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!
First global antineutrino emission map highlights Earth's energy budget
01.09.2015 | University of Maryland
Errant Galileo satellites will be used for research on Einstein’s general theory of relativity
01.09.2015 | Zentrum für angewandte Raumfahrttechnologie und Mikrogravitation (ZARM)
Longer, more severe, and hotter droughts and a myriad of other threats, including diseases and more extensive and severe wildfires, are threatening to transform some of the world's temperate forests, a new study published in Science has found. Without informed management, some forests could convert to shrublands or grasslands within the coming decades.
"While we have been trying to manage for resilience of 20th century conditions, we realize now that we must prepare for transformations and attempt to ease...
A University of Oklahoma astrophysicist and his Chinese collaborator have found two supermassive black holes in Markarian 231, the nearest quasar to Earth, using observations from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope.
The discovery of two supermassive black holes--one larger one and a second, smaller one--are evidence of a binary black hole and suggests that supermassive...
A team of European researchers have developed a model to simulate the impact of tsunamis generated by earthquakes and applied it to the Eastern Mediterranean. The results show how tsunami waves could hit and inundate coastal areas in southern Italy and Greece. The study is published today (27 August) in Ocean Science, an open access journal of the European Geosciences Union (EGU).
Though not as frequent as in the Pacific and Indian oceans, tsunamis also occur in the Mediterranean, mainly due to earthquakes generated when the African...
In mountainous regions earthquakes often cause strong landslides, which can be exacerbated by heavy rain. However, after an initial increase, the frequency of these mass wasting events, often enormous and dangerous, declines, in fact independently of meteorological events and aftershocks.
These new findings are presented by a German-Franco-Japanese team of geoscientists in the current issue of the journal Geology, under the lead of the GFZ...
Bacteria do not cease to amaze us with their survival strategies. A research team from the University of Basel's Biozentrum has now discovered how bacteria enter a sleep mode using a so-called FIC toxin. In the current issue of “Cell Reports”, the scientists describe the mechanism of action and also explain why their discovery provides new insights into the evolution of pathogens.
For many poisons there are antidotes which neutralize their toxic effect. Toxin-antitoxin systems in bacteria work in a similar manner: As long as a cell...
20.08.2015 | Event News
20.08.2015 | Event News
19.08.2015 | Event News
01.09.2015 | Earth Sciences
01.09.2015 | Physics and Astronomy
01.09.2015 | Information Technology