Hello, my name is Yağız. Since this is my first piece of writing, I wanted to start by telling a bit about myself. I am 14 years old and, as far as I know, I am the youngest at MoEP! One of my friends and I are under 18 years old, so we can participate in MoEP’s activities with written permission and support from our families. MoEP was quite meticulous about the approval process and they also had discussions with our parents.
Afterward, we were each assigned a science advisor who will be available for us at any time and guide us throughout our journey. Our science advisors also take care of our profile security, ensuring that we are protected. Additionally, we have access to all working groups and can read their studies, allowing us to stay up-to-date with the latest developments in real-time.
When I find time, I am developing my skills in C#, C++, CSS, and HTML programming languages. I also follow scientific publications. I am a PMR radio user, and I have a small workshop in my room. This summer vacation, with the guidance of our advisor, I am planning to take the amateur radio exam.
Last Dinosaur Bender!
After a tiring exam rush, I wanted to take some time for myself the other day. A day before, my family had granted permission for me to join the MoEP young science expedition. While eagerly waiting, I received a call on my PMR radio from a nearby MoEPian. ‘Do you want to go dinosaur hunting?’
We were called by nature, and after a short preparation, we were outside. I got permission from my family, but of course, I didn’t tell them that I was going ‘dinosaur hunting,’ I said, ‘I am being summoned for a scientific research mission.’ 🙂 We took our cameras, mini backpacks, hats, and, of course, our radios.
When I was on the way, the first thing I asked my advisor was, of course, where this ‘dinosaur’ topic came from. Even though I initially thought it was a joke, my surprise grew even more afterward. During the conversation along the way, I learned that there are pieces of evidence of giraffes, rhinos, and even elephants having lived in the area during ancient geological periods, and the latest discovery was fragments of an 8-10 million-year-old toothless whale fossil. It seems that the dinosaur is still waiting to be found somewhere out there 🙂
Observation was the first step. I started by taking notes on the color, clarity, and algae presence of the sea first at the passenger ship port area, then at the small boat port area, and later at a peaceful beach. I learned about the color variations of structures that appeared as pollution in the sea and generally looked similar, and gained insights into how they could be utilized differently.
Another one of our excursion areas was a region with simple types of fossils. After being told what kind of rocks to look for, I started examining the stones step by step. It wasn’t easy at all. Every stone I looked at seemed to resemble what was described, and I can’t remember how many times I asked, “Is this it? Or maybe this one?”
One of the rocks we saw in the picture was one of them. When I saw the saw-like marks on the edge, for a moment, I thought I had actually found a dinosaur fossil and got very excited. Maybe I really found one. Okay, okay, even if it’s not a dinosaur, I’ll accept a crocodile too. 🙂
We went to the seaside, and with the guidance of my advisor, I was informed about simple exploratory studies. I hadn’t noticed so many different stones and living formations on the coast that we pass by every day while walking.
Our nature has truly established a magnificent balance. The more I get to know it, the more my respect and admiration for it grow. And when I remember that life exists only on Earth, it becomes even more significant.
I had the opportunity to closely examine an empty crab shell for the first time. However, it was still sad to see it in this state.
One of the most commonly seen mussel shells.
A rock piece containing different layers.
It first appeared to be a leaf fossil, but later, when we zoomed in on the picture, we saw that it was formed due to a thin water seepage from a crack in the rock.
A natural rock formation with crevices found along the shoreline.
Simple fossils. My advisor explained that even though they might look like simple mussel shells, the region was once subjected to much higher sea levels during previous geological periods, and it experienced natural activities like glacial movements and significant ocean fluctuations.
The different sediment structure found underneath the shell fossils. MoEP’s safety regulations are indeed very strict 🙂 Due to potential risks, my advisor allowed me to take pictures only from a distance using a telephoto lens.
Seashell fossils trapped within a finer-grained petrified structure. Who knows how old these shells are, seemingly insignificant, yet squeezed and preserved between sand and stones.
Gigantic formations covering a part of the coastline.
Another example of a porous formation by the seaside.
This rock sample in the picture was much harder and had a dense porous structure. It was still partially submerged in the sea. Nevertheless, numerous seashell fossils could be seen tightly packed together.
Another beautiful picture. A circular rock formation appears within another rock formation, displaying different color tones. Upon closer inspection, the center part seems harder. I named this rock ‘T-REX’s Eye.’ My advisor joked, ‘You wouldn’t want to be here during the time it lived.’ We had a good laugh.
Another example with a softer structure compared to the rock in the previous picture. It has a thin layer trapped between the main layers.
The two photos above are from different regions. Their structures are different, but they show similarities in the thin layer lines visible on the main rock. The second gray rock appears quite glossy and hard, resembling a lava flow.
The Return of the Last Dinosaur Bender
This excursion was exclusively planned for me, consisting of an informative walk. As the temperature began to rise, my advisor decided to conclude the trip, and we left these beautiful examples behind and returned home.
I asked why I couldn’t take these as souvenirs. I learned that for collecting samples, one needs to obtain legal permits. Since there won’t be any scientific examination for now, I was advised not to take any rock or fossil samples and to leave all the specimens in their natural habitat.
However, I was informed that the photos I took will be sent to the geology and paleontology group at MoEP, and they will request a detailed identification based on the pictures, even though they are not the actual samples. They responded promptly as soon as my write-up was ready. I extend my gratitude to Banu ÇOLAK (Chief Geologist) and Yavuz ULUTÜRK (Geology Engineer) for dedicating their time to my work and providing valuable explanations.
I wanted to share the photos and notes I had from my journey with you. I would like to thank my advisor who provided guidance during the trip and the editors who supported me in preparing my first article for publication.
Dear Yağız… The Çamrakdere area is approximately 15 million years old, while the marine deposits date back to around 3.6 million years ago, continuing to the present time. The sedimentary rock formations with seashells that appear in the pictures are from the Upper Pliocene period. When we correlate the locations of the pictures with the geological map, we find that all the pictures were taken from the geological unit marked with “Qds” on the map. This unit consists of young sedimentary formations, containing occasional pelecypod fossils, that have formed since the Pliocene and continue to the present day. The differences in color and appearance are due to the inclusion of materials such as clay, iron minerals, etc., during different periods. They also exhibit distinct erosion patterns. The scallop fossil shell, which is Shell’s emblem, mentioned in the article, is the Pecten shell. I am also sending pictures of Pecten fossils from my collection as an attachment. The formation might have been a shallow sea (lagoon = sea ear), explaining the abundance of pelecypod shells in the area. Best regards, Yavuz ULUTÜRK, Geology Engineer.