The Paleozoic Geology

New York

The Paleozoic strata of New York State are a classic repository of fossils, including, at many levels, trilobites and a host of other invertebrate and even vertebrate and plant fossils. For details on the paleoecology and fossils, we recommend the publications by Linsley (1994), Isachsen et al. (1991), Landing (1988), Shaw (1968), and the references therein.

The purposes of this chapter are twofold: first, to give the reader both some general background regarding the tectonic, climatic, and paleoenvironmental history of life on earth (Archean through Pleistocene, Figure 4.1A), and more specifically of New York State and adjacent ancestral North America during the early to middle Paleozoic Era (Cambrian through Devonian, Figure 4.IB), the time during which trilobites lived and were deposited in New York's sedimentary rocks; and second, to provide some details on the stratigraphy, sedimentology, and paleoecology of the intervals from Early Cambrian to Middle Devonian that have yielded abundant trilobite remains. To these ends, the discussion of each Paleozoic time interval is subdivided into two portions: first, an overview of global and New York geological history, and second, details of the stratigraphy and sedimentary environments of the trilobite-bearing intervals, listed chronologically. Such general discussion of geology might seem out of place in a book devoted to trilobites; however, we believe that students of New York's trilobites should be well aware of these broader contexts in order to understand the environments and ecology ot these remarkable ancient organisms.

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