Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Always something interesting at the Palms on Sundays

Wonder Valley neighbor and geologist Ren brought rock samples that she'd collected in the Mojave to the community breakfast at the Palms last Sunday.

Ren holds and Ediacharan rock she collected
Ren explained that this is an Ediacharan rock, and its rarity is due to being,
"right in the middle of the old volcanic arc that started occurring about 250 million years ago and made the Sierras and Transverse ranges. When all that magma came up through the preexisting rocks, it cooked the hell out of them and destroyed any fossils."
Nemiana simplex(left) and Aspidella terranovica (right)
There are two ancient life forms preserved here: Aspidella terranovica and Nemiana simplex. The aspidella was a "holdfast," planted in the mud with a long plume above, similar to seaweed. The Nemiana was a soft-bodied jelly ball and this one was in the process of replicating by splitting.

Ren added that these rocks are rare because,
"they are some of the very first soft-bodied complex organisms on earth that began evolving from microbe colonies about 600 million years ago. Because they were soft-bodied, they are almost never preserved in the fossil record. These fossil organisms are only found in a few places in the world. These may be some of the first of these kind reported in the Mojave and are certainly some of the best preserved in 3 dimensions of anywhere in the world."
Ren has a way of speaking about these creatures and the wonders around us that is inviting as you can see from the crowd of shoes around her.

Everyone is welcome to join the community at Sunday breakfast, which starts at 9:00 a.m. and continues until people start petering out, sometimes as late as noon or 1 p.m. Breakfast starts at $3.50 and well drinks and beer at $2. James makes a mean bloody mary.