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The purpose of this project is to develop students' field skills by starting at the outcrop scale and then building on these experiences to create a regional picture of events by visiting multiple sites across NY. Students become proficient and efficient at measuring stratigraphic sections in teams after 5 weeks of field work. We visit eight outcrops within 5 weeks and measure detailed stratigraphic sections at each site. We begin by learning how to measure a detailed ~6 m thick stratigraphic section of siliciclastic rocks exposed in a local state park (that students visited during their introductory physical geology course) using a Jacob staff and Brunton. The outcrop is comprised of only 3 lithologies, but many sedimentary structures (bioturbation, flute casts, drag marks, groove casts, asymmetric ripples (plan view) and trough cross-beds). These lithofacies repeat several times even within the ~6 m measured section as these are turbidite deposits. We return to the lab after measuring the section and students work up their field data to construct a detailed, hand-drawn stratigraphic section for the first time. Students also make paleocurrent measurements in the field when possible and learn to plot these pooled class data during the next class meeting. For the other local sections, students perform the same field observations and measurements. At these locales, several formations crop out and students learn to recognize them based on their lithologic and paleontologic composition. Both carbonate and siliciclastic rocks occur at these sites. During the 3-day weekend field trip, students measure three stratigraphic sections of Lower Devonian through Middle Devonian strata and recognize that, for example, western NY lacks the Helderberg carbonate sequence and that the Oriskany Sandstone is thicker and laterally continuous in eastern NY rather than the lenses that crop out in central-western NY. Students also realize that the Hamilton Group changes character as they march across NY, building on their reading of Walther's Law in Boggs (2006) and their in-class stratigraphic correlation (lithostratigraphy, biostratigraphy) exercises from Fichter and Poche (2001) completed prior to the weekend field trip.
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