|The first barrier to accessing Mangahouanga Stream|
What I didn't mention in my blog was the existence of a remote valley that we believe might have only been visited once by a geologist prior to 2009. The valley is a tributary of the Mangahouanga Stream.
|Pete Shaw with marine reptile bones from Wiffen Valley|
The photo shows Pete in 2009 with the prize find of the day moments after he pulled it out of the stream. It is a cluster of several reptile vertebrae, subsequently identified as belonging to an elasmosaur. Although heavy, Pete managed to carry it out, whereas most of the fossils we found that day had to be left in place.
Last week I returned to the area with a team of GNS palaeontologists along with Victoria University student Ben Hines. One of our aims was to explore the hidden Wiffen Valley to have a closer look at its geology and fossils,
This photo shows GNS palaeontologists James Crampton and John Simes in the upper section of Wiffen Stream.
There were log jams, tree trunks and waterfalls to negotiate as we travelled down the stream.
We took our time to throughly check out the boulders for fossils as we moved slowly along.