Lothagam – a geologist’s wonderland

|Lothagam – a geologist’s wonderland

Lothagam- basaltic lava flows, lahars, faulting, volcanic ash, erosion, river channel deposits, muddy floodplains and ancient soils, lake deposits, shell beds, oyster reefs, more volcanic ash, more faults, more erosion, more deposition, and so much more!

  • Day 1
Dylan's first look of Lothagam.

Dylan’s gazes out of the lowry as we approach Lothagam.

Camping spot.

Camping spot.

Our hike begins.

Our hike begins.

First look at the Lothagam landscape with a rock record of the Miocene - Holocene.

First look at the Lothagam landscape.

Heading over the west ridge.

Heading over the west ridge.

Dr. Feibel points out the Kerio River in the distance.

Dr. Feibel points out the Kerio River in the distance as we stand on top of lahar deposits from the Middle Miocene.

Rachel, Aileen, and Page pose for a picture with columnar basalts behind them.

Rachel, Aileen, and Page pose for a picture with columnar basalts behind them.

Page and Jayde race up the sand dune. That was tiring!

Page and Jayde race up the sand dune. That was tiring!

The group takes a water break along the Lothagam fault.

The group takes a water break along the Lothagam fault.

Rock climbers, Anna and Rachel, scale the footwall of the Lothagam fault.

Rock climbers, Anna and Rachel, scale the footwall of the Lothagam fault.

Professor Reynolds creates a sketch of the fault in Jayde's notebook.

Professor Reynolds creates a sketch of the fault in Jayde’s notebook.

4 Geologists

Four Geologists.

Lunch time braiding. Even Dylan is getting his hair braided.

Lunch time braiding. Even Dylan is getting his hair braided.

Beginning our afternoon hike.

Beginning our afternoon hike.

Check out those red beds!

Check out those red beds!

Mike.

Another view of those red beds.

Mike and Kate admire the erosion.

Mike and Kate admire the erosion.

Dr. Feibel points out a tuff and a debris flow above. Car-sized rip-up clasts of the tuff can be seen in the above layer.

Dr. Feibel points out a Miocene tuff. The debris flow layer above contained car-sized rip-up clasts of the lower tuff.

Group wave at an outcrop.

Group wave at an outcrop.

Rachel, Jayde, and Larisa are so happy to be there. They didn't want to leave.

Rachel, Jayde, and Larisa love Lothagam. They didn’t want to leave.

Kate and Page also pose for a picture in this beautiful place.

Kate and Page also pose for a picture in this beautiful place.

Dr. Feibel pauses to ask students to be careful in this area that is rich with Holocene artifacts.

Dr. Feibel pauses to ask students to be careful in this area they will visit next- it is rich with Holocene artifacts and fossils.

Jayde smiles with an artifact she found....but put back down where she found it.

Jayde smiles with a flake she found….but she put it back down where she found it.

Larisa examines the Middle Holocene stone pillar site.

Larisa examines the Middle Holocene stone pillar site.

Future archaeologist!

Future archaeologist!

Sam, the adventurer.

Sam. There’s no mountain she can’t climb.

At the end of the day, Sam finds a hippo mandible.

At the end of the day, Sam finds a hippo mandible.

Back to camp and time to roll out our sleeping mats and hang up our mosquito nets. Was a great first day!

Back to camp and time to roll out our sleeping mats and hang up our mosquito nets. Was a great first day!

  •  Day 2
Long hike to the waterhole.

Long hike to the waterhole.

Late Miocene casts of giraffe footprints.

Late Miocene casts of giraffe footprints.

Anna examines the footprints that originally occurred in the lower mudstone and had been filled in by the sandstone.

Anna examines the footprints that originally occurred in the lower mudstone and had been filled in by the sandstone.

Jayde poses with a sandstone block that shows the giraffe had slid in the mud.

Jayde poses with a sandstone block that shows the giraffe had slid in the mud.

Dr. Feibel points out a fault in the area. This time the fault surface was beneath their feet.

Dr. Feibel points out a fault in the area. This time the fault surface was beneath their feet.

It appears that Mike is teaching Kate how to use a camera.

It appears that Mike is teaching Kate how to use a camera.

Linda laughs at

Linda congratulates James on a good fossil find.

Jayde, Anna, and Sam pose with both sides of a rhino mandible.

Jayde, Anna, and Sam pose with both sides of a rhino mandible.

Page also make a fossil discovery.

Page also make a fossil discovery.

Holocene beach deposits. The white layers are shell beds.

Holocene beach deposits. The white layers are shell beds.

Larisa at the top of the Holocene outcrop.

Larisa at the top of the Holocene outcrop.

Anna finds a Holocene bone harpoon.

Anna finds a Holocene bone harpoon.

James also find a bone harpoon. It appears that humans were fishing in this area during the Holocene.

James also find a bone harpoon. It appears that humans were fishing in this area during the Holocene.

Holocene

Holocene diatomites.

One of our camera men and expert fossil hunter, John Ekusi.

One of our camera men and expert fossil hunter, John Ekusi.

Page

Page.

Jayde, Anna, and Rachel.

Jayde, Anna, and Rachel.

Aileen, Larisa, and Sam.

Aileen, Larisa, and Sam.

Aileen and Page are almost to the waterhole.

Aileen and Page are almost to the waterhole.

Kate looks down on the waterhole.

Kate looks down on the waterhole.

The waterhole.

The waterhole.

Dr. Feibel discusses the reason for the waterhole in this area and its use by the local Turkana. In addition, he sends them on their way back to camp.

Dr. Feibel discusses the reason for the waterhole in this area and its use by the local Turkana. In addition, he sends them on their way back to camp.

Tired and hungry after that ~10 km+ hike!

Tired and hungry after that ~10 km+ hike!

Back at camp. Post lunch nap time before our ride back to TBI.

Back at camp. Post lunch nap time before our ride back to TBI.

Overall we had a GREAT time at Lothagam. The Geology Module was such a busy/nonstop time of assignments, readings, lectures, and a lot of time in the field. All were sad that it ended so fast but looked forward to new adventures in the next module- Archaeology.

 

By | 2017-01-04T18:04:48+00:00 February 28th, 2015|Field Schools, Spring 2015|Comments Off on Lothagam – a geologist’s wonderland

About the Author:

Hi I'm Linda. I'm the Resident Academic Director for the Origins Field School. In addition, I'm a geologist. I have been working in the Turkana Basin since 2011 and am interested in reconstructing the past landscape on which our ancestors evolved.