Southeastern Section - 60th Annual Meeting (23–25 March 2011)

Paper No. 1
Presentation Time: 8:05 AM


GIBSON, Gail, Natural Sciences, Florida State College at Jacksonville, 1154 Morgan Circle East, Orange Park, FL 32073 and TEETER, Steven, 9987 Richard Sandy Road, Oakboro, NC 28129,

The first Ediacaran fossils from the Carolina Slate Belt (CSB) in Stanly County NC were discovered (mid 1960s) by a high school student. These impressions on a stream-worn slab-shaped cobble of argillite languished in misidentified obscurity as the Cambrian trilobite, ?Paradoxides carolinaensis, until a stone chimney erected in about 1850 on the ancestral homestead of a middle school science teacher, was razed in 1981, and the stone resized. The re-sizing of that chimney stone revealed a petaloid-shaped fossil, raising questions about similarities and differences between the “chimney fossil”, and ?Paradoxides carolinaensis.

In 1982, another petaloid-shaped fossil impression was discovered, again on a slab-shaped, stream-worn cobble. Close examination of the all impressions, indicated that they did not represent trilobites, but instead the Ediacaran organism, Pterindinium.

The geological significance of Pteridinium fossils in Stanly County NC includes: intercontinental correlations; clarification of age relationships within the CSB relative to that of the trilobite locality in South Carolina, and Ediacaran fossils from Mistaken Point, Newfoundland; increased interest in the stratigraphic / sedimentary characteristics of the CSB; and the recovery of ichnofossils, some with the body fossils, from the argillite in Stanly County.

The pedagogical significance of Pteridinium fossils in Stanly County NC is in many ways greater than the geological significance, including: an earned Masters degree in geology for a middle school teacher, whose continuing research, professional publications, and presentations helped to maintain and enhance classroom effectiveness; involvement of students in that ongoing research; and demonstrated sharing of passion for the discipline. Field-oriented, hands-on, K-12 teacher workshops have been conducted locally; via southern Appalachian transects; in Bermuda; in Puerto Rico in conjunction with UPR, and the southwestern US. Innumerable classroom presentations have shared that passion and knowledge of the discipline with other K-12 teachers. Over the years there have been dozens of out-of-classroom teaching / learning experiences that provided students with something other than “book learning”, experiences that for years enjoyed local school system support.

  • SEGSA 2011 - Significance of Ediacaran Fossils from Stanly County,.pptx (9.3 MB)