jurassic-period

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The Wave

In the Coyote Buttes ravine in Arizona, huge waves of richly-coloured sandstone undulate across the landscape, looking as though they were painted by a giant hand. 190 million years ago in the Jurassic era, these sandstone waves (dubbed “The Wave”) were actually sand dunes migrating across the desert, but over the years they have calcified both horizontally and vertically, becoming compacted rocks. Their strange ridges and troughs were created by millions of years of wind and rain erosion, whose twists and turns reflect changes to the wind patterns in the Jurassic period. Erosion still affects the Wave today, mostly by wind that is now naturally channelled through it. This formation is a snapshot in geological time, a breathtaking exhibit of the effect of natural forces on their environment. It can only be reached on foot via a five kilometre hike, and since the sandstone is fairly soft, visitors are highly regulated—only twenty people are allowed to walk on the Wave each day. Walking across the weird, topsy-turvy landscape would be a surreal experience in itself, but if you need another reason to visit, the formation also boasts the fossil burrows of ancient arthropods like beetles—as well as the imprints of dinosaur tracks.

(Image Credit: 1, 2)

‘Dad, look what I found!’ How five-year-old girl dug up rare 160m-year-old fossil with plastic spade

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A five-year-old schoolgirl discovered a rare 160million-year-old fossil while digging beside a lake using a plastic spade.

Delighted Emily Baldry found the Jurassic period rock at Cotswold Water Park in Gloucestershire while on her first archaeological dig with dad Jon.

And the 130lb fossil, which she has named Spike, has now been restored to its full splendour by palaeontologist Neville Hollingworth.

‘It’s so exciting to see him,’ said Emily, from Chippenham in Wiltshire, on being reunited with the ammonite. 'I was very happy when I first saw him and now he looks very shiny.

'I bring him into school and all my friends like him too.’

She yesterday presented the fossilised sea creature, which is 40cm in diameter and has 2cm spikes, to the Gateway Information Centre near Cirencester, Gloucestershire. Read more.

New Zealand: Earth’s Mythical Islands - in pictures

The sole surviving member of an ancient lineage of reptiles which flourished on Earth during the Jurassic period, tuatara are uniquely specialised to the temperate climate of New Zealand.

Photograph: Claire Thompson/BBC