Fossil-hunting expedition across France

Over the past week (June 21st-28th), the two postgraduate members of the TERRAFORM team, Catarina Barbosa and Antonietta Knetge, travelled to Poitiers, France for fieldwork. Alongside Dr Bernard Gomez and his postgraduate student, Axel Montigny from the University Claude Bernard Lyon 1, they visited multiple Mesozoic exposures to collect leaf macrofossils and plant debris. The first quarry visited was in Persac, an Albian-Cenomanian (~ 100.5 ma) paleokarst locality with angiosperm leaves and various fauna such as bivalves, bony fish, crocodyliforms, dinosaurs, pterosaurs, and mammals. The group then travelled to the Île d’Oléron to excavate an early Tithonian locality (~149.2 ma), abundant in fossilised conifer wood. The subsequent localities visited offered excellent examples of different types of plant fossil preservation ranging from petrified, and silicified, to plant cuticles preserved in clay. Many of these sites were situated in the La Rochelle/Rochefort area, including the unique Île Madame, only accessible at low tide. The images below show the group on their last night of fieldwork as well as Eucalyptus-like angiosperm leaves from Puy-Puy (Albian-Cenomanian, ~ 100.5 ma) and the fossilised wood from Île d’Oléron. 

by Antonietta Knetge