Tuesday, April 26, 2011

La Libertad--Cerro de los Tornillos

Nohelia, Alexis and I took a little day trip recetly to La Libertad, a small city near our home base of Comayagua. I was most excited to check out a place I had heard about that had some interesting fossils called "Cerro de los Tornillos" or Screw Hill. While it has nothing to do with teenage trysts, it is a reference to the shape of the fossilized shells that look like twisted screw shapes (See image). I was hoping to scout out the place before taking a class on a possible field trip there to do our own fossil hunting. I didn't know if it was a park or what, and I wanted to see for myself.

When we got there, the hill was literally right next to where the bus dropped us off (how convenient!). That also meant that it was smack in the middle of a neighborhood. There were some cement steps built to help visitors and residents up the hill, but there was no kind of protected area. We asked some local residents about the place, and they said even they would like to see it more protected. One woman said that at some point, an interested party tried to get the residents to sell their land so the site could be excavated, but the residents preferred to stay. I think it would be nice to have some kind of interpretive sign set up to explain to visitors what it is they're looking at and how it came to be. After a little internet research, the fossils are gastropods from the Cretaceous period.

The rest of La Libertad was not much to write home about (sorry Libertenos!!). We spent probably an hour and half poking around on el Cerro de los Tornillos, then ate lunch and came back to Comayagua. Since the place wasn't really set up to receive visitors, I don't think a field trip would be the greatest idea unless it included some other things, but it might be nice to come up with some interpretive signs as a class service project :)

Photo credits go to El Heraldo newspaper, which has a site on Honduran fossils (in Spanish) and lots of great pictures here http://www.elheraldo.hn/Otras-Secciones/Especial-Fosiles/Inicio Clicking on the articles section also has more info about the lack of fossil protection in Honduras.