Today marks the first of two things: VMNH’s first CCQ excavation of 2015 and my first excavation where I am the organizer and leader. Many thanks to Martin Marietta Quarry for continuing to support VMNH’s efforts in the quarry.
Due to the multiple storms that have hit Virginia during the last few weeks, there was an accumulation of snow within the quarry when we arrived. This week’s crew consists of two students from Roanoke College and one student from the University of Mary Washington. We were able to make it to the quarry gates and receive our safety training, but snow and ice prevented us from journeying down into the pit. Fortunately, the weather was on our side and warmed up to the mid-50s – just enough to melt a significant amount of snow and ice. By the time it was safe to enter the pit, it was late afternoon and we only had ~2 hrs to check the condition of the pit and prospect for any fossils that may have washed out since March of last year.
We weren’t at the site even five minutes when Courtland, the UMW student, found a whale caudal (tail) vertebra in the drainage area of last years pit.
Also, Catie (from RC) would a tooth that I feel I should know the ID on but can’t recall. First thought was crocodile though.
Other fossil finds include various sharks teeth, a couple shark vertebra fragments, a fish vertebra, and more (all found in less than 2 hours).
We finished off the day with a little geomorphology lesson and headed “home.” Stay tuned for more from this excavation!