Geology of the National Parks

GeoMations and GeoClips


This week's lone GeoMation features Dr. Alley's visualization of the evolutionary process. Two additional GeoClips discuss "Ancient Bees" and "Extracting Fossils." Hope these add some insight into your Unit 11!


Evolutionary Process


The fossil record includes some amazing things. If there were trees and insects far back in time, wouldn't you expect that the insects would have burrowed into the trees then as they do now? And wouldn't you expect that a tree with some of those burrows would be fossilized? Well, here is one example. Park Paleontologist William Parker of the Petrified Forest National Park explains fossil burrows to the CAUSE team.

Ancient Bee's Nests / Petrified Forest National Park

Petrified Forest National Park is best-known for trees turned to stone, but also has an immense wealth of fossils of various types from the late Triassic (in the Mesozoic, about 210 million years ago). Here, Park Paleontologist William Parker and assistant Randall Irmis explain to the CAUSE class the paleontological excavation of plates of the armored amphibian known either as Koskinonodon or Buettneria.

Uncovering Fossils / Petrified Forest National Park

Want to see more?

Optional Enrichment (no, these won't be on the quiz!):

Agate Chunks in Sand - The formation of fossils is both rare and normal—most dead things are eaten, burned, or otherwise recycled before they are turned to stone, but over the diverse environments of the planet, conditions favoring fossilization are bound to occur in some places at some times. Here, Irene Meglis and Dr. Alley use a little geological sleuthing to understand why the fossil trees of Petrified Forest National Park were preserved. (Transcript)

Deep Time film clips - What do beauty, saving money at Las Vegas, religion, oil exploration, emerging new diseases, and the planet’s recovery from global warming have in common? All in some way involve deep time, the immense age of the Earth. Eric Spielvogel filmed a discussion of these and other issues with Dr. Alley, for a special “time” issue of Research! Penn State. These "Deep Time film clips" will give you something to think about, and may even help with the course. Enjoy!