wistful faces watching the rain fall. However, the rain eased over night and Sunday morning was grey but dry. Back to Eric the Red, where David Pickering wanted to sample a number of sections along the length of the exposure. Three areas were chosen and a small amount of rock was collected from each for further processing at Museum Victoria. The rest of the crew sat breaking some of the rock that had been excavated the day before, with interesting results.
Mary Walters found a nice skull fragment and Gerry Kool found what we are all hoping is a mammal jaw. We will know more after Dave has worked his magic on it in the preparation lab at the Museum.
The rain held off and 15 bones in total were discovered - 6 surface bones and 9 bones found during rock processing. A great result for two mornings work.
We will definitely be back next year.
Team photo to follow when Lisa (the official photographer) sends it to us.

The first bone found in the newly
exposed fossil layer, by Lesley Kool
Cross section through dinosaur limb bone
found by Lesley Kool in the newly exposed area.

Possible turtle pelvic bone found by
David Pickering, near the site of the
articulated dinosaur skeleton

Some of the team watching Dave cut out
one of the newly discovered bones,
while Lisa Nink documented the event
for the Museum Victoria blog.

Mary holding her skully fragment.
The sun was almost shining!

Gerry and Mary breaking rock while
Erich removed one of the newly
discovered bones in the background.

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful photos! I wish I could have been there getting wet with you.