Overnight trip to Koobi Fora

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Nearing the end of the Geology module, we all set out for an overnight trip to the famous Koobi Fora camp area. The Koobi Fora area is historically significant for human origins research, most notably a hot spot for this discipline since the beginning of Drs. Richard and Meave Leakey’s research in the 1960’s and 70’s. Since that time, Koobi Fora has attracted researchers from all over the world from a multitude of disciplines. Many of the fossil hominin finds in this area have revolutionized our understanding of human origins. Geologists, working closely with palaeoanthropologists, have also played an enormous role in this research, creating a timeline of changing environments through time. Dr. Feibel has conducted research in this area since graduate school and so gave us an unforgettable tour of the geology in the region.

oldkoobi

Buildings at Koobi Fora camp.

It is a long drive from Ileret to Koobi Fora with few roads – so we took a few stops along the way.

The mostly complete remains of a giant ancient elephant are protected by a structure constructed overtop of them.

The mostly complete remains of a giant ancient elephant are protected by a structure constructed overtop of them.

elephantbones

The elephant bone pile.

lookingatelephant

How did it die? Why here? Why is it such a complete specimen?

evanryansandstone

Ryan, Evan and Yemane out the deposits underlying a sandstone cap.

clamtraces

Biological traces of clams burrowing in the mud.

koobihike2

A big hike to tour the geology in the Koobi Fora region.

shellsandstone

A sandstone deposit full of ancient shells. These organisms lived in the lake a long time ago when the lake levels were higher.

billmilena_brunton

Visiting geologist, William E. Holt, assists Milena as she records the strike and dip of the shelly sandstone deposit.

kaitbrunton

Kait practices her  brunton compass skills.

ryanbrunton

Ryan places the brunton compass on a flat surface to get stable measurements of strike and dip of the sandstone.

jamiemaddie

Maddie and Jamie work together to measure the strike and dip.

robnigussbrunton

Rob and Niguss use the brunton compass to measure strike and dip.

lakestrat

A beautiful stratigraphic section of lake deposits showing evidence of changing environments through time.

boblindalakestrat

Dr. Bob Raynolds and TBI field school director Linda Martin record their observations of a tuff within the lake deposits.

gypsummudclaystone

A stripe of white gypsum within the mudstones.

shelldeathbentonite

A layer of shells indicating a happy lake environment, capped by a bentonite (formed from volcanic ash) layer, indicated widespread death of these organisms.

ostracoddeposit

Checking out a deposit full of ostracods.

yemaneostracod

Yemane and Adriadne use hand lenses to get a better look at the tiny ostracods.

algalbiscuit

Director Linda Martin shows Niguss another type of stromatolite, an ‘algal biscuit.’

galanalookout

Dr. Feibel points out the extend of the Holocene Galana Boi deposits.

galanacracks

Galana Boi deposits are typically lighter in color and soft. They always contain many shells.

groupphoto

Up next is the Human Evolution module at TBI- Turkwel.

By | 2017-01-04T18:04:35+00:00 March 5th, 2016|Field Schools, Spring 2016|Comments Off on Overnight trip to Koobi Fora

About the Author:

I am a Ph.D. candidate at Stony Brook University, NY and have the pleasure of being the Resident Academic Director of the TBI Origins field school for Spring 2017. I study Early Pleistocene stone tool technology, and have been conducting research in Turkana since 2012. My dissertation research uses an experimental approach investigating when and how human ancestors started creating patterned shapes in their stone tools (< 2 million years ago).