Web Series Episode 2: Chicago Tonight's "Field Trip"

Chicago's Tropical Reef

On this edition of Chicago Tonight's Field Trip, we hit the road with Paul Mayer, The Field Museum’s Fossil Invertebrates Collections Manager, to hunt for fossils from a time when Chicago was a tropical reef. The Silurian is a geologic period that occurred 450 million years ago to 420 million years ago. During this time, Chicago was below the equator and covered by a shallow sea. There are still places in the area where you can find these ancient fossils. Our tour guide takes us to one of those locations in Bridgeport. Watch the video below and view a slideshow.

Where to See Silurian Rocks in Illinois

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Natural Sites

Pere Marquette State Park

Mississippi Palisades State Park

Kankakee River State Park

Charles Mound

Sagawau Canyon Nature Preserve

Man-Made Sites

Thornton Quarry

Palmisano Park

*Note: Be sure to inquire if the areas are accessible to the general public*

- Photos by Hope Holmberg

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