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> Arctic Dinosaur Ecosystem: North Slope, Alaska

Rocks for Wyatt


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Description: A great number of bad weather days have restricted us to camp because it is too dangerous to clamber up the bluff to the quarry. With little to do at camp, I often explore the gravel lined beaches of the Colville River searching for interesting rocks for my two-year old son Wyatt. These are examples of the many colors of rocks found along the river.

Bone Quarry Progress


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Description: This is photo of the bone quarry from the ridge we use to climb to the top of the bluff. When we first arrived, most of the white jacket was buried beneath sediment. We have done a lot of excavating, but much more is necessary to facilitate the removal of the jacket from the bluff.

Bone with Tooth Mark


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Description: Tony discovered something today that everyone found interesting. He uncovered a bone with a bite mark on it. This is an important find because it offers evidence that there were carnivores in the ecosystem.

Jason at Quarry


Uploaded by: Jason_Petula

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Description: The quarry not only contains dinosaur fossils, but also clues about the dinosaur's environment. The rocks that encase the dinosaur bones are all fine-grained - suggesting a low energy environment.

Occipital Condyle


Uploaded by: Jason_Petula

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Description: This is a photo of a bone found today called the occipital condyle. It is a very important find because it is an easy way to not only identify the species as a pachyrhinosaur, but also that it is a skull. This particular bone is located at the base of the skull and attaches to the vertebral column.

Tyrannosaurus Tooth


Uploaded by: Jason_Petula

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Description: Thomas found a Tyrannosaurus tooth near the spot I was working today. This is exciting because when a tooth is found there may be a head!

Bath Time


Uploaded by: Jason_Petula

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Description: Excavating in the quarry all day produces a lot of sweat and blisters. There are two options for dealing with a dirty person: (1) Wait a month until returning to town where there is running water, or (2) Dunk your head into a frigid river and scrub up. The water is vividly cool, but also very refreshing!

Dave's Frustration...


Uploaded by: Jason_Petula

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Description: Dave has been resolving problem after problem with the boat motors. He is understandably frustrated. Nonetheless, he keeps his cool and always comes up with a solution. For instance, he managed to repair the boat from yesterday's accident.

Hauling Jackets up the...


Uploaded by: Jason_Petula

On: 1154990855

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Description: Once a portion of the slab has a jacket around it, the next step is to haul the jacket to the top of the bluff. The bluff's top is approximately 50 feet above the quarry. This jacket weighs about 250 pounds and took five men to haul to the top.

Accident on the River


Uploaded by: Jason_Petula

On: 1154990232

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Description: Landing inflatable boats on gravel bars is relatively straight forward because the rocks have been weathered round. However, the landslides from the bluffs introduce new rock to the river that is sharp and angular. One of the boats accidently hit one such rock hidden beneath the surface. The impact was great enough to punction the material and damage the boat. Dave towed the boat back to camp to begin repairs.

Jason Uncovering a Din...


Uploaded by: Jason_Petula

On: 1154989572

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Description: Layers of rock and sediment are carefully removed from the quarry. When a suspect bone is found, the matrix removal process slows down. Often, it is necessary to use brushes to slowly reveal the bone. In this case, a portion of the skull is revealed.

Kent Holding Bone Stil...


Uploaded by: Jason_Petula

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Description: Kent is holding a newly uncovered bone still in the matrix. The matrix is the rock surrounding the bone and is usually removed by a preparator. Removing an entire dinosaurs from the matrix can take months, if not years of careful labor.

Get Ready to Leave Umiat


Uploaded by: Jason_Petula

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Description: The expedition is almost underway!

Loading Boats at Umiat


Uploaded by: Jason_Petula

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Description: The boats were too heavy to man haul the mile stretch from Umiat to the river. We decided to use an unusual looking machine pulling a water tank for the camp. The machine is equipment with four-foot tires that allows it to cross the muddy path to the river. Lifting the boats atop the tank was no easy task.

Landing Boats at Grave...


Uploaded by: Jason_Petula

On: 1154760087

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Description: The Colville River is a massive river that is choked with fine sediments. The sediments in the river give it a chocolate milk color.

Landing at Umiat


Uploaded by: Jason_Petula

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Description: Umiat is a permanent field camp located on the North Slope of Alaska. The story of Umiat's origin varies depending on who you ask. The most common story I heard was that it used to be a military camp used primarily by the Navy as a fueling station for petroleum expeditions further north. Now, it is shared by a variety of groups. The only odd thing about the camp is that a group of workers are inciderating dirt. One graduate students thinks the dirt may be contaminated with fuel from when this was used by the military. Maybe a little investigating on the Internet will reveal the true story.

Kent Using Rock Saw


Uploaded by: Jason_Petula

On: 1154758830

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Description: Kent uses a rock saw to cut the massive jacket into a more reasonable size. Once the jacket is cut, the team will begin under cutting the rock slab to release it from the larger unit. The portion Kent is cutting contains the head of a pachyrhinosaur.

Climbing the Bluffs


Uploaded by: Jason_Petula

On: 1154747282

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Description: Kent and Tony climb up the bluffs to the Kikak-tegoseak quarry. Climbing the bluffs is challenging because the sediment is lose and muddy. One slip and a person could easily tumble up to 300 feet into the Colville River.

Kikak-tegoseak dinosau...


Uploaded by: Jason_Petula

On: 1154746867

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Description: This is the Kikak-tegoseak dinosaur quarry. Kent (Preparator) and two graduates students from Southern Methodist University Thomas Adams and Chris Strganac jacket a pachyrhinosaur skull and other fossils with burlap and plaster.

Entering the Brooks Range


Uploaded by: Jason_Petula

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Description: We flew a Cessna Caravan from Fairbanks to Umiat. The flight was beautiful, especially the portion through the Brooks Range. The pilot flew low allowing us to see the landscape in great detail. I even saw some Mountain Sheep.

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