Posted by: paulgarner | March 16, 2012

A couple of loose ends

Last month I posted about the phenomenon of sedimentary cyclicity and the growing scepticism in some quarters about attempts to link this with astronomical cycles. One reader sent some feedback on cyclicity in the Eocene Green River Formation of Wyoming, in which they referred to the work of Buchheim and Biaggi which questioned the traditional varve model for the Green River rhythmites. This work appeared as an abstract in 1988, but my correspondent wondered whether it had ever been more formally published. As it happens, I was sorting through some paperwork the other day and came across a folder of articles I’d been collecting on the Green River Formation. Among them was a paper by Buchheim published in Contributions to Geology, University of Wyoming (1994), in which his critique of the varve model is reported in fuller detail. Those interested can find the full citation below.

And way back in August 2010, I reported claims by Scannella and Horner that Triceratops was actually a juvenile version of another ceratopsian dinosaur called Torosaurus. “Is nothing sacred?”, I asked. Well, PLoS One has recently published a study by Longrich and Field who examined 35 skulls from both dinosaurs and have concluded that they do indeed represent two species. In an interview with the BBC, Longrich said: “What we found is there are young Torosaurus individuals and very old Triceratops individuals and that’s inconsistent with Torosaurus being an adult Triceratops.” Those with an emotional boyhood attachment to Triceratops can sleep easy once again.


Buchheim H.P. and Biaggi R.E. 1988. Laminae counts within a synchronous oil shale unit: a challenge to the “varve” concept. Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs 20(7):A317.

Buchheim H.P. 1994. Paleoenvironments, lithofacies and varves of the Fossil Butte Member of the Eocene Green River Formation, Southwestern Wyoming. Contributions to Geology, University of Wyoming 30(1):3-14.



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