Gaulin Tracksite - Holyoke, Massachusetts

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Welcome To Gaulin Tracksite

From the right front of the science-house we see the lowest horizon. During a rainy springtime it becomes an interesting vernal pool that helps prevent local flooding and wet basement problems.

The left side of the ridge previously formed what looked like a miniature mountain range running though the yard, which was too tall to be covered with soil. As layers of redstone are removed the land becomes flatter and drainage further improves, without causing runoff problems elsewhere.

The lowest and closest area in picture is where we found very small footprints and invertebrate trace fossil(s) that are now included in the "Gaulin Tracksite Collection" stored at the Springfield Science Museum. High resolution research photographs for science papers are available upon request to the museum.

One of the most curious in the museum collection is a not yet fully explained insect trace with its tiny trackway all around it, which makes it possible to retrace its steps. 1 cm squares are shown for scale.

Walking towards the steps to the right we can see the thousands of varying thickness periodic flood cycles recorded in (later pressed into stone) mud layers that remained after each prehistoric flooding event:

After walking up the steps you arrive at the uppermost level shown here from above. All layers on top of this one had prints on them, with layer upon layer of animal traces now being found below it.

From the far end of tracksite we see Laurie Gaulin pointing to one of the tracks in a 40 foot long eubrontes trackway. For some reason it put less pressure on its left foot making that print harder to notice their detail. There are five prints shown in front of her. It figures that our first eubrontes trackway would have something funny about it, but we couldn't ask for better directionality since it runs right down the center length of the site. The first prints in the trackway series are the best:

Shown above is the first eubrontes track in the series shown from side and above. Total length is 16 inches.

On the other side of the house is my raised-bed garden creation shown in the following pictures..

With it being early April there is nothing growing yet but our 99.tree (upper left) we had for Christmas is now crispy and awaiting to become one with the soil again. We recycle!

There is a trackway running the length of the left side. The top pathway stones have a few prints in them. The right of the path are large pieces going deep which makes tilling easier, helps contain soil.

Geologically speaking, the Gaulin Tracksite is in the little studied East Berlin Formation, which is below the Portland Formation layers that exists at other local tracksites that are mostly underwater tracks from wading in water, not dry land. The additional oxygen exposure led to the stone being red in color which gives it the name redstone or brownstone. The trace fossils were made at the very dawn of the dinosaur age, after the emergence of two leg bipedal locomotion that ruled the Early Jurassic.

Discoveries are still waiting to be made. Scientific studies that have never been done before, are really not that hard to do here.

To see more dinosaur tracks that were found:

There is also "Dino Land Travels Database: Gary Gaulin's Dinosaur Tracksite" that has a group picture and more information:

And here are pictures of the layer that is ready to go and the fully prepared (required careful chiseling to print layer) area in upper left corner of it that has a good number of 3 kinds of prints. The ruler in picture is one meter long. In close up it is placed just below break where corner section will end widthwise after being removed. In far away picture showing entire area the ruler is along stride of eubrontes prints, with only part of prepared area seen in upper left.

The area on right where eubrontes trackway begins shows traffic from smaller dinosaurs is not in same direction.

Here is a possible nesting site that was discovered in the summer or 2009 near the front of the tracksite in one of the lower layers. Possible broken bits of shell are directly above the 37cm mark of ruler almost half way down from top. Click image for full resolution then move to area to see more detail. The area has a large deposit of calcite (minerals as in eggshell) around it.

For more information see:

Nathaniel Fox, Interpretation of Early Mesozoic Ichnology in Holyoke, MA; PowerPoint (through Google Viewer) or (NateFox.pptx)

Patrick Getty and Nathaniel Fox, An Isolated Eubrontes Giganteus Trackway From The Gary Gaulin Dinosaur Track Site (Early Jurassic, East Berlin Formation), Holyoke, Massachusetts; Northeastern Geoscience Volume 33
(View) or (Download)