Trace fossils

The silence of Ediacara, the shadow of uranium

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  • Published 20170207
  • ISBN: 9781925498295
  • Extent: 264pp
  • Paperback (234 x 153mm), eBook

Winner of the Bragg UNSW Press Prize for Science Writing 2017

AS AN ARCHAEOLOGIST working in the remote areas around Woomera and the Nullarbor Plain, my understanding of South Australia was first informed by rocks and soil. There were fossils of extinct boneless animals underfoot, caught in the shadows of a long-evaporated sea. The angles of deliberately fractured stone betrayed a human intent, the sharp blade discarded where it performed an unknown task. Beer cans lay rusting around the remains of a campfire. A mound ribboned with broad tyre prints marked a grave full of radioactive aeroplanes. On a dusty barracks window, someone had used short strips of masking tape to spell ‘Chernobyl’. The adhesive still held, although the tape had become splintered and dry.

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