A Landing a Day

Just another WordPress.com weblog

Faith, South Dakota

Posted by graywacke on May 16, 2017

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-every-four-or-five days blog), I use an app that provides a random latitude and longitude that puts me somewhere in the continental United States (the lower 48).  I call this “landing.”

I keep track of the watersheds I land in, as well as the town or towns I land near.  I do some internet research to hopefully find something of interest about my landing location. 

To find out more about A Landing A Day (like who “Dan” is) please see “About Landing” above.  To check out some recent changes in how I do things, check out “About Landing (Revisited).”

Landing number 2344; A Landing A Day blog post number 775.

Dan:  Today’s lat/long 45o 9.733’N, 101o 2.277’W) puts me more-or-less in central South Dakota:

Zooming in, is a VP* of small towns:

*veritable plethora

Obviously, you’ll learn soon enough why only Faith survived.

My streams-only map shows that I landed very close to (and in the watershed of) the Moreau River (3rd hit), on to Lake Oahe. 

If you don’t know about Lake Oahe, you will when I zoom back a little:

Oh!  It’s just the dammed up Missouri River (419th hit); on to the MM (912th hit).

It’s time to add another Google Earth (GE) yellow push-pin to my already-robust collection.  Click HERE to do so.

My GE Street View coverage is pretty lousy:

But here’s what the Orange Dude sees:

I had the OD head a little north on the same road ‘til he came to a bridge over the Moreau River.  Here’s what he sees:

I had the OD look around, and he couldn’t help but notice some construction work on the southbound lane of the bridge.  Although it’s tough to see on the picture below, it looks like they’re going to resurface the far (southbound) lane:

I headed to the north end of the construction zone:

I’m not sure about the black blob (it appears in all of the south-facing photos), but note that the southbound lane is blocked and has a stop sign.  There’s no work going on; maybe this is a weekend.

Then I went to the other end of the construction zone (about a third of a mile away):

Hmmm.  The southbound lane is blocked and there’s another stop sign.  Obviously, drivers are on their own to stop and look and then proceed if the way is clear.   

Wow.  You would never see this anywhere close to NJ (where I live).  The NJ DOT would pay all the necessary overtime to keep the project moving 24/7, with flagmen at either end of the construction zone.  End of story.

I found another look at the river further downstream:

I was able to verify that this is, in fact, the Moreau River:

Moving right along to the VP of small towns. Of course, I checked out each one.  And obviously, all but one were entirely:

But have faith.  One little town had a hook, and it’s a good ‘un.  But first, here’s a graphic from the Faith town website:

I like the train silhouette.

Anyway, from Wiki, this about Faith (pop 421):

According to folk etymology, the town was named Faith because it took faith to live out on the prairie.  However, the story of the city as documented in various informal, locally published histories, is that the town was named for Faith Rockefeller, one of the daughters of a major investor in the railroad responsible for founding the town.

That wasn’t the hook. But this is:

The most complete Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton known, (commonly nicknamed Sue), was discovered about 15 miles northeast of Faith in August 1990.

Ding ding ding! 

OK, the first thing I’m going to do is take a look around, 15 miles NE of Faith:

The lighter areas are eroded badlands (great for finding fossils).  Unfortunately, there is no Street View coverage, there are no Pano photos.  So, I’ll have to settle for a low-angle oblique GE shot, showing the badland landscape in this area:

I’m sure the T Rex fossil bed was in here somewhere.

I found this picture of the outcrop, with the fossil area next to the person up on the outcrop (a screen shot from the You Tube trailer for “Waking the T. Rex:  The Story of Sue,” a short Disney Documentary):

From Wiki, about Sue:

“Sue” is the nickname given to fossil “FMNH PR 2081,” which is the largest, most extensive and best preserved Tyrannosaurus Rex specimen ever found (over 90% recovered).  It was discovered in August 1990 by Sue Hendrickson, a paleontologist, and was named after her.

After ownership disputes were settled, the fossil was auctioned in October 1997, for $7.6 million, the highest amount ever paid for a dinosaur fossil, and is now a permanent feature at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago.

It is 40 ft long, stands 12 ft tall at the hips, and according to the most recent studies is estimated to have weighed between 10 and 20 tons when alive.

