The Mazon Creek fossil beds, found in the Illinois counties of LaSalle, Livingston, Will, Grundy, Fulton and Kankakee, are a sedimentary deposit mother lode. The fossils, found in ironstone concretions, were formed approximately 307 million years ago in the mid-Pennsylvanian epoch of the Carboniferous period. They frequently preserve both hard and soft tissues of animal and plant materials, as well as many soft-bodied organisms that do not normally fossilize. The quality, quantity, and diversity of fossils in the area, known since the mid-19th century, make the Mazon Creek beds important to scientists attempting to reconstruct the paleoecology of the area. Today, much of the area where fossils have been found is underwater because strip mines that once dotted the landscape have been flooded for recreational use by the State of Illinois, while other land is privately owned and generally off-limits. However, it’s still possible to hunt for fossils in the area as people have been doing since the mid-1800s. Steinberg will present an overview of the geographic and geologic history of Mazon Creek, a brief discussion of its fossil flora and fauna, and display some of the fossils she has found.
A-mazin’ Mazon Creek:Digging the Past in Illinois
Presented by Ellen F. Steinberg, Ph.D.
Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020
Chicago Cultural Center, Renaissance Court, 78 E. Washington St., Chicago
(Use the Randolph Street Entrance)
GSC’s Travelogues are always free and open to the public.
*Photo Credit: http://www.mazoncreek