Monday, May 04, 2009

Fossil hunting near the pyramids

Missouri S&T

Earlier this semester, Dr. Francisca Oboh-Ikuenobe and two undergraduates, Kristen Arneson and Cassandra Browne, spent eight days in Egypt for a collaborative research project with Dr. Mohamed Ibrahim at the University of Alexandria. The research site was in the desert, less than 10 miles from the pyramids.

The project, funded by the National Science Foundation, focused on the hydrocarbon potential in Late Cretaceous desert sedimentary rock formations.

"Depending on the composition of the fossils in a piece of rock, we can tell whether the land was once covered by an ocean, or how far the land was from the shore," says Oboh-Ikuenobe, a professor of geology and geophysics at Missouri S&T.

Back at S&T, Arneson and Browne can study thin samples of the rocks in a paleontology laboratory in order to determine their organic contents.

"The fieldwork we did allowed us to see the rocks in their natural location, before they have been processed into sample slides," says Arneson. "A lot of the lingering questions I had about my research were answered."

See the above page for more.

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