Paleontology field trip in southeastern Indiana

RICHMOND, INDIANA–Geology students in the Cincinnati area are a bit spoiled when it comes to finding fossils in the field. The Upper Ordovician rocks here are world-famous for the extraordinary abundance, variety and preservation of invertebrate those shown above and below.

Today Wooster’s Invertebrate Paleontology class had its annual field trip to collect specimens for lab projects and analyses. We traveled to roadcut outcrops south of Richmond, Indiana — places Wooster Geologists have been visiting for about 30 years. Most recently Kit Price (’13) and her team was here collecting specimens for her Independent Study project. She was on this trip as well, and the class found lots of goodies for her work.

Our fleet of vehicles at our first outcrop (the Whitewater Formation).

Matt Peppers (’13) and Will Cary (’13) striking a Team Utah pose with the Whitewater Formation. Note that this rock unit is mostly resistant limestone beds.

The outcrop of the Liberty Formation at our second stop. (The Liberty is known as the Dillsboro Formation in Indiana, but we tend to use the Ohio names just across the border.) Note the prominence of less resistant shale.

It was a great day — sunny, warm and full of fossils. This class was especially adept at finding unusual specimens, several of which will show up us Fossils of the Week!

About Mark Wilson

Mark Wilson is a Professor of Geology at The College of Wooster. He specializes in invertebrate paleontology, carbonate sedimentology, and stratigraphy. He also is an expert on pseudoscience, especially creationism.
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7 Responses to Paleontology field trip in southeastern Indiana

  1. Elyssa Krivicich says:

    Has the department grown since I graduated? I don’t remember so many vehicles. Hope it was a great trip!

  2. Mark Wilson says:

    I think we do have a few more now, Elyssa. I know the paleo class is larger than yours was!

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  5. Naomie says:

    DavidV wrote:As for intelligent degisn itself, there’s a lot more support out there than people think. Without getting into irreducible complexity, the complete absence of evidence for macroevolution, or other more complicated evidence for IDI’d recommend exercising a bit more credulity. So-called “irreducible complexity” has been shown repeatedly to be little more than a smoke-screen… a poorly defined concept that is continually redefined whenever concrete evidence is pointed out that contradicts it. It comes down to little more than “I think it looks like it could have been degisned, therefore it only could have been degisned.”As to “complete absence of evidence for macroevolution”, I’d recommend . There’s mountains of evidence for macroevolution, including speciation seen both in the lab and in the wild.I suppose by “more complicated evidence for ID”, you mean Dembski’s “complex specified information” or the like? It has also been shown to be riddled with conceptual and mathematical errors.The link that you included is also fraught with fraudulent and intellectually dishonest distortions. Consider the first “graph” in Figure 3 (you know, the one that is conveniently missing units on the Y axis?).That’s allegedly a graph of the radiant output of the sun. But it doesn’t come close to matching reality. The graph would have you believe that all solar output outside the visible spectrum is a constant value, regardless of wavelength. In fact, it uses identical graphs for Figure 3.1 and 3.2, which are allegedly the “radiant output of the sun” and “radiant output of biological utility”.The article then goes on to claim that the output of the sun is thus “fine tuned” for biological utility.In reality, solar output is closely approximated by a blackbody radiation curve of an object at roughly 6000 degrees Kelvin. It’s a smooth curve, not some ridiculous “straight line, massive spike, straight line” exactly bounded and centered on the visible spectrum.The graph and the assertion is a fraud, plain and simple.It’s also more than possible to have life exist with a planetary surface temperature below 0c, and life has already been found , so the assertion that we have to have only a 0-100C window is obviously right out as well.There are a great many other ridiculous assumptions in the article, which fall well in line with the same fatal flaws that ID and irreducible complexity engage in over and over. I’ll just ask a question that I find convincing. How is it possible to get something from nothing?From nothing, nothing comes. If we currently have something that could not have existed forever (see entropy and the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics), then at some point in the past it must have come into existence. It must have been created.You’re making some assumptions there that might not be valid. we don’t know, for instance, that the universe could not have existed forever. I happen to believe that the universe is infinite in duration.You elaborated later with:The fact that our present experience must have been caused, and that cause must also have been caused, etc., merely degenerates into an illogical and impossible endless regression. Thus, at the end, we need an uncaused cause – something supernatural. No, this argument doesn’t show that the uncaused cause is necessarily the Judeo-Christian God, but it does indicate the need for some sort of supernatural diety.Essentially, we both recognize that the world as we see it cannot have existed forever, but the laws of nature and logic prevent it from having ever spontaneously come into existence. My worldview has an coherent explanation; I’m not sure that yours does.Again, I don’t agree with your fundamental premises. There is no need for an uncaused cause if we assume infinite duration. Infinite duration does not, however, imply necessarily that nothing ever changes. So the local observable universe might not look the same today as it did ten billion years ago, but that doesn’t mean the universe as a whole must therefore have been created.Regression of causes is a logical trap, and can be escaped in the same way that Zeno’s paradoxes can. Zeno’s paradoxes are logically consistent, but that doesn’t mean that they constrain reality.Every point on a circle has another point that is immediately counter-clockwise of it. Should logic therefore tell us that circles can’t exist, because they must have infinite length (never reaching the farthest counter-clockwise point)?The universe needs no cause if it has always existed.

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