Mad Max: Fury Quarry

There’s a hadrosaur underneath this cliff. (Probably.)

For the second week of our field expedition, we drove from Utah to a site near Rangely, Colorado, to help the Colorado Northwestern Community College with a specimen poking out of a cliff. We’ve shifted into the Upper Cretaceous here, and are working in the Mesaverde Formation. There’s not very much known about the dinosaurs from this formation, so hopefully this will shed some more light on the dinosaurs in this region!

In between Utah and Rangely, we spent a night in Grand Junction and went to see Mad Max: Fury Road, which was way more awesome than any of us had really anticipated and which was basically all we could talk about all week. And so I must also share this great photo that Lindsay took! According to buzzfeed, my Mad Max name is Roop Duststorm, which seems appropriate given the dustiness of working around a rock saw all day.

I did a lot of jackhammering last week, which was great fun if terrible for my lower back, but my favourite thing to do is to pop off the blocks made using the rock saw. You cut a grid into the rock, position your chisel at just the right point, give a couple of hearty whacks with a crack hammer, and off pop these incredibly satisfying ‘brownies’ of sandstone. It’s still slow going, but you can move a lot of rock a lot more quickly this way. (Thanks to Lindsay again for snapping this fun photo!)

Early in the week we were plagued with constant large thunderstorms that rolled in every few hours and made things kind of cold and miserable. Thankfully, this was the last one and it missed us! Instead, it just looked dramatic, which is fine by me.

By last Saturday we had made a lot of progress, although there is still a long way to go to get down to the bone level and (hopefully) find a good dinosaur down there. Best of luck to the crew as they keep working furiously away!

*’Fury Quarry’ is also shamelessly stolen from Lindsay.

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