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Phosphate and phossils…

May 24, 2010

A news article reports on protests and complications in South Africa in developing new phosphate mines due to concerns about their impacts on fossil deposits, in this case the West Coast Fossil Park, a World Heritage site. LINK Such situations seem quite likely, as phosphate deposits generally involve sedimentary environments that are likely to also trap animal and plant remains for fossilization.  One can only wonder how much information about Earth’s deep past has been lost over the years during large scale phosphate mining.  Here’s an example.  Below is a picture I took at a rock shop in Vail Colorado.  The label reads “Mososaur Teeth.  Cretaceous period.  70 million years old.  Phosphate Mines Kouribga.  Morocco”.  Brings new meaning to the term “fossil foods”!  And yet more motivation to work towards a closed human P cycle that recycles most of the P it uses to produce food.

fossil tooth

Mososaur tooth from a Moroccan phosphate mine

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