Obtained from USGS




Research Project: Conclusion

Posted: April 15, 2013 in Uncategorized

Research Area of Petrified Wood in Lees Ferry.


Diversity of samples in terms of size and color.


A petrified wood log by the Chinle Formation.

As we expected, we found numerous amounts of petrified wood at the Chinle and Shinarump Formation. Other areas including the Debris Flow and the Talus on top of Shinarump also contain some petrified wood. Even though we had to make some modifications in the field, we consider this a very successful research project for our team. We managed to put together some data (abundance, average size, color, unique features, etc.) into graphics for our presentation purposes. Also, we are 90% done with the PowerPoint presentation where the only thing that we have to do is to add in some extra information from outside sources to support our presentation. Everything should be good to go by next week!

You can read more about our modification and methods in conducting this project in previous posts (by clicking the hyperlink).

Question of the day: Is this coal, petrified wood, or something else?



Our hypothesis was that the abundance of petrified wood in the Chinle Formation is higher than the ones in Shinarump. According to our research, it aligns with what we initially suggested, though there were more in Talus (covered Shinarump) than the Shinarump itself.



So, we all made it back alive. This trip was a great learning experience for me, personally. If there’s a few things that I can take away from this trip, it has to be these three things:

  1. Do not bring a single-person (7ft x 4ft x 3ft) tent, even if you plan to sleep by yourself.
  2. Do not buy $22 worth of lunch meat for a 9-day trip.
  3. Do always put a cap on a bottle of scotch to avoid unnecessary spill.

For our research project on petrified wood, I would like to address five things:

  1. There were more petrified wood in the areas (Shinarump Formation and Petrified Forest Formation) than we initially expected.
  2. We had to modify our project in the field by categorizing the petrified wood in terms of abundance (high/low density) rather than counting all the samples in a particular area.
  3. We set up ten stations of 100 ft2 at the two formations.
  4. In terms of documentation, we recorded the average size of petrified wood in an area, as well as other unique features.
  5. Also, we did collect a sample from each of the 10 stations that we set up.

What’s next?

  1. Find AND read some journal articles.
  2. Create some graphics for our presentation.
  3. Try not to procrastinate.


M3.5 Earthquake in OK

Posted: March 4, 2013 in Uncategorized
Tags: ,

A 3.5-magnitude earthquake was recorded 6km SSE of Tishomingo (located about 2 hours south of Norman), Oklahoma this morning at 4.22 a.m (USGS).

Summary of the M3.5 earthquake in Tishomingo, OK (USGS).


Posted: February 25, 2013 in Uncategorized

If you have watched Prometheus (2012), you would know exactly who he is.

Fifield, a geologist onboard Prometheus to explore alien life forms.

The opening scene of the movie was spectacular: the landscape, geology, layers, etc. But the best scene about this movie (for geology major) is the scene below:

Dr. Shaw: ” Fifield, where are you going?”

I strongly recommend this movie to everyone. Remember the post that I wrote about crinoid in Alien, and the moral of that movie? Well, the moral of this movie is “You can do the right thing by travelling in pairs, but you should never travel with a biologist.” Watch this movie, and you will agree with me.

Thanks to Jefferson’s comment on the last post about Methodology, we as a team are heading towards a better direction (by researching for a specific member that contains petrified food).

Chinle Formation (USGS).

After doing some reading on petrified wood in Arizona, we found that the Chinle Formation (pronounced as “schin-lee”) would be the formation for us to strike gold! The Late Triassic Chinle Formation is not only subjected to Arizona, but it also extends to New Mexico, Nevada, and Utah (USGS).

Two members of the Chinle Formation- Shinarump Conglomerate Member, and Petrified Forest Member– contain numerous petrified wood. We will do more research about the location of these members and their distances from the base camp!

Please let me know if you have any questions/suggestions regarding this research project! Thank you!

Problem: Where do most of the petrified wood in Lee’s Ferry located?

Test subjects: Variations of petrified wood.

Test group: Our team (Jason and I).

Experiment: Search for samples of petrified wood in a grid system that we set up in the Lee’s Ferry region.

Control: Time (30 minutes per grid station); grid station (1m2); topography; environmental condition (cover, vegetation, weather, etc.)


  1. Mark the locations (where we conduct our research) on a topography map.
  2. Set up grid stations at respective locations.
  3. Search for petrified wood.
  4. Collect samples.
  5. Documentation (includes measurement, and comparison of various samples).

We also came up with a system to record the samples that we find in different regions. Instead of writing the findings in a notebook (which can be messy!), we will create some tables by using Excel to fill in necessary information regarding our findings. After recording all data, we will also create some graphs to show which area in Lee’s Ferry has the most petrified wood.

Research Project: Petrified Wood

Posted: February 15, 2013 in Uncategorized

Jason and I will be doing our research project based on the petrified woods that we will be collecting. We plan to find samples in several areas within Lee’s Ferry, and plot it on our maps where we find them. We will also sketch the samples as well as measuring each sample’s diameter, length, width, and height, to find variations of petrified woods in the region. However, we are thinking how many hours should we spend in finding these samples. Would two days be enough for us? Or should we spend some of our down-time during the previous four days to look for samples? Any suggestion?


If you can fish for an A, you should definitely go for it; if you can’t fish for an A, you can always come up with something else to get an A.

Upon our trip to Lee’s Ferry, we have to come up with our own research projects. So, I have to ask myself, “What do geologists do anyway?”

I came up with 4 short and direct answers (that’s how science students should write their papers: get to the point).

  1. We look for things.
  2. We describe things.
  3. We measure things.
  4. We interpret things.

That sounds about right. There might be some other things that I missed out, but I do not have time to write as I am trying to get this blog post done. You would have thought that as a Senior, I would be good at time management (and less procrastination).

So, we can do anything for this project. However, there is a catch: It has to be scientific.

Jason and I think that it is scientific to look for petrified wood. After all, we make use of our skills as geology students: looking for things, describing things, measuring things, and interpreting things!

Sample of petrified wood

Sample of petrified wood (Source: Wikipedia)

It seems feasible. What do you think?

A few days ago, I stumbled upon an interesting article about the fossil that inspired the classic sci-fi horror, Alien (1979).


Alien. (Source: Wikipedia)

If you have watched this movie (whether in the 80’s, 90’s, or 2000’s), you WILL always remember these two scenes:

Exploration gone wrong. (Source: DailyMail)

Lunch gone wrong. (Source: CORNDOGCHATS)

Well, for those of you who have no idea what’s going on (or for those of you who want to relive that “Oh, dang” moment), I have posted this 2-minute video:

  • Exploration gone wrong (0:00-1:03 )
  • Lunch gone wrong (1:04-1:53)
  • The second half of the video is not for the faint-hearted. Viewer discretion is advised.

So, back to the question: What is the fossil that inspired this movie?

The thing that messed up Kane. (Source: DailyMail)

A typical stalked crinoid

The 300-million-year-old fossil. (Source: DailyMail)

The article did not mention the name of this fossil (#fail). However, all geology/paleontology students should at least know that this is a typical stalked crinoid (it doesn’t really matter if you cannot remember terms like calyx, holdfast, and who-knows-what-else).

So, the moral of the story is: Always travel in pairs to avoid unnecessary contact with living-crinoids.