History of Earth in Mechetlinsky cross section
History of Earth in Mechetlinsky cross section

History of Earth in Mechetlinsky cross section

How does it feel to be standing at the bottom of the Ural Ocean? Being able to witness history stretching back to hundreds of millions of years, to see creatures that seem unreal today? All of that is possible only in one place in whole Russia. In Yangantau Geopark time is compressed into a 12-meter stratum that is the Mechetlino geologic cross section. Each of its layers is a bygone era, stretching for thousands of years.

Things to see in Mechetlino

The rock section exposes layers of sand, silt, soil, replacing each other for many centuries in a row, making Mechetlino a location of global importance. Evidence suggests that most of these layers had been formed thousands of years before the appearance of dinosaurs. The lower shells of the cross section are verified as being the heritage of the most ancient underwater world. On top of the lower layers, you can see the frozen silt of prehistoric coastal slopes.

The rock interior as well as its surroundings contains some quaint shells. The following shells served as shelters of mollusks that became extinct or evolved into other species long before the appearance of mankind.

Does the horsetail plant sound familiar to you? Today it’s known as a kind of grass but back then it appeared to be a tree up to 30 meters high. The prints of that very horsetail are visible on the chips of the Mechetlinsky cross section.

The wall of the section crumbles easily; as if reminding everyone how easy it is to destroy what nature had been creating for hundreds of years.  And in today’s rapidly changing world people who settled here are committed to protect their rich culture and historic heritage.

Traces of life of the past millennia

Fossils of the former inhabitants of this land are used to define and identify the age of the formation. What kind of creatures could have possibly lived here when Yuryuzan was still the ocean? Whose remains presented in the Geopark today you can see and even touch?

Those include:

  • Conodonts are eel-like creatures with teeth. We can assure you this is not a product of Hollywood imagination, but real and far from being rare findings of the Mechetlinsky cross section.

  • Crinoids or Sea Lilies are marine echinoderms shaped like fantastic flowers.

  • Ammonoids are an extinct class of cephalopods, characterized by the spiral shells around their bodies, like those of the living Nautilus species.

  • Brachiopods are often known as lamp shells, the kind of bivalve mollusks, similar to those in which pearls are grown.

Apart from the above-mentioned creatures, completely extinct plants, single-celled invertebrates and chordates are presented here. The remains of many of them are visible to the plain eye and even tangible in Geopark Yangantau. 

On the map