Here’s a Wiki picture (by Connie Ma) of Sue at the Field Museum:

And here’s a picture of Sue at the outcrop (from AwesomeStories.com):

Back to Wiki for some of the back story:

During the summer of 1990, a group of workers from the Black Hills Institute [a for-profit corporation specializing in the excavation and preparation of fossils], located in Hill City, searched for fossils at the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation near the city of Faith. By the end of the summer, the group was ready to leave.

However, a flat tire was discovered on their truck before the group could depart.  While the rest of the group went into town to repair the truck, Sue Hendrickson decided to explore the nearby cliffs that the group had not checked.

As she was walking along the base of a cliff, she discovered some small pieces of bone. She looked above her to see where the bones had originated, and observed larger bones protruding from the wall of the cliff.

She returned to camp with two small pieces of the bones and reported the discovery to the president of the Black Hills Institute, Peter Larson.  He determined that the bones were from a T. rex by their distinctive contour and texture.

Later, closer examination of the site showed that it was evident that much of the dinosaur had been preserved.

The fossil was named “Sue” after the woman who discovered it. After discovery, excavation, and transport to the Institute’s facilities in Hill City SD, controversy arose as to who the rightful owners of the fossil was.

The parties in dispute were the land owner, Maurice Williams; the tribe (and thus the federal government) and the Black Hills Institute. On May 12, 1992, FBI agents seized Sue from the institute over the course of three days.

Through the ongoing court battle, it was finally decided that Maurice Williams was the owner of the fossil (even though he had been paid $5,000 by the Black Hills Institute for the right to remove Sue). The federal government later brought a 39-count, 153-charge indictment against the Institute and several of its members, which was related to this case and other fossils. This case turned into the longest criminal trial in South Dakota state history.

Peter Larson, the president of the institute, was convicted on two counts of customs violations, for which he served two years in federal prison. Sue Hendrickson received immunity from prosecution for her testimony.  T Rex Sue was finally auctioned off by Sotheby’s auction house and sold by Maurice Williams to the Field Museum in Chicago, Illinois for $8.36 million.

I Googled Sue Hendrickson.  From Wiki:

In 1955, Hendrickson (at age 6) was enrolled at the Munster (IN) public elementary, frequently being praised by her teachers as “a good student and obedient child.”  However, she eventually found herself bored with school in Munster, and at age 16 was able to convince her parents to let her stay with her aunt in Florida, where she enrolled at a Fort Lauderdale high school.

An adventurous and rebellious teenager, Hendrickson never completed high school, dropping out at the age of 17 in favor of moving from state to state with her boyfriend before returning to Florida, where she was hired by two professional divers who owned an aquarium fish business.

A strong swimmer who had once been on her high school’s swim team, Hendrickson quickly learned to dive and began collecting tropical fish off the Florida Keys to sell to aquarists and pet stores.

Aside from her work as a diver, Hendrickson also worked part of the year as a lobster fisherman, and would occasionally take the summer off to volunteer on paleontological digs.

She took a job in shipwreck salvage, and soon found herself exploring old shipwrecks, becoming fascinated by working in the company of archeologists, often working in the Dominican Republic.

By the mid-1980s, Hendrickson had also tried her hand at amber mining in the Dominican mountains and she soon became one of the largest amber providers for scientists. Hendrickson found three perfect 23-million-year-old butterflies, which make up half of the whole world’s total collection.

Although she found the work too monotonous to pursue full-time, writing that “You could dig for months and find nothing in the Dominican caves,” she became an expert at identifying fossilized insects.

She also joined a team of paleontologists (including Peter Larson) who were excavating whale, dolphin, seal and shark fossils at an ancient seabed in Peru over the course of several summers.

She later accompanied Larson to the Black Hills Institute in South Dakota. By this time, paleontology had become her main passion.

[We all know what happened next . . . ]

In 2005, Glamour magazine honored her in their “Glamour Woman of the Year Awards.” In 2010, she published an autobiography entitled Hunt for the Past: My Life as an Explorer. In 2008, she was featured on the “Dare to Explore” chapter of National Geographic Kids.

Hendrickson now lives on the island of Guanaja, off the coast of Honduras. She is a member of the Paleontological Society, Explorers Club, Society for Historical Archaeology, and was awarded an honorary Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2000.

Here’s a picture of Sue on the Sue outcrop with Sue’s jaw before she got sued (screenshot from the Disney trailer mentioned earlier):

There are slim pickins for GE Pano shots.  But at least I found one, by DocShot, taken about 20 miles west of my landing:

 That’ll do it . . .




© 2017 A Landing A Day


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: