This field trip will be along the White River Trail in downtown Indianapolis and will look at blocks of the Salem Formation. The Salem Formation (also called the Indiana Limestone) is a mississippian limestone that is extensively quarried in monroe and lawrence counties in Indiana. The formation is a thick-bedded medium to coarse-grained crossbedded calcarenite that varies in color (tan, gray tan, and light gray), and is an internationally known dimension stone and facing stone. During the middle to late mississippian, Indiana was located in the tropical zone south of the equator. The region was covered with a shallow sea that was teeming with marine life. Carbonate material from foraminifera, bryozoans, mollusks, brachiopods, and crinoids were deposited on the seafloor and were lithified to into the limestone we see and use today. The fragmental nature of the larger fossils and the presence of well-developed cross-bedding indicates that the environment was shallow enough to be affected by wave action. According to the Indiana Geological and Water Survey (IGS), nearly 2.7 million cubic feet of Indiana limestone is currently quarried each year, which generates $26 million in annual revenue for the state. What makes the Salem Formation particularly desirable for dimension stone is that it exhibits no preferential direction of splitting. The limestone can be planed, sawed, turned on a lathe, or hand-worked into almost shape. Its historic and economic heritage are some of the reasons it is now the official state stone of Indiana.
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I have had experience developing, planning, and running geological field trips including ones for the Geological Society of America. Below are the professional field trips I have run, helped run, or planned. Dennison, J. M., Filer, J. K. and Rossbach, T. J. 2005. Devonian strata in the Route 250 Corridor in Virginia and West Virginia; p. 19-77 in Dennison, J. M. (ed.), Geologic Field Guide to Devonian Stratigraphy and Hydrocarbon Geology near U.S. Route 250 in West Virginia and Virginia. American Association of Petroleum Geologists, Eastern Section Meeting, Morgantown, West Virginia, 179 p. Rossbach, T. J., and Brewton, A. D. 2005. Paleobiology of the Elkins Northwest section; p. 98-109 in Dennison, J. M. (ed.), Geologic Field Guide to Devonian Stratigraphy and Hydrocarbon Geology near U.S. Route 250 in West Virginia and Virginia. American Association of Petroleum Geologists, Eastern Section Meeting, Morgantown, West Virginia, 179 p. Rossbach, T. J., and Hall, J. C. 1998. Late Devonian (Frasnian-Famennian) extinction event in the Catskill delta of Virginia and West Virginia. Guidebook, Southeastern Meeting of the Geological Society of America, March 29, Charleston, West Virginia, 35 p. Dennison, J. M., Filer, J. K., and Rossbach, T. J. 1996. Devonian strata of southeastern West Virginia and adjacent Virginia; p. 3-52 in Dennison, J. M. (ed.), Geologic Field Guide to Devonian Hydrocarbon Stratigraphy of Southeastern West Virginia and Adjacent Virginia, October 12-13, 1996. Sponsored by the Appalachian Geological Society for the 1996 Eastern Meeting of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, 160 p. Rossbach, T. J., and Dennison, J. M. 1994. Devonian strata of Catawba syncline near Salem, Virginia; p. 95-125 in Schultz, A., and Henika, B. (eds.) Field guides to southern Appalachian structure and engineering geology. Virginia Tech Department of Geological Sciences Guidebook Number 10, 283 p., for the meeting of the Southeastern Section Meeting of the Geological Society of America, Blacksburg, Virginia.. Carter, J. G., and Rossbach, T. J. 1992. Molluscan biostratigraphy of the River Bend Formation, New Bern and Belgrade, North Carolina; p. 139-143 in Carter, J. G., and Ward, L. W. (conveners), Cenozoic Molluscan Biostratigraphy of the North Carolina Coastal Plain, Field Trip 8. Southeastern Section, The Paleontological Society, March 17-18, 1992; in Dennison, J. M., and Stewart, K. G., Geologic Guides to North Carolina and Adjacent Areas. Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Department of Geology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Geologic Guidebook No. 1, 233 p. This is an educational field trip (rather than a research-oriented one) designed to provide the opportunity to examine the lithology, sedimentary structures and paleontology of the State Stone of Indiana without the inconvenience of travelling to its natural outcrops and quarries in the south-central region of the state. I have taught historical geology, sedimentology, stratigraphy, and paleontology for over twenty years. Since starting at IUPUI, I have incorporated the geology of Indiana into my courses so I am very familiar with the geologic setting, lithology, and fossils of the Salem Limestone as well its economic importance to the state. As mentioned above, my extensive background in historical geology, sedimentology, stratigraphy, and paleontology has provide the requisite background to conduct this field trip. Even though my main research is in Devonian-age rocks, I ran departmental field trips at Elizabeth City State University for sixteen years that covered the Ordovician through Mississippian of the central Appalachian Basin. Through my geology classes at IUPUI, I have expanded this coverage into the mid-continent.