Friday, 17 August 2012

Neoichnology in the desert

Here in the UK we're a little short of deserts, so whilst in the US for last year's SVP we took advantage of visiting the Mojave and spend some time with the SVP field trip in Utah and northern Arizona. Below is a small selection of tracks we encountered whilst out and about.

Arthropod track. Coral Pink Sand Dunes, Utah.

Arthropod track. Coral Pink Sand Dunes, Utah. Notice other tracks crossing nearly perpendicular to
the double-lined track, possibly an arachnid trace.

Kangaroo Rat. Coral Pink Sand Dunes, Utah.

The Beehives, Valley of Fire, Nevada. This trackway, which obviously belongs to a large mammal
was a few hundred yards away from the car park. Note the paired footprints and tail drag mark.

Close-up of one of the footprints from the trackway pictured above.
Could this be a coyote trackway?

Finally . . . ichnology courtesy of the old ones. Vicinity of Atlatl Rock, Valley of Fire, Nevada.
My wife spotted this track on the underside of a large fallen boulder that had petroglyphs on the outer face. Note very narrow pace angulation, deep impressions and displacement rims suggesting
soft substrate and possible bioturbation traces on the surface. A beauty of a track
but we had zero time to record it as we were already being called back to the truck. Bah.

I wish I had more time to record all of these traces properly, but time didn't permit, especially on the Valley of Fire trip which was an excursion from Las Vegas, and was running to a strict schedule. Also, I wasn't so ready for photogrammetry at the time, now it would be very different!

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