A NEW RESOURCE IN GEOSCIENCE EDUCATION: TAKING INVERTEBRATE PALEONTOLOGY COLLECTIONS ONLINE AND BACK TO THE FIELD
Having grown up in the vicinity of Trenton Falls, Charles Doolittle Walcott, Paleontologist and discoverer of the famous Burgess Shale, became acquainted with the fossils as a youngster. His abiding interest in collecting these fossils inadvertently established a legacy in North American Geology. Walcott's extensive invertebrate fossil collections from the Ordovician Trenton Limestone combined with nearly two centuries of geological research at Trenton Falls represent a significant contribution to natural history and the history of geology.
Given the substantive number of fossil specimens and extensive publications on Trenton Falls, this initiative, funded by NSF, provides an overview of aspects of the sedimentary, stratigraphic, and paleontologic history of this world-famous locality. Through the documentation of specimens and the geologic summary of the collection site, readers are presented with a virtual fieldtrip from which they can take away an appreciation for the locality itself and the historical development of Trenton Falls. They can also benefit from a series of geological "primers" on aspects of sedimentology, stratigraphy, and paleontology, as well as many illustrations describing key processes and important concepts such as paleogeography, tectonics, paleoclimatology, etc.. Although the website was initially intended for a college-level audience, the development of the site assumes only an introductory understanding of physical geology.