Here are some (belated) updates: in may 2018 we have been back to the field and completed fieldwork for the Ibex Area. Stella, a B.Sc.-Student of the Humboldt University/Berlin, joined me on this one. She took this picture of me peeking down Blind Valley from Fossil Mountain.
I just returned from the third trip to the US. This time I checked out several section in Nevada and finished logging and sampling of most sections at Ibex. Up next, finally drafting some papers...
Well... actually I got back by early September but time flies. Finally there where real people. Ennie and Kalle, two Geology students from Free University Berlin joined in logging and sampling some of the upper Pogonip. This time we concentrated on the Upper Fillmore-, the Wah Wah-, and the Juab Formation. Kevin also spent a couple of days with us. Fieldwork-wise a third (or so) of the project is done. We had a great time together. Pictures will be added soon.
I finally recieved note upon the decision on the funding of the GOBE-Project. What can I say, I will be studying the "GOBE" in western desert of the USA for the next three years. Whoot-whoot.
May be some personal notes here... This letter means an awful lot. It means that I can carry on doing things that I love and that I was trained for, since setting out to study geology (in 2002) with the decision to specialise on palaeontology in 2006. When my first Postdoc ended, I realised (with some off the map applications) that this kind of training would bring me nowhere on the open job market. Lucky enough the SNF granted the precursor project for one year - putting me out of trouble for yet another 12 months. I immediatly started to revise the proposal for the GOBE-Project, which was initially rejected by the DFG . So I knew that there would be just one shot left before running out of money. Because "providing for family" ranks clearly before "having a cool job", failing on this would have meant to leave academia and to leave palaeontology. Anytime when short funding periods terminated and I faced the drop-out, I felt this enterprise to be so futile altogether. Of course such moaning and groaning is not very popular and people (me included) rather show their achievements instead of their setbacks. All I want to say is that this is just the other side of the coin. It felt so good to see all this effort finally being rewarded and to be allowed to carry on. So I'd rather get back to work instead of writing sentimental blog posts. A big "thank you" to all the people who supported me during all these years.
I just returned from the field making myself familiar with the Pogonip Group in western Utah. The whole succession looks promising but I decided to start with the juicy part and logged and sampled several sections of the Kanosh- and the Lehman Formation. Kevin Bylund helped me out for a few days. Otherwise I was alone for most of the time. Notable exception were two evenings when groups of amateur-palaeontologists swarmed an outrcop of brachiopod-beds down in the Kanosh Formation just next to the dirt road near Fossil Mountain. Fotos of this field session can be viewed here. One thing is for sure: I really love the western desert.