Here we are on the east of Argentina, to take part in a paleontological mission ! Before starting, I finally find the opportunity to go to my first tango lesson (a journalist was there : find his article over here). When the pilots from the Trelew airclub hear the news, they decide to organize a surprise... When we come back to watch the ultralight, the hangar had been transformed into a dance floor under the neon lights, and there is a tango show that is starting ! Wow !
After this great evening, we meet with the paleontologists of the Museum of Paleontology Egidio Feruglio, the very people who have discovered the largest dinosaur ever known, the titanosaur.
Pr. Marcelo Krause mandated us to carry out the mission to overflight, photography and modeling of all the areas that we could contain some rhizoliths... some what ? Rhizoliths are fossils of roots of trees, old of nearly 30 million years ago.
Let us explain : currently the area between the towns of Trelew and Comodoro Rivadavia is extremely dry, not a tree is growing and we can hardly see a few thorny bushes. But there's a very long time ago, at the time just after the dinosaurs, there was a forest which took deeply its water.
Of course, there is nothing left, but these roots of trees are there to remind us this old time ! How is this possible? The shrubs are dead, dried up, and the soil around the roots turned to stone. Then the roots were missing too, but leaving an empty space inside of these blocks of stone, beneath the earth. Finally the Wind, by erosion, moved tons of dirt from the ground, leaving out of the surface petrified columns which contain small holes: the ancient roots of trees. From the Sky it looks like a forest of columns !
Our mission proves to be a success, because we have actually been able to map known areas, and discover other similar ones that demonstrate the existence of the ancient forests :) By the way, do you want to navigate over this amazing area and play between the rizolithes ? It is possible over there : enjoy our digital elevation model over there !
Below, an interview of a local TV (Siete Noticias) in spanish, and pictures of the mission :
Click on this last picture above to enjoy the 3d model and to fly between the fossils !