9/16/2006

Smaller- scale cool stuff in Laingsberg


This is a rusty windmill which pulls water up from a shallow well into a sheep trough. This one's no longer in use but there are plenty out there that are. The Karoo reminds me so much of the Rockies foothills, I think Dad will absolutely love it.



I was walking up a wash and came across this kitchen stool hung up in a tree. The last big flash floods through these washes came in 1981 - the Buffels River flooded Laingsberg and over 100 people were lost. This wash is one of many tributaries in the field area where debris was found - Taufeeq, Teboho and Thakane reported overturned cars in Area 7.



Finally a Dassie! Also known as Rock Hyrax (Procavia capensis). Closest relatives: elephants and sirenians. It's funny, I noticed a distinctive trackway in some of the sandy areas that looked like a huge crab trail. In fact, it's this guy with his weird little feet, and belly that drags on the ground! They occupy a similar niche to desert rats of the American SW, occupying middens high in rocky cliffs. They squeak a lot and are very social.



This beautiful doe and her fawn (underneath doe in the shade of her body) literally chirped at me. That is, when I came over the ridge and surprised them, she held her ground and vocalized in an aggressive manner. I am totally unused to this behavior from an ungulate. Something new every day. While I'm thinking of it, there are fresh water crabs in the creeks around Worcester. Am I nuts, or have I never seen a crab in a creek before? They look just like the ordinary tide pool crabs I know from home.



Marine invertebrate trackways in the Kweekvlei Shale (Devonian age). The Permian Ecca Group (which is just one fold axis away!) is host to the recently discovered Giant Arthropod Trackways. They were made by a 2.5-meter long water scorpion in about 100-200m of water. Just try to picture it. Anyway, these trackways I found are probably just some little wormy things. These strata (or their equivalents) are spread across southern Gondwana and equivalents are described in South America, Antarctica, and the Falkland Islands. Just picture the huge Ecca Sea, at 50-70degrees south, a cold salty basin on a giant icey continent full of 8-ft water scorpions. Beat that Hollywood!




Last geologic feature of Laingsberg for the moment - This is the top of the Waaiport shale unit. These delicate olive-green shales were over-ridden by the Dwyka glaciation, which left the top meter or so "crumpled" - as Melody points out with her foot here - and dumped 750m of tills, rock-flour shales, and diamictites over the top of them.

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