On day five in the field, our team drove about a half hour away from our camp site to Hushoot Shiveetiin gol (aka “Car Wreck Locality”). Prior to this trip in 2012, Dr. Waters and the rest of IGCP 596&580, who were doing research in Mongolia, accidentally crashed a van at this field site. While they were waiting for the driver to fix the damage, they managed to stumble upon a field locality rich in Late Devonian fossils, which they believe strongly correlated to their initial field site at the Gerelt Hoshoo Locality. Because of this discovery, our group decided to dedicate a full day of field research to this locality.
Dr. Carmichael, Dr. Waters and I began the day scoping out the area. The Car Wreck Locality had never been fully mapped out or explored, so it was essential that we gathered a basic understanding of the overall geology of the locality before taking samples. The locality mainly consists of fossil-rich siltstones that can be correlated with Unit 3 in the measured Gerelt Hoshoo locality.
I remember clearly that this was the day in the field that Dr. Carmichael and I realized Dr. Waters NEEDED A NEW TAPE MEASURE! Dr. C and I decided it would be a good idea to measure out a strat column of the area-and Dr. Waters kindly let us use his tape measure (which was already taped up with layers and layers of duct tape). After five minutes the tape measure broke and we couldn’t reel the measure back into the casing, so we had to take turns walking to each other and folding the tape measure up when we were done. It made the task of creating a stratigraphic column more difficult and frustrating than it should of been, but we were able to get a section complete and when Dr. Waters asked for his tape measure back, we told him “No, you need to get a new one!!!!” and his response was, “But that tape measure is special to me. I dropped it off the side of a mountain-and it still works fine!” Dr. C and I easily decided that we were going to get him a new tape measure for his birthday.
Right before lunch, Dr. C, Dr. Waters and I excitingly came across a mafic pillow basalt layer in this locality. This was an awesome discovery because it supported our hypothesis that we were in a volcanic arc complex!
After taking samples of the basalt, we happily drove back to our base camp where we talked the whole night about our discoveries. While gathered around the tables in the ger, eating Russian chocolate and Mongolian tea, this was the night I realized how much fun field work is. You go into the field with proposed hypotheses of what you are going to find, and while you will inevitably stumble upon numerous obstacles along the way, when you find something that supports what you had hypothesized, everything pays off and you fall in love with science all over again!