Tuesday, 23 February 2010

White-Out at Quarry 4

Quarry 4 has a definite stay of execution. There are a few reasons for this which I shall relate in a later post but suffice to say that the quarry will now not be flooded until August 2010 at the earliest, and that is only a tentative date at this moment. The quarry will continue to be worked for its organically rich clay over this period but on a reduced scale.

However, this still means fresh exposures for a few more months at the very least. This pleasing development has led to a few bonus field trips over the winter but the weather this year has been particularly hard and conditions have proven difficult time and time again and, to be honest, prospecting has been tough.

There have been a few pieces recovered during this time but nothing of consequence although Carl’s previously highlighted Liopleurodon tooth is a definite highlight. Also, some associated ichthyosaur material is slowly coming to life, particularly parts of a skull. Already recovered are an excellent basioccipital, exoccipital, and sclerotic plates. We are hopeful that more of this skull will weather out although, as of this moment, there appears to be no associated post cranial material.

As you can see from our most recent trip to the quarry, snow made prospecting almost impossible. It’s hard to believe that the conditions only 24 hours earlier were perfect. And yet, even in such conditions, Carl still managed to winkle out an ichthyosaur neural process (nothing to do with the aforementioned specimen). I think we’ve all had enough of winter now and look forward to Spring – it cannot arrive soon enough. And with further trips to Quarry 4 and the new Quarry 5 in the offing we are, as always, optimistic about the years prospecting.


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