Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

MCABEE: SOLVING MYSTERIES IN THE EOCENE

Plant fossils from the Okanagan highlands, an area centred in the Interior of British Columbia, provide important clues to an ancient climate.

While the area is referred to as the Okanagan, the term is used in a slightly misleading fashion to describe an arc of Eocene lakebed sites that extend from Smithers in the north, down to the fossil site of Republic Washington, in the south.

The grouping includes the fossil sites of Driftwood Canyon, Quilchena, Allenby, Tranquille, McAbee, Princeton and Republic.

These fossil sites range in time from Early to Middle Eocene, and the fossil they contain give us a snapshot of what was happening in this part of the world because of the varied plant fossils they contain.

While the area around the Interior of British Columbia was affected, McAbee, near the town of Cache Creek, was not as warm as some of the other Middle Eocene sites, a fact inferred by what we see and what is conspicuously missing.

In looking at the plant species, it has been suggested that the area of McAbee had a more temperate climate, slightly cooler and wetter than other Eocene sites to the south at Princeton, British Columbia and Republic and Chuckanut, Washington.

We see ginko, a variety of insects and fish remains, the rare feather and a boatload of deciduous evidence. Missing are the tropical Sabal (palm), seen at Princeton and the impressive Ensete (banana) and Zamiaceae (cycad) found at Republic and Chuckanut, Washington.

Monday, 28 March 2016

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

DRAGONFLIES: ANCIENT PREDATORS

Dragonflies, from the order Odonata, have been around for over 250 million years. The most conspicuous difference in their evolution over time is the steady shrinking of their wingspan from well over two and a half feet down to a few inches.

Voracious predators, today they dine on bees, wasps, butterflies and avoid the attentions of birds and wee lizards --  but back in the day, they had a much larger selection of meals within their grasp. Time has turned the tables. Small lizards and birds who today choose dragonflies as a tasty snack used to be their preferred prey. 

GORDES: CITY OF LIMESTONE & LIGHT

Monday, 21 March 2016

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Sunday, 13 March 2016

PALTECHIOCERAS OF WRANGELLIA

Those working in the Jurassic exposures on Vancouver Island are a determined crew. Most of the sedimentary deposits of the Jurassic are exposed in the hard to reach areas between Nootka Sound and Cape Scott.

By the time these ammonites were being buried in sediment, Wrangellia, the predominately volcanic terrane that now forms Vancouver Island and the Queen Charlotte Islands, had made its way to the northern mid-laditudes.

This detail of the Jurassic ammonite, Paltechioceras sp. shot with an ultra-low f-stop, is from an all but inaccessible site in Sayward, Bonanza Group, Vancouver Island.

We did a fossil field trip up there a few years ago with the Courtenay & Qualicum beach crew. The drive up the mountain was thrilling as the road narrowed until it was barely the width of our wheel base. Thrilling to say the least.

HOMAGE TO SPRING