On February 12, the research team aboard the Nathaniel B. Palmer arrived at James Ross Island, just four days after leaving Punta Arenas. When the NBO16-02 team was ready to set up the instillation of their primary camp the following day, they discovered that the area where the most important paleontological and geological localities were located was not accessible due to the amount of ice present.
Installation of the Cape Lamb camp was completed on February 14. A four person team conducted a helicopter-supported reconnaissance of Cape Marsh which sits approximately 120 kilometers south of the James Ross Island Group. Although there were no traces of vertebrate fossils, the team collected abundant and well-preserved Cretaceous invertebrates, fossil wood, and geological samples.
Sandwich Bluff and Seymour Island both produced a significant amount of well-preserved Late Cretaceous and Eocene-aged fossils as well. On Humps Island, the entire team found a well-exposed section causing them to reach a new record of 97 paleomagnetic samples collected in a single day!
In addition, the researchers have been working to use helicopter-based photogrammetry as a a tool for providing context for sampling efforts and to help link stratigraphic sections across islands in the James Ross Basin.
Even though the researchers have been very busy with their scientific work, they have also made time to interact with the public and answer questions about their work from Antarctica. The team conducted an
“Ask Me Anything” session on Reddit that produced more than 400 questions. In addition, Matt Lamanna has been holding live video conferences projected in Carnegie Museum of Natural History Earth Theatre and there will be a public Skype session in Oakland, Pennsylvania on March 10. Check out http://antarcticdinos.org or visit their Twitter account @antarcticdinos to learn more about their expedition.
Matt Lamanna, is a paleontologist and the principal dinosaur researcher at Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh. Matt and his team of researchers blog frequently from the field at antarticdinos.org.