There’s a line in one of my favorite movies, The Secret of Roan Inish: “If you’re away from it a week, Nature will take it back.” I was last at Carmel Church 12 days ago; Tim and I returned today to find three beaver-felled trees leaning over the road to the site. Fortunately they weren’t actually blocking the road (they have in the past), so we had no delays cutting wood.
The passage of 12 days was also visible in the pit. Since we had to leave a lot of bones in the ground (due to the approach of Hurricane Hanna), we covered them with a “winter jacket”. This is just a temporary plaster jacket to protect exposed bones in the ground until they can be removed. Even here the rapid weathering rates at Carmel Church are apparent. There’s a lot of sediment that has washed down on top of the winter jacket, as well as staining from iron and sulfur in the sediment that has reacted with oxygen and water (and we also had a plastic tarp over the jacket). There was even some minor deterioration of the bones themselves, but nothing too severe.
Our intention had been to quickly jacket the skeleton we uncovered last time. Already our plans are somewhat dashed, by finding another vertebra in the series, as indicated by the arrow below: