In August, Collection Manager Albert Kollar (Section of Invertebrate Paleontology) was notified by the American Association of Petroleum Geologists–one of the world’s largest geological professional societies–that he had been selected to receive the George V. Cohee Public Service Award. The award recognizes the contributions of geologists to the public. With Albert’s service in the Pittsburgh Geological Society and his long record of public education, field trips, and outreach devoted to the geosciences, this award is an appropriate tribute for his 40+ years of public service.
Smithsonite and gypsum in Hillman Hall of Minerals and Gems.
(photo by Hayley Pontia)
Last month, Carnegie Museum of Natural History Geologist Albert Kollar was traveling in France on a research trip, where a local newspaper wrote about his work. Read the translation below.
In the picture, Kollar is photographed with representatives of the SPIA associations of Saint-Quentin, the Friends of the old Tullins, the Archaeological Association of Veurey and Corepha de Vorepp. Kollar is in the middle, crouching.
An American geologist visits the Echaillon
On Monday, the association SPIA (protection of the past
industrial patrimony) welcomed for two days Albert Kollar, an American
geologist from the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
He is the person responsible of the impressive fossil collection (more than
800.000 registered) and the stones. It is in this regard that he came in Isère,
because the columns of the Carnegie Museum are made of “yellow Echaillon”.
His objective was to know better the story of this stone
stemming from the region and chosen by the architects of Boston in charge of
the construction of the Museum in 1907.
Supported by the associations “Corepha de Voreppe” and “The
Friends of the old Tullins”, and by the Archaeological Association of Veurey,
SPIA reconstituted the story of this “stone of Echaillon”. Then, the American
geologist visited the stone quarries of the Echaillon and the Lignet.
Albert Kollar was amazed by the production sites and by the
ingenuity of the techniques used by the past.
Despite the multitude of constructions made with this stone,
he was surprised that it was never recorded in the “Global heritage stone resource”,
the Gotha of stones and proposed to provide assistance to remedy it.
As I travelled west from Pittsburgh to meet Carnegie Museum of Natural Hisotry Vertebrate Fossil Collection Manager Amy Henrici for a frog fossil hunting expedition in eastern Nevada, the same question was asked by each of my airplane seat mates.
“How do you know where to look for fossils?“
For the sites we planned to visit the answer was simple. Earlier written reports by geologists mapping rock formations and mineral deposits noted the occasion occurrence of fossils in certain rock layers.
Fossil searches involved locating and visiting sites where such rock layers are exposed on the surface, and then examining fragments that have eroded from these outcrops.The full process, which might stretch over decades, is an example of how published findings allow one branch of science to serve another.
As a geologist friend takes great pleasure in explaining, “Geologists let paleontologists know where fossils are in the multitude rock layers of Earth’s history, in time and in place.”
Patrick McShea is a museum educator who is traveling through Nevada with Vertebrate Paleontology Collections Manager Amy Henrici to search for frog fossils. He frequently blogs about his experiences.