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Who Enjoys Geology and Paleontology?

Gerald Wilgus

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
Since the age of 9 I've been interested in thr Earth Sciences. Thinking about deep time and the evolution of our planet and life entrances me. It was exciting when plate tectonics was accepted and expanded in my lifetime, especially as it has great explanatory power in biogeography.

That interest has also led to some interesting travel to fascinating sites that are frequently overlooked, like the Ashfall Site near O'neill, Nebraska. My latest was to Morocco into the anti-Atlas. There I started to understand their amazing trilobite fauna and met a young preparator who is helping me obtain samples from each family . . . and appreciate the amazing skill in preparation that the people there have learned. Here are some examples for your viewing. When complete all will go to a local college.
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I'm a Geologist :). Great specimens! I don't have any trilobites in my small collection but I have a friend who has his own rock shop and frequently travels all over to rock hunt and he's found quite a few too. I really wish I had the time to do such things. Keep on collecting!
 
Not that into geology per se, but I do love looking backward in time. I love paleontology and archeology. (Never done much field work, mind you.) I also love pre-history and history.

You may be familiar with the anti-science trend among certain religious groups. I visited the Red Rocks area in Colorado, and you can drive around and see various roadside exhibits (such as dinosaur footprints) from your car. I was so impressed because the signage says "You are now 10 million years ago, and you see ..." No kow-towing to the religious zealots who say the earth has only exissted for six thousand years!
 
beautiful looking things.
What is interesting are the armaments they developed as a result (I think) of highly mobile predatory fishes becoming common in the Devonian. That, and the ability to enroll, armadillo-like, presented a spiny defense against being eaten. Others sprouted appendages, like some modern beetles, that probably served sexual selection. I like to try to piece together the behavior of some animals from their fossils and traces.

Ever think of dinosaurs roaming around sand dunes? In the Escalante, across the highway from the Kiva Coffeehouse are sandstone deposits that are clearly dunal. One encounters lenses of carbonate rock, probably from water collected in depressions. These sometimes contain dinosaur tracks, and were probably water sources in a dry environment. Love seeing little lessons like that and while I am not fascinated by numbers, I enjoy understanding the relationships in my observations.

To me, the fascinating change of ecologies over time is far more wonderful than the dull imaginings of some religiously inspired tales.
 
You may be familiar with the anti-science trend among certain religious groups.
I am, and enjoy reading the ruling of Judge Jones in Kitzmiller v Dover, for a takedown of creationists who tried to give it their best shot. I find that religious anti-science is particularly dull compared to the amazing diversity within our Cosmos. Traveling to or from Colorado, I am always drawn to the Ashfall Fossil Beds in Nebraska. There a massive herd of barrel-chested Rhinoceras suffered fatal lung damage from a volcanic eruption in Idaho and were entombed around a watering hole along with associated animals. In the Rhino Barn, many animals were left exposed in place. Absolutely fascinating and missed by those who think that Nebraska is Flyover country.
 
I'm a Geologist :)
On the trip to Morocco, I was with a group of geologists and felt amazed at their observation skills. We had great discussions of things like knowing if a formation was a bioherm or a mud volcano. What I enjoyed seeing were the flood basalts near Marrakech that are part of the Central Atlantic Magmatic Province that probably drove the Triassic extinction that reset the relationship between proto dinosaurs and proto mammals. Geology is endlessly fascinating.
 
Traveling to or from Colorado, I am always drawn to the Ashfall Fossil Beds in Nebraska. There a massive herd of barrel-chested Rhinoceras suffered fatal lung damage from a volcanic eruption in Idaho and were entombed around a watering hole along with associated animals. In the Rhino Barn, many animals were left exposed in place. Absolutely fascinating and missed by those who think that Nebraska is Flyover country.
Ashfall is the Pompeii of paleontology!
 
Geology and Geography would be the fields I'd study if I were go get a science degree. I find the evolution of the Earth itself to be fascinating. Also, I find mineral specimens to be cool.
 
yas! Paleontology and geology where my absolute passionate special interests as a kid & teen. Then at uni I encountered island biogeography and cladistics *oh my* - still really fascinates me eventhough I focussed on and work in animal behavior. I guess perhaps that is why I chose Anthropology as my major and was so fascinated by speciation of the genus homo (and the whole cichlid thing.....), so more recent than the trilobites but I totally get the fascination :smiley:
 
I love the ancient world and would love to explore it on every level. Right now, it's mostly archaeologic evidence and discoveries, but I am VERY curious how the ecology may have been different. We know from texts there were very strange occurrences.
 
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Then at uni I encountered island biogeography and cladistics *oh my*
Nice! I got into molecular genetics. But now, I help out with stream macroinvertebrate surveys and getting back into taxonomy as I ID down to the family level. Taxonomy is the basis of biology just as cladistics is the basis for evolutionary relationships. I feel blessed to understand the little that I can about our world - - - a lot easier than understanding people.
 
On the trip to Morocco, I was with a group of geologists and felt amazed at their observation skills. We had great discussions of things like knowing if a formation was a bioherm or a mud volcano. What I enjoyed seeing were the flood basalts near Marrakech that are part of the Central Atlantic Magmatic Province that probably drove the Triassic extinction that reset the relationship between proto dinosaurs and proto mammals. Geology is endlessly fascinating.
I think one of my favorite geology playgrounds is Iceland. Amazing basalt columns! Followed closely by Scotland, birthplace of modern day geology.
At my old job, I worked for a company that studied rocks through CT and SEM scanning. Some of my most favorite ones were carbonates from the North Sea made entirely of forams, gastropods, mollusks, etc. Flying through a rock at micron scale and making 3D visuals of these little guys was a ton of fun, back before the company evolved into only caring about revenue and investors.
 
But now, I help out with stream macroinvertebrate surveys

@Gerald Wilgus
I was lucky enough to do a couple small ones of those in montane streams during a stint in east africa on a uni course. Fascinating!

Taxonomy still really interests me - I was a big birder back in the day and now I still love knowing what things are related to and, at least, what familly if not genus this or that creature belongs too - be it the spider on the wall or the centipede under the log :)
 
It was a bit of a special interest of mine back in high school. I took geology into first year university (where I met my now wife). I also used to belong to a lapidary club, and we'd go on rock hunts. I didn't do a lot of making jewelry or anything with the club, but the rock hunting was fun. :)
It was, however, greatly overshadowed by my special interest in computers, and the two seemed pretty mutually exclusive. So the rocks eventually got dropped.

I still think it's all neat stuff though! :D
 
I worked for a company that studied rocks through CT and SEM scanning.
That is nice, and with secondary w-ray analysis on the SEM, you can identify surface chemistry. I used TEM and SEM in my experimental pathology work and the views by SEM were all pretty spectacular.
 
I had a big collection of fossils and cool stones as a kid. I still have them in storage somewhere.
 
I have a rock collection. All of them were found (rather than purchased).
A few of them are small & really special to me and I carry them around in my wallet & daypack.

One in particular is I think it’s some sort of agate. Light shines through it. At some mysterious time long-ago it was made into a cutting tool. It has an obviously flaked sharp edge on one side. It was found near to a small river in a remote area of N. Az.
 

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