Earth Sciences in Angola

A graduate student and a postdoctoral researcher in SMU’s Roy M. Huffington Department of Earth Sciences, along with Professor Louis L. Jacobs, are conducting research in Angola in southern Africa during summer 2012. They are members of an international scientific program called the PaleoAngola Project, which seeks to discover and study Angola’s vertebrate paleontology and learn about the environment in which prehistoric creatures lived. Readers also can follow their work at paleoangola.org/

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Moving on to Malembo

An update from Scott and Ricardo:

Ricardo cutting sugar cane.

We finally completed as much of the stratigraphic section as is possible working south from Lândana. We measured approximately 32 meters of section and collected over 150 fossils (mostly shark and ray teeth). That works out to an average sampling density of around one tooth every 20 cm!

Now we will switch our focus to the outcrops near Malembo and attempt to correlate those rocks with what we’ve measured at Lândana.

After we finished at Lândana, we drove south to try to locate a way down to another of the localities that Dr. Jacobs visited a few years ago. With the help of a local villager, Ricardo and Dr. Jacobs hiked down to the beach. The villager, named João, was a skilled contractor, who was born and raised in the 4th February neighborhood. He told us that in Cabinda his friends and family mostly work on hunting, fishing and farming.

Scott stayed behind to catalog fossils and rock samples and work on his field notes. On the way down to the beach, Ricardo and Dr. Jacobs ran into some ants, but they managed to escape with just a few small bites. If there’s one thing Angola has in abundance (aside from oil and diamonds), it’s ants.

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