The Society for Sedimentary Geology (SEPM) announces an unusual paper in their journal PALAIOS that combines ‘forensic’ paleontology and archeology to identify origins of the millstones commonly used in the 1800’s. While all millstones were used similarly, millstones quarried in France were more highly valued than similar stones quarried in Ohio, USA.
Over four years the scientific team located millstones by visiting historical localities in Ohio, then studied them and identified unique characteristics between the coveted French buhr and the locally sourced Ohio buhrstone. Both types of millstones were composed out of an extremely hard rock called chert, and superficially they can look very similar.
With close examination, the scientists confirmed that the French buhr contained fossils that came from a freshwater environment, including algae and snail fossils and the Ohio buhrstone was quarried from a much older rock unit. The Ohio rock unit, likely laid down in a Paleozoic marine environment, was filled with invertebrate fossils known as fusulinids, pelmatazoans and brachiopods.
One of the key features useful to millers was the porosity of the rock; where fossils left empty cavities. In 1795 famous inventor and millwright, Oliver Evans, exclaimed that pores, “larger in diameter than the length of a grain of wheat” were not desirable.
Based on the fossil assemblages the authors suspect the fossil assemblages from the Ohio buhrstone may have made these millstones less effective for milling, but that this claim would require further investigation.
Chert has been used for tool making throughout human history and it is the hope of the authors that these non-destructive techniques can be used to study the origins of other artifacts.
Paper Title and Author Information: “Determining Provenance of Local and Important chert millstones using fossils (especially charophyta, fusulinina and brachiopoda): examples from Ohio, U.S.A.” By Joseph T. Hannibal, Nicholas A. Reser, Julia A. Yeakley, Theresa A. Kalka and Veronica Fusco. Palaois, 2013, v.28, p. 739-754. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.2110/palo.2013.110.
More information about the Society’s Publications can be found at: Publications
SEPM (Society for Sedimentary Geology) is an international not-for-profit scientific society. Through its network of international members, the Society is dedicated to the dissemination of scientific information on sedimentology, stratigraphy, paleontology, environmental sciences, marine geology, hydrogeology, and many additional related specialties.
The Society supports the science and its members in their professional objectives by publication of two major scientific journals, the Journal of Sedimentary Research (JSR) and PALAIOS, in addition to producing research conferences, short courses, and Special Publications. Through SEPM's continuing education, publications, meetings, and other programs, members and non-members can both gain and exchange information pertinent to their scientific interests.
Howard Harper | Eurek Alert!
Predicting unpredictability: Information theory offers new way to read ice cores
07.12.2016 | Santa Fe Institute
Sea ice hit record lows in November
07.12.2016 | University of Colorado at Boulder
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine
07.12.2016 | Life Sciences
07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine