Field Trips

East Berlin Formation
Road cut of the Early Jurassic East Berlin Formation in the Hartford rift basin, Berlin, CT.
Photo by Tim Byrne. Click for larger image.

All field trips are before the meeting and begin and end at the Hartford Marriott Downtown. A US$30 field trip only registration fee is available for those not attending the meeting. Information on CEUs is available on the Registration page.

Generous support for the publication of the field trip guidebook has been provided by the Geological Society of Connecticut.

Generous support for transportation for Field Trip 2 has been provided by the New England and Eastern Sections of the National Association of Geoscience Teachers.

Trip Descriptions

1. Were Early Jurassic Dinosaurs Gregarious? Reexamining the Evidence from Dinosaur Footprint Reservation in Holyoke, Massachusetts.
Check-in at 8:45 a.m., leaves promptly at 9 a.m., and returns at 4 p.m., Sat., 17 March. Cost: US$80; includes transportation, lunch, and field guide. Max.: 38.
Patrick R. Getty, Univ. of Connecticut; Aaron I. Judge, Univ. of Massachusetts; Jayme Csonka and Andrew Bush, Univ. of Connecticut.
This field trip will examine dinosaur tracks preserved in the Lower Jurassic Portland Formation along the Connecticut River, in Holyoke, Massachusetts, USA. The footprints were made famous by paleontologist John Ostrom in 1972 when he proposed that the Eubrontes tracks were produced by a herd of large theropod dinosaurs. The proposal that some dinosaurs were gregarious partly fueled the “Dinosaur Renaissance,” which changed our view of dinosaurs from slow, ponderous, solitary animals to the fast, lively, social animals that we are familiar with from movies such as Jurassic Park. During our work at the site, we have identified nearly a thousand tracks on the main track bed, including those of small and large theropods, early ornithischians, and basal crocodiles. We have also sampled stratigraphically higher footprint-bearing beds. Thus, the new data set used to test the gregariousness hypothesis is more extensive than previous data sets in terms of number of tracks, biological diversity, and stratigraphic sampling. At the site, we will explore the relationship of dinosaur tracks, by taxon, by size, and by bed, to paleoshoreline indicators to determine if these Early Jurassic dinosaurs were indeed gregarious.
2. In the Footsteps of Dinosaurs: A Guided Tour of Dinosaur State Park for K–16 Educators.
Cosponsored by the National Association of Geoscience Teachers (NAGT).
Half-day. Check-in at 8:30 a.m., leaves promptly at 8:45 a.m., and returns at noon, Sat., 17 March. Cost: US$15; includes transportation, admission to Dinosaur State Park, and materials. Max.: 40.
Christine Witkowski, Middlesex Community College; Margaret Enkler, Dinosaur State Park; Karen Kortz, Community College of Rhode Island.
More than 500 dinosaur tracks dating back to the earliest Jurassic are preserved in place at Dinosaur State Park. Join us for a guided tour of the track display, museum exhibits, arboretum, and nature trails. Participants will learn about Early Jurassic geology, paleoclimatology, and ecology from the rock record on display and from key evidence relating to the end-Triassic extinction. Activities designed to engage students of all ages will be demonstrated and discussed.
3. The Hartford Basin from the Hanging Hills to the Sound.
Check-in at 7:45 a.m., leaves promptly at 8 a.m., and returns at 6 p.m., Sat., 17 March. Cost: US$80; includes transportation, lunch, and field guide. Max.: 41.
Brian Skinner, Yale University; Leo Hickey, Yale University; Anthony R. Philpotts, University of Connecticutt; Jay Ague, Yale University.
This field trip will examine the Talcott and Holyoke flood-basalt flows and the arkosic sediments deposited in the basal portion of the Mesozoic Hartford basin. Stops will include the Hanging Hills (Holyoke flow and pillow basalts of the Talcott flow); the North Branford trap-rock quarry (Holyoke flow that is so thick it differentiated during cooling); East Rock (a large sill related to the Talcott flow); arkosic sediments at the Portland brownstone quarries; and Lighthouse Point in New Haven to see the Eastern Border fault that bounds the eastern margin of the Hartford basin.
4. Tying the Tales of Two Basins: Relation of Temperature-Time Paths in the Bronson Hill Terrane to the Narragansett and Hartford Basins.
Check-in at 7:45 a.m., leaves promptly at 8 a.m., and returns at 6 p.m., Sat., 17 March. Cost: US$80; includes transportation, lunch, and field guide. Max.: 24.
Robert P. Wintsch, Indiana Univ.; Mary K. Roden-Tice, SUNY Plattsburgh; Michael J. Kunk and John N. Aleinikoff, U.S. Geological Survey.
This field trip investigates the geologic history of the Bronson Hill rocks, from their Late Ordovician magmatic crystallization to their deformation in the upper crust during Mesozoic rifting. Emphasis will be placed on the transition from prograde Alleghanian metamorphism and deformation to late Paleozoic and Mesozoic retrogression. At the outcrop, we will discuss the abundant geochronologic and thermochronologic data (U-Pb, Ar-Ar, and AFT) that track the thermal history of the Bronson Hill rocks, examine kinematic indicators that document Alleghanian ductile motion and the brittle overprint, and study Mesozoic oscillations across the brittle-ductile transition caused by reaction and textural hardening and softening in cataclasites and phyllonites.
5. Unraveling Alleghanian Orogenesis in Southern Connecticut: The History of the Lyme Dome.
Check-in at 8:45 a.m., leaves promptly at 9 a.m., and returns at 6 p.m., Sat., 17 March. Cost: US$80; includes transportation, lunch, and field guide. Max.: 26.
Gregory J. Walsh and John N. Aleinikoff, U.S. Geological Survey; Robert P. Wintsch, Indiana Univ.
This field trip will highlight the geologic history of the Lyme dome, from Neoproterozoic deposition and magmatism to widespread deformation and migmatization in the Carboniferous to Permian Alleghanian orogeny. Recent studies in the Lyme dome constrain the origin of the rocks in the core of the dome, the absolute timing of four principal deformational and thermal events attributed to Alleghanian orogenesis, and the processes that generated the dome. This trip will visit some spectacular bedrock exposures along the Connecticut coast of Long Island Sound where we will see why the discovery of Gander zone rocks in the core of the Lyme dome is critical to testing the continuity of terranes and the timing of terrane accretion throughout the northern Appalachians.
6. The Geology of Walden Pond.
Check-in at 7:45 a.m., leaves promptly at 8 a.m., and returns at 6 p.m., Sat., 17 March. Cost: US$80; includes transportation, lunch, and field guide. Max.: 44.
Robert Thorson, Univ. of Connecticut.
Geologically, Walden Pond in Concord, Massachusetts, USA, is nothing special. It’s a perfectly ordinary kettle lake formed by the meltdown of stagnant ice that was detached from the retreating Laurentide Ice Sheet and buried by the glaciodeltaic sand and gravel. But culturally, the book resulting from Henry David Thoreau’s sojourn there in 1845–1847 has become the nature writing text in courses on nineteenth-century American literature and identifies the epicenter of the environmental movement. Walden is a great book largely because Thoreau based his poetic and philosophic excursions on solid physical science: geology, hydrology, limnology, meteorology, optics, and acoustics. His example provides geologists an opportunity to help our colleagues in the humanities understand what we do. This field trip will explore the geological origin of Walden Pond through a sequence of stops arranged in chronological order. The stops will provide backdrops for discussing: the Acadian-age underthrusting of Proterozoic rocks responsible for creating the Sudbury River–Charles River watershed divide; the post-orogenic development of the Sudbury Valley as part of a trellis-drainage network within Paleozoic metasediments; full glacial conditions; the sequence of “kame deltas” formed within the Sudbury Valley during ice recession with an emphasis on the particulars of Walden Pond; and the postglacial transformation of kettle hole to stable lake.


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