Fall Geological Science Field Trips Attract More than 200 Participants

ISGS field trip participants view the Piasa Bird.Approximately 220 people attended the ISGS fall Geological Science Field Trips in September and October 2007. The field trips highlighted the geology and natural resources of Pere Marquette State Park and surrounding areas and included five stops within Jersey and Madison Counties.

The first stop on the field trip was to the Kimaterials Inc. Lohr Quarry in Madison County. There participants viewed an active limestone quarry operation and collected both Mississippian-age fossils and a variety of mineral specimens including quartz-filled geodes. The second stop was at the National Great Rivers Museum and the Melvin Price Locks and Dam, located south of Alton. The museum visit included information and displays about the historical and cultural significance and the ecological, transportation, and commercial importance of the Mississippi, Missouri, and Illinois Rivers. The third stop was Piasa Park at Alton, where the participants learned about the area's early limestone industry and the legend of the Piasa Bird. The fourth stop was the abandoned Keller Quarry, located adjacent to the Grafton Visitor Center. At this stop, the participants learned about the early history of Grafton's building stone industry and the importance of geological resources in the development of communities along the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers. A number of the field trippers found and collected samples of the famous Gravicalymene celebra (one of the most famous trilobites in the Midwest). The final field trip stop was Pere Marquette State Park. The survey geologist led a hike along the famous Goat Cliff Trail and pointed out evidence of ancient faulting and folding of rocks as well as the relationships between the park's geology and its biodiversity. The field trip ended at McAdams Shelter, a scenic overview along Goat Cliff Trail that provided a vista that included the Illinois and Mississippi River floodplains and a magnificent sunset as the day came to an end.