Weeks two and three of our collaborative paleontology project.
Bob DeHoet, Museum Education Coordinator, Southern Illinois
Two new students, Jessica and Carly, joined the group this week.
The second session found students still gaining information about
the site visited by the Spring 2000 Paleontology Project by analyzing
fossils left with them during the first session. During a
brainstorming session on the fossils, student with were left with a
series of questions to focus on in continuing their analysis of the
What is the importance of the site?
What type of rock is the site made out of?
What types of plants left prints in the fossils?
What was the site like during the Carboniferous period?
Why do these fossils have different colors?
Carly, one of the new members of the group, did the following background research on the Carboniferous Period:
The Carboniferous Period started 360 million years ago and ended 286 million years ago. The Carboniferous Period is divided into two groups. Lower and Upper Carboniferous. The Lower is the Pennsylvanian, and the Upper, Mississippian. The Mississipian Period is named because of deposits along the Mississippi river in Illinois, Iowa, and Missouri. In the Mississipian Illinois was mainly a seawater environment. Some of the series in the Mississippian include the Chesterian, the Kinderhookian and the Valmeyeran Series, all of which were named for towns in Illinois. In the Kinderhookian and the Valmeyeran, the deposits of marine limestone were very widespread. In the Chesterian in this area thin limestones alternate with bits of shale and there are even a few very thin coals. Some of the fossils in the Mississipian Period are crinoids, blastoids (especially in the Chesterian), bryozoans, and brachiopods. Shark's teeth are also fairly common. The Pensylvanian Period is mostly noted because of its abundance of coal. Most of the Pensylvanian in this area is characterized by thin alternations of shale, siltstone, sandstone, and coal, most of those non-marine, alternating with marine limestone and shale. All of the coal mines in Illinois mine coal from the Pennsylvanian period. The Pennsylvanian period had a hot steamy climate and there was a lot of swamp vegetation during that time. Amphibians were common during that time, as well as sharks. Some fossils from the Pensylvanian Period are annularia, stigmaria, neuropteris, alethoropteris, pecotopteris, and calimites. In conclusion. The Carboniferous Period was an important Geologic Period that lasted from 360 million years ago to 286 million years ago. It is divided into two groups, the Pennsylvanian and Mississipian. The Pennsylvanian is mostly known for its abundance of coal, and many Mississippian fossils can be found in this area.
Students will discuss interviews and mapping information for the project story on the website at the next session.