University of Vermont

College of Arts and Sciences

Scientific Evaluation by Geology Professor Char Mehrtens Helps to Create National Natural Landmark

Release Date: 08-19-2009

Author: Craig E Wells
Phone: 802-656-3702 Fax: (802) 656-3203

The Chazy Fossil Reef in Grand Isle County, Vermont and Clinton County, New York was one of four "National Natural Landmarks" recently named by the National Park Service (NPS). The National Natural Landmark program recognizes examples of natural history and assists in conservation. UVM Professor of Geology Char Mehrtens wrote the scientific evaluation of the site and participated in the NPS science advisory committee hearing on the site.

A designation ceremony was held on Saturday, September 12th at the Preserve in Isle La Motte. NPS designation will ensure that future generations of Vermont students will be able to study this outstanding example of the world's oldest fossil reef.

The Fisk Quarry Preserve on Isle La Motte, Vermont (pictured) is one of several sites exposing the Chazy Fossil Reef. This ancient fossil reef was formed 480-450 million years ago in a shallow tropical sea straddling the equator. It is the oldest known biologically diverse fossil reef in the history of life on earth. Fossils called stromotoporoids can be found in the quarry walls. The Fisk Quarry Preserve, along with the nearby Goodsell Ridge Preserve, is owned and managed by the Isle La Motte Preservation Trust.

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