BARRETT WALL

While the Smoky River was in operation, no researchers were allowed to approach the Barrett Wall site to search for footprints due to the unstable nature of the footwall. However, once the mine closed this site was visited in the summer of 2001 and a single large theropod trackway (Irenesauripus mclearni) was discovered with some unusual features associated with it. On either side of an otherwise normal trackway there were bizarre markings inbetween two consecutive tracks. There were three lengthy grooves for each set of markings. The markings on either side of the trackway were parallel to each other, though they were angled in toward the trackway from front to back. After careful consideration these markings were interpreted as claw marks from the track-maker's hands. It seems that these markings were made while the animal was in motion because there is no indication from the trackway that the animal stopped or even slowed down (see the Narraway River tracksite for an example of a large theropod stopping - in this case to make a turn).

A single long latex mould was made of this trackway and was eventually cast. A return trip was made to this site late in the summer of 2002, in order to make a better mould of the trackway, but the tracksite had already been destroyed by a large-scale footwall failure. This was a big loss of a very significant site, the only  trackway of a large theropod with hand impressions, however it was fortunate that the site was discovered before the collapse and some data and a mould were retrieved.

 

The Barrett Wall site in August, 2001 (right) showing a latex peel of a 5 metre portion of the trackway (white)

and in the spring of 2004 (left), though the collapse was between August, 2001 and August, 2002

 

Closeup pictures of the Barrett Wall tracksite (Upper - August, 2001; Lower - April, 2004).

The upper picture shows the 5 metre long latex peel (white) of a portion of the theropod trackway,

while the lower picture shows the approximate position of the trackway under the talus (red).