John Taylor, Department of Geoscience, was among ten speakers invited to present at a preconference symposium held in conjunction with the seventy-fifth annual Field Conference of Pennsylvania Geologists in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. His talk, “Cambrian-Ordovician Carbonates of the Central Appalachian Piedmont,” provided an update on advances over the past twenty years in knowledge of limestones deposited in this region during the Cambrian Period, roughly 500 million years ago.
More than 200 geologists attended the symposium on September 23. “Tectonics of the Susquehanna Piedmont” set the stage for the two-day field conference that followed on September 24–25, where participants visited numerous natural rock exposures and several quarries in southeastern Pennsylvania. The geologists were taken to these locations as they provided data that resulted in dramatic revisions to depositional and tectonic models for Cambrian rocks in this part of the Appalachians.
Taylor's presentation focused on improved time-control (age-dating) and refined correlations of limestones in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Newfoundland made possible by recovery of fossil assemblages from these areas.
Attendees of the symposium and field conference earned 75 percent of the continuing education credits required for renewal of their professional geologist certifications by Fall 2011. More importantly, they left with greater insight regarding the areal distribution of specific packages of limestone of considerable importance either as a valuable resource for recovery, or as problematic units prone to the development of sinkholes.