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The Highest Fossils in the World

  • N. E. Odell (a1)

In his splendid volume Geology of the Himalayas (1964; reviewed in this Number, p. 86), Professor Augusto Gansser refers (p. 164) to the rock specimens brought back from the summit of Mount Everest by the successful Swiss climbers in 1956, and also by the American team in 1963. All the various summit specimens, Professor Gansser states, are lithologically quite identical. They consist of fine-grained, thin-bedded grey calc-schists or platy limestones. The calcites are elongated conformably with the schistosity, which seems to parallel the bedding. The detrital grains are mostly quartz, acid plagioclases and some microline, together with fine sericite lamellae, paralleling the calcites. Gansser continues: “Of special interest is the fact that both samples contain crinoidal fragments. Their large uniform calcite crystals contrast with the otherwise much finer crystalline matrix. In one elongated stem-fragment the segmentation is visible (Photo. 46), while one small plate still shows the well-preserved perforation (Photo. 47).” Moreover, he observes: “These remnants, representing the highest fossils in the world, are unfortunately not sufficiently well-preserved to allow an age-determination of the top Everest limestone. They do, however, support rather than contradict the Carboniferous (to Lower Permian) age generally assigned to the Everest limestones, on the grounds that they are overlain by the (Upper) Permian Lachi Series (Odell, 1943; Wager, 1939).”

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Bordet, P., 1955. Les elements structuraux de l' Himalaya de l' Arun et de la region de l' Everest (Nepal oriental). C.r. hebd. Séanc. Acad. Sci., Paris, 240, 102–4.
Gysin, M., and Lombard, A., 1960. Observations complementaires de petrographie et de geologie dans le massif du Mont Everest-Lhotse. Eclog. geol. Helv., 53 (1), 189204.
Hagen, T., 1959. Über den geologischen Bau des Nepal-Himalayas. Jb. St. Gall. naturw. Ges., 76, 348.
Heron, A. M., 1922. Geological results of the Mount Everest reconnaissance expedition. Rec. geol. Surv. India, 54 (2), 215234.
Lombard, A., 1953. Presentation d'un profil geologique du Mont Everest à la plaine du Gange (Nepal oriental). Bull. Soc. beige Géol., Paléont., Hydrol., 42 (1), 123–8.
Odell, N. E., 1925. Observations on the rocks and glaciers of Mount Everest. Geogrl J., 66, 299315.
Odell, N. E., 1926. Exhibition of supposed fossils from the north face of Mount Everest. Q. Jl geol. Soc., Lond., 82; Proc. Part 3, p. cv.
Odell, N. E., 1943. The so-called “Axial Granite Core” of the Himalaya: its actual exposure in relation to its sedimentary cover. Geol. Mag., 80, 148154.
Wager, L. R., 1939. The Lachi series of northern Sikkim and the age of the rocks forming Mount Everest. Rec. geol. Surv. India, 74 (2), 171188.
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Geological Magazine
  • ISSN: 0016-7568
  • EISSN: 1469-5081
  • URL: /core/journals/geological-magazine
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