Another Day of Work

In the Field 2015

I got out of my tent this morning around 8 a.m., and it was our coldest day yet. Without the wind, it felt like it was below freezing. With the wind blowing, it was uncomfortable. Given these conditions, we decide it’s best to wait for the sun to break out and warm things up a bit. Not only for us but for the tasks planned today, sub-freezing temperatures will not allow our plaster to set up properly.

By very late morning, the weather does improve, and we plan to go back to work. Before leaving camp I call Northwestern Aviation to let them know about our rainfall. While still two days away from our extraction, this heavy rain may have taken away some of the runway that we landed on when starting this expedition. If the rain continues we may have to consider another extraction plan.

Our most ambitious plan today is to try to take the surface containing the bird tracks off the giant boulder it is attached to. While the molds of the tracks we have made so far are great documentation, it would be nice to have some actual material. So we start our work, first putting paper down over the surface to make sure the plaster doesn’t stick to the rock, then using a combination of plaster and cloth mesh to build a protective layer over the surface we are trying to collect.

Once we are done and are waiting for the plaster to dry, I wade across the slough near camp to examine more rocks with the hope that they contain more dinosaurs. Unfortunately, aside from a few very fragmentary pieces of fossil wood, I find nothing.

I had set a stick by the river’s edge. By 3 p.m. the water has risen about five inches. We may need that backup plan.

I rejoined Chinzorig and made one more fossil bird track discovery. This track is about the size of the track that a Sandhill Crane can make, so the particular fossil bird was likely somewhere around three feet tall.

We had all agreed that since our time was starting to run out we would work as long as it took to finish our respective tasks today. We went back to camp for a quick dinner around 10 p.m. and headed back out to finish our work on the plaster jacket containing the fossil bird tracks.

We were successful, and the tracks made it back to camp. It is late.

 

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More signs that the summer is ending. Here in the Arctic the autumn colors, like those in the Dwarf Birch, are at our ankles.

 

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And the berries, like this Low-bush Cranberry have ripened.

 

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Showing the colors one more time, Perot Museum in the Field flag #1 and Explorers Club flag #176 with our very fruitful rock exposure that contains so many dinosaur and bird footprints and fossil soils in the background. Who would have thought an ancient swamp could be so exciting?