Thermopolis, or “Thermy” as I have dubbed it, was the second stop on our trip around the state. The day started not in Thermopolis, but at a gap between time. We had visited a site just off of the road where we stayed for quite a bit. We were let loose onto the rock face in front of us when we discovered the gap. No not a physical one, but a geologic gap. THE GREAT UNCONFORMITY!!!!! A gap of about 2.5 billion years where we simply just don’t know what happened! It all eroded away and left us with nothing but questions. I particularly loved this stop because it encapsulates what I love most about geology, how sometimes we simply don’t know what happened and get to postulate what happened!
The next stop on our trip was the Wyoming Dinosaur Center, which was simultaneously the best and worst part of this day. Let’s start with the good, though. This pseudo-museum had some of the most well preserved specimens that I have EVER seen. Crazy coelacanths to the very REAL archaeopteryx, I was completely in awe. The Dinosaur Center also had some incredible fossils dating back to the cambrian! What I struggled with, though, were the ethics behind this institution. The majority of these fossils were purchased from either private collectors or auctions. Private ownership of fossils simply rubs me the wrong way, while it is cool to own your own dino (believe me, that’s my dream), no research can be published on it if others are not allowed to consult. There are likely so many answers to so many questions pile up in someone’s basement collecting dust.
The day ended with taking a dip in the Thermopolis hot springs, which smelled surprisingly like hard boiled eggs and a waiting out of rain. Something else notable was when we were at the hot springs, a strange man approached us and asked “Do you guys know the best football player ever from Pitt”? Sir, I play with rocks for a living, I do NOT know football. Thermopolis was a good day and I would be very happy to go back.