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Our Upcoming Speaker
Note: Since October 2022, we have returned to in-person meetings at the Birmingham Zoo using a hybrid Zoom-In Person format with the in-person meeting at the Lodge at the Birmingham Zoo

 MONDAY  JUNE 3, 2024 at  7:00 PM Central Time USA

Title: "Fossils of the Crescent Valley Mine: A New Window on the Coal Age in Alabama"

Speaker:  Ron Buta, PhD, Professor emeritus of Astronomy, University of Alabama


The Crescent Valley Mine (CVM),  a currently defunct former surface coal mine located near Carbon Hill in Walker Co., Alabama, is the second best documented fossil track site in Alabama. I will describe how and when the mine was discovered, what kinds of fossils were found there as compared to the better-known Union Chapel Mine (UCM) located 23 miles to the east, and how the ichnofauna diversity at the two sites has been interpreted up to this time.


About the Speaker: 

Dr. Buta received his bachelor's degree in science at Case Western Reserve University in 1974, a master's degree in physics from Michigan State University in 1976, and a PhD in Astronomy and Astrophysics in 1984 from the University of Texas at Austin and McDonald Observatory.

His PhD Thesis was titled "The Structure and Dynamics of Ringed Galaxies" and was under the supervision of Gerard de Vaucouleurs. (1918-1995). The thesis was 981 pages long and won an outstanding dissertation award in 1984.

He has authored or coauthored 3 books on astronomy:

"Third Reference Catalogue of Bright Galaxies" by G. de Vaucouleurs,

  1. de Vaucouleurs, H.  G. Corwin, Jr., R. J. Buta, G. Paturel, and P. Fouque and published by Springer in 1991.

"The de Vaucouleurs Atlas of Galaxies," by R. J. Buta, H. G.

Corwin, Jr., and S. C. Odewahn, published by Cambridge University 

Press in 2007. 

"Cosmic Pinwheels: Spiral Galaxies and the Universe," by R. J. Buta and published by World Scientific Publishing Corporation in 2020. In addition,

he has authored or coauthored about 140 publications on astronomy. 

He has enjoyed collecting and studying Alabama fossils since October 1997 and has authored or co-authored 3 books on Alabama paleontology:

"Pennsylvanian Footprints in the Black Warrior Basin of Alabama" by

R. J. Buta,  A. W. Rindsberg, and D. C. Kopaska-Merkel and published 

by the Alabama Paleontological Society in 2005.

"Footprints in Stone: Fossil Traces of Coal-Age Tetrapods," by R. J. Buta and

D. C.  Kopaska-Merkel and published by the University of Alabama Press in 2016.

"Fossils of the Crescent Valley Mine", by R. J. Buta and to be published by the Alabama Paleontological Society in 2024 or 2025.

Books in preparation:

"Visions of Delight: Re-living the Lord Rosse Experience" by R. J. Buta and to be published probably in Tuscaloosa in 2025. 

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