Thursday, November 22, 2007

The wild turkey and the breccia

If it hadn’t been for the wild turkey, we would never have found the breccia.

We were working our way toward a section of a fault zone where two entirely different senses of movement had been described. We had already taken an interesting but physically challenging route to the area, and as a result, we were hurrying to the spot where we expected to find the interesting rocks. And then we saw the turkey.

She – well, at least we thought it was a she – was moving rather slowly across an open area, dragging a wing. I had seen that kind of trick before, when I worked beyond treeline in Alaska, so I figured that she probably had chicks that she wanted us to avoid. So, polite geologists that we were, we decided to follow her.

She led us in a wide circle, back up the hill we had been coming down. No matter, we thought. We could always take a longer route once she was satisfied that her babies were safe.

And then we saw the outcrop. A great wall of rock, on the west side of the saddle. We went and looked at it... and there it was. The fault zone we had been chasing.

We followed it up the hill, found patches of deformed granite caught in the fault zone, and took samples. We haven’t analyzed them yet. Maybe they’re significant. Maybe not.

But we wouldn’t have seen them at all, if it hadn’t been for the wild turkey.

(Image source: Utah's Hogle Zoo. I forgot my camera that day. Oops.)

Happy Thanksgiving to those in the US, and happy Nov. 22 to everyone else.


Thermochronic said...

When I read your title I thought you were thanking a bottle of bourbon!

dmonte said...

It's always great stumbling on that one key outcrop in field work.
Happy Thanksgiving

Kim said...

Same to you, dmonte!

And Thermo - :D Yeah, I knew the confusion would come up.