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Hunting fossils in Indonesia

3 Posts tagged with the coral_reef tag
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By Elena Lo Giudice, University of Kiel

 

This is Elena, a PhD student at the University of Kiel, in Germany. I’m an oceanographer so this is my first time on land and I never thought that the life of a geologist could be so exciting.

 

Our adventure started early in the morning trying to communicate with our driver, a very nice, patient and always-smiling guy. After a couple of misunderstandings we arrived at the outcrop and we started the initial investigation of the area. Our curiosity about a missing part of the rock succession drove us at first to the playground of a school, which was built in the middle of the section. Here we were accepted as rockstars - everybody wanted a picture of us - and then we reached the base of the outcrop, a very important point for our work. We were working on the edge of a mining area - there are lots of coal mines here. We will work on mined outcrops higher up in the section later this week but first we need to have health and safety training so we can be safe around the mining roads.

 


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Nathan and me with students at the local school

 

Our work today consisted of logging the outcrop, for instance defining the different rocks and geological structures present in the strata – from the base to the top - and measuring them. We make this information into a diagram (a log) so that other people on our trip can use them when they want to collect from the section. This way they will know where their fossil or rock samples came from and when we work out the ages and palaeoenvironments of the sections, they can relate that information back to the fossil faunas and floras they have identified and have more information on how they lived.

 

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Layers of clay, silt and sandstone at the Stadion Section near Samarinda

 

So, after this amazing day, I came back to the hotel with our driver’s smile impressed in my mind, a lot of pictures with the school guys and, of course, 80m of logged section, what can I ask more for just a single day?

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Upside-down canoe volcano

Posted by Lil S Nov 23, 2010

By Simone Arragoni, University of Granada, Spain

 

Indonesia… Just the sound of this word is enough to excite every geologist’s fantasy!! And that’s the place where we are right now!

 

Here the geology is something living, not just strange and boring words on a book: Indonesia is the hot and restless daughter of the convergence between the Indo-Pacific and Australian plates, animated by earthquakes, tsunamis, giant slides and….volcanoes, of course!!

 

 

We are now in Bandung, 140 km east of Jakarta, close to the Tangkuban Perahu Volcano (the “overturned boat-shaped” volcano), so we have enjoyed a “wet” tour in the lush rainforest which covers the flanks of the mountain, reaching a small crater with steam and boiling water springs. There you can even cook an egg and eat it in the foggy atmosphere created by the hot steams and the showery rains.

 

 

But the best is yet to come… through a slippery and narrow “natural staircase” we eventually reach the top of the volcano and have a look inside the main crater. And there you do feel that the mountain is alive, blowing its white fumes and quietly sleeping before the next eruption…Towards the east endless and mysterious mountains form the backbone of Java, while thousands meters below your feet the Australian plate is being pushed northwards and downwards in the mantle. The emotion is too strong (and the humidity too!), so we have to go away and eat something.

 

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The Tangkuban Perahu Volcano

 

We go down to Lembang, stopping at a typical Indonesian restaurant, where you can eat the famous ayam goreng (fried chicken). This is the real “Indonesian experience”, eating strange and spicy things and drinking hot tea and mango juice while the rain is hitting the roof.

 

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Javanese ayam goreng

 

The best conclusion for such a nice day would be a crazy ride on a rollercoaster-like road, packed up in a small van that will carry us to the hotel and the desired hot shower.

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Hunting fossils in Borneo!

Posted by Lil S Sep 7, 2010

Hello, over the next couple of months me and other scientists from the Natural History Museum are going to tell you about our field trip to Indonesia. We're going there to look at fossil tropical marine creatures from 20 million years ago and we will try to work out how they lived and how environmental change might have effected them.

 

At the moment we are getting our equipment together, having our injections, applying for visas and buying trousers-for-explorers (the ones that turn into shorts - yikes!). It's all quite exciting and we hope we'll be ready in time to fly out ion the 18th September.

 

We'll fly via Singapore to Jakarta in Java and then spend a week learning about stratigraphy in Bandung, just south of Jakarta. This is a teaching trip for Marie Curie Early Stage Researchers, so I'm looking forward to learning with them. Stratigraphy, for example, is the study of when and how rocks were laid down and what you can say about past environments by studying them.

 

After Java we'll fly to Balikpapan, which is a city in Kalimantan, western Borneo. From there we will travel north to Samarinda and start our field work. As far as I know, this will involve travelling to wherever rocks of the right age are exposed and looking to see what they contain, like corals or molluscs.

 

We will be posting pictures, video and text to this page throughout our trip, so log in to Nature Plus to hear the news of our adventures!

 

Meet the Natural History Museum explorers:

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            Dr Ken Johnson                                      Dr Jeremy Young                     Dr Jon Todd

           Corals researcher                                Microfossils researcher          Molluscs researcher

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Miss Nadia Santodomingo      Miss Emanuela Di Martino         Dr Lil Stevens

      Corals researcher                    Bryozoans researcher       Curator and palaeobotanist

 

The Mission:

We will work with people from other European and Indonesian institutions looking at how changes in the environment have affected coral reefs and shallow tropical marine ecosystems such as mangroves and seagrasses. This area has been a marine diversity hotspot for the last 20 million years and we want to look at the corals, molluscs, bryozoans, algae, and microfossils to understand how these organisms have interacted, evolved and adapted over that time. We will also study the dynamic geology of the area and the effects of ocean currents that flow from the Indian Ocean to the Pacific Ocean. Our discoveries will help us to understand why tropical marine ecosystems host a high biodiversity,and will be used to address issues associated with human disturbance and global climate change.

 

If you would like to read more about the project, go to the Indo-Pacific Ancient Ecosystems Group