Triassic trip 2012

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    The Placerias Quarry looks like a desolate landscape but is rich with fossils from the Late Triassic period. The quarry is comprised of mudstone, which is quite soft. (Photo by Alex Harrison)

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    The largest fossils collected from the Placerias Quarry were wrapped in a protective jacket of burlap and plaster. The fossils have been taken to the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences' Paleontology Section. The museum is a designated repository—an institution that is accredited by the American Association of Museums to hold fossil specimens in perpetuity for research or display. (Photo by Alex Harrison)

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    This image shows the upper end of a femur (lower left) from a phytosaur, an ancient relative of the crocodile. A variety of tools are used to carefully remove fossils such as this one from layers of sediment or free them from rock. Frequently used tools include brushes, small picks, hammers and rock chisels. (Photo by Alex Harrison)

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    Appalachian students filmed students and volunteers at work in the Placerias quarry to create short video clips to be used for outreach and education. Here, geology major Catharine Jones films a crew making a plaster jacket to transport a hip bone of the fossil aetosaur Desmatosuchus. Aetosaurs were distant relatives of the crocodile that somewhat resembled large armadillos. (Photo by Dr. Andrew Heckert)

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    A canvas awning protects students and others from the hot Arizona sun. (Photo by Alex Harrison)