Northeastern Section - 40th Annual Meeting (March 14–16, 2005)

Paper No. 1
Presentation Time: 8:05 AM


WASHINGTON, Paul A., Department of Geosciences, Univ of Louisiana at Monroe, Monroe, LA 71209,

The early state surveys of New York and Vermont managed to define the major stratigraphic elements of the Paleozoic sedimentary sequence. Because of the deformation in western Vermont and adjoining New York, however, there was significant uncertainty about the lower Paleozoic stratigraphic succession, especially of the Calciferous Sandrock (i.e., the Beekmantown Group), in and around the Taconics. Rev. Augustus Wing, a school teacher in western Vermont, decided to resolve this issue.

From 1858 until his death in 1876, he spent his free time defining the litho- and biostratigraphy of the central Champlain Valley. Although he never published his results, geologists throughout the region were familiar with his work and he is referenced repeatedly in contemporary publications. After his death, Profs. Brainerd and Seely of Middlebury College carefully remeasured his stratigraphic reference sections and published the stratigraphy that has come down to us today, albeit with an altered nomenclature. In the process, they adjusted Wing’s formation boundaries to group similar lithologies; these adjustments created the problems that stratigraphers still argue about today, with most biostratigraphers pushing for a return to Wing’s stratigraphic boundaries. In addition, Wing’s structural analysis of the central Champlain Valley served as the basis for Cady’s (1945) Middlebury synclinorium. Unfortunately, Wing’s notebooks disappeared from the Middlebury College collections in the early 1940s, so all we have of his work is a typescript of some of the notebooks and unpublished manuscripts (made for Cady in the 1930s) and a few letters preserved in corresponding geologists collections.