University of Vermont

Virtual Field Study


Constructing a Composite Stratigraphic Column

    composite stratigraphyOnce geologists have collected their field data at individual outcrops, the next step is to prepare a composite stratigraphic column.  This column documents the complete stratigraphy of an area by bringing together all field sketches and observations from each outcrop into one coherent master column.  At the Calvert Cliffs, a composite column was assembled from the Plum Point, Parkers Creek and Little Cove Point outcrops.  Based on the geologic structure of the area as well as the zones of different fossils present we were able to determine the relative age relationships of the rocks at these three localities and constuct our composite column.  
    Once we have a composite stratigraphic column we can place our fossil collections in the correct relative geologic time. This allows us to study changes in these fossils over time.  The next section of the module walks you through the fossils of the Calvert County, and how paleontologists study changes in morphology over time.

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