There will be a field trip to hunt for fossils near a strip mine in the Cumberland Mountains north of Oak Ridge. The trip
is scheduled in on a Sunday (April 4th), so that we can avoid coal trucks, bulldozers, strip miners, and their possible negative impact on participant fitness.
The field trip is optional. However, students who participate in the field trip will have 5 points added to whatever grade they receive on the second midterm test.
Fork Mountain, where we'll be going, is located about 45 minutes from the University. We might meet at the university and then form a caravan, or if he can secure some sort of mass transportation, Dr. McCracken - or one of his lackeys - will give you a lift.
If you plan to drive your own car, be forewarned that the road up Fork Mountain was designed for use by heavy machinery and as a consequence is narrow, very steep and consists of large gravel. A smaller passenger car may not make it up the mountain. Fortunately,
to date, there have been no casualties.
What we'll be collecting are plant fossils, remnants of an ancient coal swamp. We will be able to collect well-preserved fern leaf fossils and lepidodendron stems and roots, some of which are quite large (think tree-trunk-sized). You'll be able to keep everything you find - or at least as much as you can carry off on your own before suffering a hernia.
Photographs this page © 2001 John D. Morelli