100616: Chazy Reef 2016


Just got back from Isle La Motte, Vermont after retrieving my recent show. It’s always a pleasure visiting with all the fine folks at the Isle La Motte Preservation Trust. It’s also a pleasure to take some time sitting on the shore of Lake Champlain, relaxing amid the surrounding beauty


The water was exceptionally low, something we’ve heard throughout the Northeast for months now. The receding shoreline has exposed usually submerged rocks, giving us a reason to walk the shore and explore.


Aside from the odd apple tree (an escapee from one of the numerous orchards on the island), we found way too many fossils to even count. What a bonanza!


Gastropods, cephalopods, and stromatoporoids.

For those unfamiliar, gastropods are the spirally ones, cephalopods are the straight ones, and stromatoporoids are the wavy ones.


They are all marine invertebrate fossils from the Ordovician Period, roughly 480 million years ago.


This southern part of the island, a world renowned geological treasure known as the Chazy Fossil Reef, is the world’s oldest ecologically diverse fossil reef.


Information on the science and history of the Reef can be found at the ILMPT website. The story of the environmental battles that led to the preservation of the reef sites, “The Quarriers: A Conservation Tale,” written by Linda Fitch, can be found here.










An important part of ILMPT’s mission is public education. Student groups from all over the region make visits to the Goodsell Ridge Preserve, where many fossil outcrops exist. The newly renovated barn, now the Nature Center is a focal point for students, educators, scientists, tourists, and the local population.




I’ll finish for today with these two images, a sponge above and a gastropod below, new additions to the collection in the Nature Center. Plan a visit if you are in the area.


Thanks for the visit.


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