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> August 3, 2006 - Kikak-tegoseak Dinosaur Quarry
post Aug 6 2006, 03:09 AM
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This morning it was raining and the clouds hung low in the sky. After a quick breakfast of oatmeal and trail mix, we crossed the river to find a suitable place to land near the quarry. Tony, a paleontologist from the Dallas Museum of Science and Nature, was at this site in 2002. During that previous expedition, they uncovered a huge amount of dinosaur bones. The most important being the skull of a pachyrhinosaur he discovered in 2001.

Tony had hoped to extract the skull during the 2002 season, but ran out of time. To protect the skull and other bones, he encased the slab in a jacket of burlap and plaster. To reach the Kikak-tegoseak quarry required quite a bit of stamina. We had to negotiate up an extremely steep three-hundred foot bluff comprising mud and lose sediment. One false step or loss of balance could result in a dangerous fall into the river.

When we finally arrived at the site, weathering and erosion had covered almost all of the jacket. After some excavation, the jacket from 2002 was exposed and the team began layering the jacket with additional burlap and plaster for strength. This dinosaur quarry is difficult to work with because the material surrounding the bone (called the matrix) has been severely battered by constant cycles of freezing and thawing.

Tony and Kent hope to extract the slab intact, so the bones can be removed more carefully at the museum. Another reason for attempting to remove this slab of bones as a unit is the skull itself. The skull of any dinosaur is not only important for interpreting information about the species, but also fragile. Another problem is that the slab containing the bones is slumping dangerously downward. If these bones are not recovered soon, they will cascade downward and be lost forever in the chilly waters of the Colville River. Tomorrow we hope to extract the first portion of the slab.

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Kent and Tony climbing bluff to reach the dinosaur quarry.
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