Stratigraphy and Tectonics

This course reviews plate tectonics and then the fundamentals of stratigraphy. Both are then combined to study the orogenic (mountain building) and basin evolution of New England and New York. The course culminates in two extended field trips to foreland basin deposits of western Vermont and eastern New York.

The field trips are excellent opportunities to examine extensive vertical sections of rock that, with a little work, tell students about the quiet time before mountain building began, the foundering of the crust as mountains began to grow through folding and west-directed thrust faulting, the development of a large basin at the flank of the new mountains, and finally the filling of that basin with debris shed from the mountains.


Small west-verging folds in carbonate rock that is in the footwall of a thrust system that once carried a massive slab of rock over this location and westward, building the ancient Taconic mountains -- the Green Mtns are their remaining roots. Students spend several lab days deducing the history of Taconic and Acadian mountain building and basin filling.

More to come here… (the rest of the Taconic and Acadian in fact!)

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