Summer 2000 Field Work

As in several of the previous years, this summer was mostly dedicated to collect information on the Devonian black shales of eastern North America.  This year most efforts were targeted on the New Albany Shale in Indiana, a part of the Devonian black shale succession that links the Illinois and Michigan Basins.

After a road trip through Tennessee and Kentucky in which we examined the expression of these black shales in outcrop, most of the time was spent at the Indianan geological Survey Core Library in Bloomington, Indiana.  A capable and highly efficient team of UTA students managed to acquire a broad range of data on a total of 27 cores.  Data acquired included lithologic logs, core photos, gamma ray profiles, other well logs, visible light spectral reflectance, and UV-induced fluorescence.  A number of cores were sampled for geochemical and petrographic analyses.  Two students, Tristand Barrett and Priyanka Johri are working on MS theses that involve the study of these cores.

The type section of the Chattanooga Shale near Hurricane Bridge, DeKalb County, Tennessee.  Click here for larger picture.  Click here for high resolution jpeg image. Four members of this summer's team.  From left to right, Kirsten Tye, Becca Grassl, Karen Berecz, and Tristand Barrett. Click here for larger picture. Exposure of New Albany Shale near along I-65, near Bernheim Forest/KY.  Click here for larger picture.

In order to get a better understanding of lateral equivalents to the east, one week was spent with reconnaisance of the Ohio Shale in the vicinity of Columbus and in northeastern Ohio.  Although this part of the black shale succession is much thicker than elsewhere, even here it is possible to recognize extensive erosion surfaces that should allow sequence stratigraphic subdivision in the future.  The picture in the background is a skull of Dunkleosteus terrelli, a carnivorous fish, up to 10 meters long, that prowled the Devonian seas.  Its skull was protected by bony plates and it had bony blades instead of actual teeth.  The Dunkleosteus skull was found in a carbonate concretion in the Ohio shale near Cleveland/Ohio.


Stream bed with outcrop Olentangy Shale, alternating black and gray shale beds, Columbus/Ohio.  All photos courtesy of Loren Babcock, OSU Geology. Click here for larger picture.

Trace fossils in black shale bed of Olentangy Shale, Columbus/Ohio. Click here for larger picture.

Knife-sharp contact between Olentangy (below) and Huron Shale (above).  Stream bed, Columbus/Ohio. Click here for larger picture.

Lower Huron Shale with large carbonate concretion. Columbus/Ohio. Click here for larger picture.

Erosional contact (marked by hammer tip) within lower Huron Shale.  Shale below weathers blocky, shale above weathers fissile/papery.  Joint orientation also differ between the two shale units. Click here for larger picture.

Yours truly and the Chagrin Shale with the famous Foerstia Zone (marked by ruler), an important biostratigraphic marker.  Columbus/Ohio. Click here for larger picture.

The final project of the summer was a visit to Meteor Crater in Arizona, in order to study the post-impact crater fill and its implication for regional climate and geologic events in the last 50,000 years.

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© Jürgen Schieber, UTA Department of Geology
Last updated: August 28, 2000 .