Navigating the Geology Wing banner

Navigating the UCMP Geology Wing
Using Buttons | Locality Maps
Using Stratigraphic Charts
Additional Information and Navigational Aids

Geology icon

Navigating the UCMP Geology Wing

The Geology Wing is quite large, and continually growing. It surveys the history of the Earth, focusing on changes in life through time and the locations where fossils have been found. In the latter case, we have often (but not always) emphasized the holdings of our own collections.

The primary means of touring the geology displays are the buttons and stratigraphic charts, and each of these is briefly discussed below.

Using Buttons

Information in the Geology Wing is organized so that you can explore either the stratigraphy, ancient life, field localities or tectonics associated with each period of time. Just click on the buttons to access additional information in these categories.

The set of four buttons will remain displayed across the top of the new page, allowing you to move "horizontally" between the topics in that time period. The header at the top of the page and a change in button color (the other three buttons turn grey) tell you which page you are currently visiting. To return to the introductory page for the time period you are exploring, click on its name, which is displayed in the header or title at the top of the page.

The same four buttons are used throughout the geology wing, and these are shown below:

Stratigraphy button Ancient Life button Localities button Tectonics button
The Stratigraphy button will link to a page with information about stratigraphy, deposition, nomenclature, and identification of member strata. Ancient Life will provide an overview of the major biological events, including origin and extinction of important groups. The Localities button provides information about particular fossils and the localities from which they come. (See Locality Maps, below) Tectonics will detail continental movements, changes in global ocean and atmospheric cirulation, and resulting changes in global climate.

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Locality Maps

Using the Localities button will link you to a page with a world map (such as the one in miniature below) which shows the locations of some sample sites where important or notable fossils for that period have been found. You may read more about each locality by clicking on the star or site name on the map, and can return afterwards by clicking on the phrase "Localities of the . . ." in the header. Most locality pages have their own unique formatting, and many contain galleries of fossils from our collections.

sample map

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Using Stratigraphic Charts

Stratigraphic charts are the other key means of moving around in the geology hall. These appear at the bottom of each "Introductory" page and also on each "Stratigraphy" page. The charts show you the major stratigraphic subdivisions of the time period you are currently investigating, and are colored according to the coding scheme used for the international geologic time scale.

This chart from the Cenozoic page is an example of an Era chart, which will allow you to explore the periods and epochs into which the era is subdivided.

Move to different time periods that interest you by clicking on the period names in the chart.

Also, where the chart appears in the page, text displayed to its right will allow you to navigate to the preceding or following era.

This chart from the Cambrian page is an example of a Period chart; these do not normally link to pages about subdivisions of time. In general, we do not have exhibits for any time spans below the level of period or epoch, except within the Cenozoic pages.

Click on the black arrows at top and bottom to navigate forward and backward in time.

Also, where the chart appears in the page, text displayed to its right allows you to move back "up" to the era in which the period is included.

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Additional Information and Navigational Aids

The Geology Wing is color coded: each geologic era has uniform page backgrounds to help you keep track of "when" you are exploring. Hadean pages are black, Paleozoic are pink, Mesozoic are green, and so forth, as shown at left.

There are relevant links embedded in exhibit text to allow cross-referencing outside of the standard organizational structure. Text links lead to other special exhibits in the Phylogenetics Wing and other on-line exhibits as well as within the Geology Wing.

If you become lost, or if you have a particular destination in mind, you always have the option of using our Geologic Time Machine to quickly reach any point in the Geology Wing. The Geologic Time Machine is a comprehensive listing of all time periods with exhibits on our server. This is presented in table format with the periods listed in the order in which they appear on standard stratigraphic charts. This means that the youngest periods, or those which are closest to the present, are at the top of the chart. The periods are progressively older as you move down the chart. You may also make use of our Topic Index, which includes a complete alphabetical listing of all fossil localities discussed within our Geology Wing.

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