One BILLION year old fossils... and SNEKS

The earth is 4 1/2 billion years old. Life on earth, at least 3 1/2 billion years. It is tough to actually imagine a billion years.

Generally accepted dates for the beginning of human history are ~2-300,000 YA. Hundreds of thousands of years is still a lot of years, but we can visualize thousands and hundreds. 100 pennies is a small pile, one thousand pennies is 10 times those small piles, one hundred thousand pennies is one hundred piles of one thousand pennies :) The leap to millions and billions is kind of abstract though. One billion is so many pennies.

A billion years ago a shallow sea covered the area of Utah I am at. You don't have to be a geologist to see that some serious geological shenanigans happened in the intervening years. From Provo south to Springville you can see that many different layers of rocks were folded in waves and taco'd before being uplifted into mountains. The waves of stone are incredible to look at.

I have posted about Rock Canyon in Provo before

Layers of pre-Cambrian shale and siltstone deposited by the shallow sea (~1 billion - 800 million years old) are exposed part way up the canyons, above much more recent sedimentary material deposited by a giant lake that used to fill Utah Valley until ~14,000 years ago (Lake Bonneville).

Pre-Cambrian Oncolites

This weekend up Right Fork Hobble Creek Canyon we found fossils from the pre-Cambrian sea, specifically oncolites. Oncolites are sedimentary structures composed of oncoloids, ovoid structures created by cyanobacterial mats growing around a seed object such as a piece of shell or rock. The encrusting microbes deposit a calcium carbonate layer, which expands outward in rings during successive growth.


You can see the growth rings well here:


I repeat - these rocks contain evidence of fossil life from 800 million to one billion years ago. Seriously mind blowing.

I also found some shale that I think contains fossilized worm or clam trails exposed in the same cut of the canyon:


We also found a lot of garter snakes in and around the creek.






Geology Reference:

BYU Geology Studies Vol. 9 Pt. 1 - Geology of the Southern Wasatch Mountains and Vicinity, Utah

Comments 17

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19.08.2019 08:17

Maybe, if you arrange what you describe as "fossils" in the proper order, they will form a pattern or a diagram... ancient wisdom from the antediluvian era, re-appearing in our age, uncovering who knows what secrets... If only the savant Dr Nyarlathotep was still here, he might share his experiences from similar fossils (I don't know why, but the link does not work, although the post is there in steemit and can be searched for).

Nice photos and cool story!

19.08.2019 10:48

The worm/clam tracks certainly could be hieroglyphic in nature. I will have to go back to the lab with that in mind :) Link works for me btw

19.08.2019 17:02

Cool! Every time you drink water that shit is old man. Drinking Dino pee

19.08.2019 11:46

Every time you breathe in, that shit is old too. Breathing in dino farts.

19.08.2019 15:27

Mmmm nice cold fresh dino pee. Does a body good :joy:

19.08.2019 17:05

1 Billion years?!? 😱😱😱

Yeah, that sort of thing blows my mind. I used to run tours along the Great Ocean Road here in Victoria (Australia), and the limestone cliffs of the Apostles are something 200 million... which blows my mind....

....But a billion...?!? Damn!!!!

Man, this planet is pretty awesome!

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19.08.2019 11:47

Yeah 200 million years is still such a long time and then you start thinking about billions. So hard to wrap the mind around it.

19.08.2019 17:06

You're such a cool dad Carl! And you get to see really cool places! Those rocks look amazing.

19.08.2019 13:33

Thanks Ruben. We have been loving summer adventures in Utah. The mountains and canyons around here are amazing.

19.08.2019 17:07

Super stuff. Great to see the things are into all that. Every day is a school day in the Nash house.

19.08.2019 15:29

They do like fossils, actually @thingone is obsessed with skeletons and bones of all kinds right now. The highlight of yesterday was discovering some kind of canine skull, maybe a coyote or possibly just a dog. He was dusting away the dirt looking for more pieces like a seasoned archaeologist. Actually he found a missing canine tooth in the dirt that we were able to re-insert into the skull.

19.08.2019 17:10

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19.08.2019 18:23

That shot of your son holding the snake is adorable.

19.08.2019 20:28

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21.08.2019 20:03

It's actually not so hard to imagine a billion pennies. The volume of one penny is .35 cm^3 multiply on one billion it is 350,000,000 cm^3 or 350 m^3

In other words, it is a cube with a side of around 6.7 meters or around 22 feet. Like a three-story house. )))

13.09.2019 01:44