First post from Caldera, in the Atacama Region of Chile. We arrived in the early evening a few days ago, just as the sun set over the South Pacific. Jorge and I traveled overnight from the Northern Hemisphere (passing almost directly over our Panamanian fossil dolphin locality), and then met with the rest of the team in Santiago, before taking an afternoon flight to Copiapo.
PPC refers to Proyecto Palaeontologico Caldera, a collaborative effort between multiple Chilean institutions and the Smithsonian's NMNH that focuses on the paleontology of the Caldera Basin. Cerro Ballena, for example, is just one locality in the basin; other localities, mentioned in previous posts, have produced abundant fossil marine vertebrate material. (We are happy to note that the group's first peer-reviewed publication, Valenzuela-Toro et al., is based on material collected in October 2011).
Here some quick shots as we get settled for some serious work in Caldera:
First thing's first: start the morning right. This is Jorge's first trip to Chile, and I think it is going pretty well. (Photo: Jorge Velez-Juarbe)
Eduardo Yury Yáñez, Mario Cozzuol and David Rubilar Rogers at the grill. This is Mario's second trip to Caldera, but first as a co-investigator with PPC (Photo: Jorge Velez-Juarbe)