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News & Media

Latest ITER Newsline

  • WEST | Revamped tokamak completes 1st phase of operation

    One day, in the latter half of this decade, it will be routine at ITER: dozens of operators, with eyes riveted to their individual monitors as numbers, graphs a [...]

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  • Roof modules | Patience, precision and a crane's long arm

    In the spring of 2020 a new and strategic phase of ITER construction will begin: the assembly of the ITER Tokamak. In order to deliver machine components to the [...]

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  • Image of the week | "Bringing light and hope"

    Most international organizations are headquartered in large cities—the UN in New York, UNESCO and the International Energy Agency in Paris, the IAEA in Vienna, [...]

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  • Outreach in China | A week devoted to fusion

    A new biennial event in China seeks to create a comprehensive exchange platform for the scientists, engineers and industries that are driving the country's stro [...]

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  • Monaco-ITER Fellows | New campaign announced

    The seventh recruitment campaign for the Monaco-ITER postdoctoral fellowship program opens on 13 January. Since 2008, thirty postdocs have carried out origin [...]

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Of Interest

See archived entries

Image of the week

200 million years ago at ITER

Back in the Mesozoic, some 66 to 250 million years ago, the ITER site lay at the bottom of a shallow sea that covered most of what is now Provence.

A foreman with a sharp eye: Christopher Lebreton spotted the circular shape imprinted on a rock excavated from the platform. (Click to view larger version...)
A foreman with a sharp eye: Christopher Lebreton spotted the circular shape imprinted on a rock excavated from the platform.
The warm waters swarmed with life: marine reptiles such as ichthyosaurs and plesiosaurs, sea urchins, belemnites and the ubiquitous ammonite, resembling present-day nautiluses.

A few weeks ago, as workers excavated a gallery for the Tokamak's cooling water system, a dweller of this ancient world resurfaced.

It wasn't noticed immediately, however. "We only saw the circular shape imprinted on the rock slab once it had been delivered to the deposit area behind the construction platform," explains Christopher Lebreton, a foreman with the contractor that is performing the excavation works—SVA (Spie-Batignolles, Valérian, ADF).

The shape imprinted on the rock was that of the coiled shell of an average-size ammonite—a species which could vary in size from 20 millimetres to 2.55 metres in diameter.

According to Caroline Gamache, a geologist with Spie-Batignolles, the limestone strata where the fossil was found can be dated back 120-200 million years—a time when dinosaurs ruled the Earth and our closest parent was a tiny mouse striving to survive in the realm of the "monstrous lizards."


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