Fossil finding field trip

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Blood from a stone: A fossil history of life, death and the mayhem in between

12 Oct 2019 9:00 am to 12 Oct 2019 5:00 pm

Southern Wairarapa

October 12 is International Fossil Day. To celebrate, geologists from the University and GNS Science are running a fossil day trip to southern Wairarapa.

The trip is free and open to everyone. You’ll find fossils of 10-million-year-old shellfish and, if you’re lucky, whale bones, and learn about the subtropical sea that once covered central New Zealand and southern Wairarapa’s ‘Aorangi Island’.

Participants will be responsible for getting themselves to and from southern Wairarapa, and for all food and refreshments. Driving time is about two hours each way from Wellington. Details of meeting place and time will be emailed to those who have registered on Tuesday 8 October.

This trip is weather dependant and if the decision is made to cancel it, you will be notified by email before 6 pm on Friday 11 October. Please ensure we have a current email address.

During the trip, we will walk up to 1 km on a boulder beach and stream bed. The terrane is not suitable for buggies or wheel chairs. We will have to cross a small stream (approximately ankle-deep water) and you should be prepared to get wet feet.

What to bring:

  • Warm clothing and rain coat.
  • Sun hat, sun screen, etc.
  • Solid, enclosed shoes (these will get wet!)
  • Food and drinks (we will not supply any food, but we will supply boiling water for hot drinks).
  • Any medications that you require and some basic first aid materials (bandaids etc.).
  • Rock hammer and cold chisel, if you have them.
  • Safety goggles – standard workshop safety goggles are fine.
  • Newspaper to wrap fossils.

Safety considerations:

Although we will do everything in our power to keep you safe, you are responsible for the safety of yourself and your party members. There is no cell phone reception in the area. We will carry first aid kits. Please note the following points:

We will be walking on uneven ground. There is a risk of slipping and tripping—please take care.

We will be crossing back and forth across a small stream. We will assess the safety of this at the time and will not attempt to cross if it is not safe.

New Zealand weather is very changeable. You should bring appropriate clothing for hot and sunny weather, or cold and wet weather. In particular, bring a rain coat, warm clothes, warm hat, sun hat, and sun screen.

We may work close to banks and low cliffs. We will assess the safety of these at the time, but you should always be aware of falling material. In particular, do not climb up a bank and dislodge material if there are people below you, or if people are likely to move into the area below you.

If you hammer rocks, always wear safety goggles and alert people in the vicinity to your activity. Rocks, hammers and cold chisels can all splinter and those splinters can travel a long way—you should warn anyone within a five meter radius if you are going to hammer.

This is the final event of the lecture series Blood from a stone: A fossil history of life, death and the mayhem in between. You can watch the recordings of the previous lectures online:

For more information contact: James Crampton