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Dinosaur Stampede at Lark Quarry

Thursday 9 July 2015

Fine and sunny and 26 degrees today.

Today we made the 110 km trip to Lark Quarry which is south-west from Winton. The road is a mix of sealed road and gravel road. The first 45 km is sealed and the rest is gravel with 4 or 5 sealed "Overtaking Opportunities" every 10 km or so. Even so the gravel sections were quite reasonable. We arrived at the quarry site about 11:30 am in plenty of time for the second conducted tour at 12:00 noon. While we were waiting for our tour to start we did a short walk to a nearby lookout and back to the site through the Spinifex.

Ninety-five million years ago Lark Quarry was part of a great river plain, with sandy channels, swamps and lakes brimming with freshwater mussels, lungfish and crocodiles. Rainfall was over a metre per year, so the surrounding lowland forest was lush and green.

On the day the drama unfolded, herds of small two-legged dinosaurs came to drink at the lake. There were at least 150 dinosaurs of two different kinds - carnivorous coelurosaurs about the size of chickens, and slightly larger plant-eating ornithopods, some of them as large as emus. A huge meat-eating theropod, smaller than a Tyrannosaurus, approached the lake. It slowed, saw the other dinosaurs gathered at the water’s edge and began to stalk, then turned and charged. The stampeding herd of smaller dinosaurs left a chaotic mass of footprints in the mud as they ran to escape.

When the dinosaurs stampeded, they left perfect footprints in the half dried and still plastic mud. Sun, wind and rain would normally destroy tracks like this. But just a few days after the footprints were made, it began to rain and the lake rose gently, covering the tracks with sandy sediments before the mud had dried enough to crack. The next flood buried them below a meter of sand and a meter of mud. As millions of years passed, the sediment layers were compressed to form rock.

Local Station Manager, Glen Seymour, first discovered the Dinosaur Track-ways in the 1960s. He thought they were fossilised bird tracks, and showed them to local enthusiast Peter Knowles. What they were looking at was, and still is today, the world's only recorded evidence of a dinosaur stampede. The dinosaur tracks are now protected from the elements in a purpose built building while further research continues. While the footprints of the larger dinosaur are clearly visible the smaller footprints require some imagination to make out.

Back at camp we lit the fire pot and spent a pleasant evening with a young couple from Bendigo, The had travelled to the Gold Coast for the Gold Coast Marathon - he ran a respectable 3 hours 20 minutes. They were returning to Bendigo via Mount Isa and the Birdsville Track. The previous night we had been talking to a few campers who were on their way to the Boulia Camel Races. Apparently you can travel to Boulia on a sealed road, albeit a single lane sealed road. We might put Boulia on the bucket list for a future year.

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View from the Lark Quarry car park.

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Lark Quarry Building from the car park.

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Lark Quarry Building from the Lookout.

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Di at the Lark Quarry Lookout.

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View from the Lark Quarry Lookout.

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Spinifex clumps at Lark Quarry.

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Close up of a spinifex clump.

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Nearby hill from the Lark Quarry car park.

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Large footprints at Lark Quarry.

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Inside the fossil building.

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More footprints at Lark Quarry.

Posted by TwoAces 03:14

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Comments

Beautiful weather, David.
It's still cool here at Dicky Beach.

Frosty.

by snowman3195

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