100 MILLION YEARS OF CRISES ON EARTH Deep Coring of the Colorado Plateau "The Four Corners area of the American West is a paradise for geologists and paleontologists, with its spectacular rock formations, canyons (including the Grand Canyon), and rich fossil beds. However, many layers remain largely inaccessible on sheer cliffs or deeply buried. To assemble a more conclusive record of the region's vast history, Lamont geologist Paul Olsen and colleagues are leading the Colorado Plateau Coring Project , to drill cores as much as 1.5 kilometers deep from a half-dozen sites. This is expected to provide the big picture from 250 million to 145 million years ago, representing key crises in earth's history: the ascent of dinosaurs, origins of modern ecosystems, and several sudden extinctions of much life. Among other things, the cores should help scientists grasp possible links between climate changes, extinctions and major evolutionary events. Related field investigations will be done by experts from a wide variety of disciplines and institutions. The first site is in Petrified Forest National Park, AZ…. At the same time, Olsen and others will also do extensive exploration by vehicle and on foot in the desert region to scope out the next drill site. The project will take five years."
Last updated: February 24, 2015