By Kimberly C. Meehan
Most of my current research focuses on the microfossils and paleoecology of the Devonian Appalachian Basin here in western New York. Working with recently-graduated undergraduates Cody Kowalski (BA ’19), Kimberly Bartlett (BS ’20), and Isabelle Li (BS ’20; MS UB ’22), and Prof. Caroline Thaler (Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris), Prof. Gary Lash (SUNY Fredonia), and Paul Bembia (West Valley Site Management Program, NYSERDA), we were able to put out a few papers with some exciting new insights into the formerly considered monotonous shales in our area. Both agglutinated and calcareous foraminifera were found to be relatively abundant in the West Falls and Java Groups and exhibit the oldest known predominance facies published yet. Additional microfossils of freshwater origins, and the first reported in Erie County, in these and adjacent beds include oogonia, antheridia, and Chara algal fragments. These specimens confirm hypotheses recently published that the deltaic sequences experienced several hyperpycnal or major seasonal monsoon events that correlate well with Devonian marine crisis events. Lastly, while in Detroit in 2019 and 2020, I was able to access well spoils from the Ford House Estate, Grosse Pointe Shore, MI, which contained microtektites in the Norwood Member of the Antrim Shale that appear to have derived from the same major impact event (most likely the Alamo or Siljan Impact Events) as the tektites reported in the uppermost Cashaqua Formation in Eden, New York, during the punctata carbon isotope excursion.
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