Wooster Geologists Team Jurassic Utah dips down into the Triassic for its last field day

Today the Wooster Geologists of Team Jurassic Utah visited Early Triassic rocks near Hurricane, Utah (N 37.041054°, W 113.273450°). These are rocks of the Virgin Limestone Member of the Moenkopi Formation. I wanted to show the students the abundant brachiopod fauna in these sediments deposited relatively soon after the massive Permian extinctions.

The brachiopods are tiny and gray. I completely missed them in the talus slopes until Nick began to pick them up. He trained us to recognize them quickly. Above the mysterious Vicky Wang scours the slopes.

Lucie Fiala found a comfortable place below the cliff to look for the fossil critters.

Thin beds of limestone are packed with brachiopods, most rhynchonellids with a few appearing to be terebratulids.

These are loose specimens of the brachiopods. Many are exquisitely preserved. Last mission accomplished! This collection will be the basis of an exercise in our paleoecology course.

Our last field lunch. Shelley Judge has already left for her field camp teaching in central Utah. The rest of us leave Utah tomorrow. What an excellent experience it has been!

(A reference that inspired this visit to the Virgin Limestone Member: McGowan, A.J., Smith, A.B. and Taylor, P.D., 2009. Faunal diversity, heterogeneity and body size in the Early Triassic: testing post-extinction paradigms in the Virgin Limestone of Utah, USA. Australian Journal of Earth Sciences, 56(6), p.859-872.)

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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2 Responses to Wooster Geologists Team Jurassic Utah dips down into the Triassic for its last field day

  1. Peter Holterhoff says:

    Fantastic! Did you encounter any microconchids while you all were on the Virgin?

  2. Mark Wilson says:

    They were actually what I hoped to find most of all, Peter! No luck, unless there are some encrusting the brachiopods I haven’t seen yet.

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