Fossils preserved in volcanic rock ? !
Posted: 19 March 2013 08:43 AM   [ Ignore ]
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I didn’t think that was possible.  But once again life… and death is more interesting than we… I can imagine.

9.2-Million-Year-Old Rhino Skull Preserved by Instant ‘Cooking to Death’ in Volcanic Ash
ScienceDaily - Nov. 21, 2012

. . .The rhino’s grisly death was near-instantaneous, and followed by severe dehydration in the extreme heat of the eruption. As the researchers describe its end, “the body was baked under a temperature approximating 400°C, then dismembered within the pyroclastic flow, and the skull separated from body.” The flow of volcanic ash then moved the skull about 30 km north of the eruption site, where it was discovered by the four member research team. . .
~~~~~~~~~~~


A Rhinocerotid Skull Cooked-to-Death in a 9.2 Ma-Old Ignimbrite Flow of Turkey. PLoS ONE, 2012; 7 (11): e49997 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0049997

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Posted: 19 March 2013 08:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Wow.  I wouldn’t have thought so either.  But I suppose that if the lava had cooled enough it could still easily kill the rhino and burn away everything but the bones.  Anybody know what temp bones burn at?

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Posted: 19 March 2013 10:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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A pyroclastic flow is not lava. It is extremely hot ash and gas. It generally flows down the side of a volcano in a sudden rush as a big grey cloud. It is the stuff that entombed the inhabitants of Pompeii. From what I have read it has a temperature not too different from lava but I suspect its density is less which means its specific heat would be lower and therefore not as likely to retain enough energy to burn away bone once it had expended a lot burning the surrounding soft tissue.

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Posted: 19 March 2013 10:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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That’s quite a find if it’s the actual skull. In a pyroclastic flow the body is quickly surrounded by ash and, in the case of the Pompeii victims the body desicates leaving a shell. These were later filled with a plaster ileaving a shadow of a body and not the real corpse. But on the other side at Herculaneum skeletal remains were found. Most were found in structures though that smothered the victims rather than covered them. I wish they’d shown a photo of the rhino skull. Anyway, a cool find!


Cap’t Jack

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Posted: 19 March 2013 01:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Dead Monky - 19 March 2013 08:46 AM

Wow.  I wouldn’t have thought so either.  But I suppose that if the lava had cooled enough it could still easily kill the rhino and burn away everything but the bones.  Anybody know what temp bones burn at?

Bones burn around 2000 or so degrees F, but some of the material can’t be totally broken down by fire.

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Posted: 20 March 2013 05:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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macgyver - 19 March 2013 10:01 AM

A pyroclastic flow is not lava. It is extremely hot ash and gas. It generally flows down the side of a volcano in a sudden rush as a big grey cloud. It is the stuff that entombed the inhabitants of Pompeii. From what I have read it has a temperature not too different from lava but I suspect its density is less which means its specific heat would be lower and therefore not as likely to retain enough energy to burn away bone once it had expended a lot burning the surrounding soft tissue.

Pyroclastic flows have also preserved ancient tree trunks. I visited the Florissant Fossil Beds last summer, which featured a number of ancient redwood tree trunks. The only part preserved was the part of the trunk that got buried by the flow - the roots and everything above the flow didn’t get preserved. In the case of this particular fossil field, the pyroclastic flows eventually got covered by a lake which led to a shale layer with exceptional insect fossils, too. Very interesting place to check out.

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Posted: 20 March 2013 08:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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macgyver - 19 March 2013 10:01 AM

A pyroclastic flow is not lava. It is extremely hot ash and gas. It generally flows down the side of a volcano in a sudden rush as a big grey cloud. It is the stuff that entombed the inhabitants of Pompeii. From what I have read it has a temperature not too different from lava but I suspect its density is less which means its specific heat would be lower and therefore not as likely to retain enough energy to burn away bone once it had expended a lot burning the surrounding soft tissue.

Know what’s funny?  I knew that.  I did.  And yet when I went to write my post my brain thought, “Volcano?  That means lava.  Lava dammit!”  *sigh*  Well, I guess I’m allowed to make myself look like an idiot once or twice a day.  cool grin

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Posted: 20 March 2013 08:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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mid atlantic - 19 March 2013 01:31 PM

Bones burn around 2000 or so degrees F, but some of the material can’t be totally broken down by fire.

Now I know.  And…

knowing-is-half-the-battle.jpg

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Posted: 20 March 2013 08:45 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Dead Monky - 20 March 2013 08:05 AM
macgyver - 19 March 2013 10:01 AM

A pyroclastic flow is not lava. It is extremely hot ash and gas. It generally flows down the side of a volcano in a sudden rush as a big grey cloud. It is the stuff that entombed the inhabitants of Pompeii. From what I have read it has a temperature not too different from lava but I suspect its density is less which means its specific heat would be lower and therefore not as likely to retain enough energy to burn away bone once it had expended a lot burning the surrounding soft tissue.

Know what’s funny?  I knew that.  I did.  And yet when I went to write my post my brain thought, “Volcano?  That means lava.  Lava dammit!”  *sigh*  Well, I guess I’m allowed to make myself look like an idiot once or twice a day.  cool grin

You know that’s the same thought I had reading that !

Boy was I relieved when I checked and saw that I’d written “volcanic rock” and not lava.

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