Cave Play

Wisconsin’s Watery Past

Before Wisconsin was filled with forests and farms, it was covered by a shallow sea! This sea was here over 400 million years ago during the Silurian period and was filled with some amazing plants and animals.

How do we know Wisconsin was covered by water?

Fossils!

A fossil is made when something that was once alive is quickly covered with soil or sand, then pressed and preserved over many years. Fossils are used by scientists to learn about Earth’s history, and we have them right here in Green Bay!

Search the rocks to find these fossils from the Silurian sea.

Algae

Algae

Stromatolites

Chain Coral

Chain Coral

Catenipora/Halysites

Brachiopod

Brachiopod

 Pentamerus oblongus

Brachiopod

Brachiopod

Fardenia subplana

Trilobite

Trilobite

Calymene celebrates

Wisconsin’s Watery Past

fun facts

The state fossil of Wisconsin is a type of Trilobite, scientific name: Calymene celebra. Trilobites were crab-like marine animals, similar to modern insects.

When fossils are formed, only the most durable pieces of the animals and plants become fossilized, like bones, shells, and teeth.

A great place to look for fossils in Wisconsin is in a gravel driveway! Gravel is regularly made of crushed limestone or dolostone rocks that often contain fossils.

If you dig down to solid rock in Brown, you’d reach rocks from the Ordovician period in the west, 444-448 million years old, or the Silurian Period in the east, 416-444 million years old.

Our oldest exposed rocks, found in the central and northern portions of the state, are 2.8 billion years old.

Central Wisconsin used to have mountains and volcanoes.

The Niagara Escarpment is formed of rocks that were originally limestone mud in the Silurian Sea.

An “escarpment” is a ridge that is steep on one side and slopes gradually on the other.

More than 240 rare, threatened, or endangered plants and animals live along the Niagara Escarpment.

The Niagara Escarpment spans from Lake Winnebago through Door County in Wisconsin (including eastern Brown County), then continues through the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, across Ontario, Canada, and on through the Niagara Falls in New York.

Additional Resources

 

El pasado acuoso de Wisconsin

Antes de que Wisconsin estuviera lleno de bosques y granjas, ¡estaba cubierto por un mar poco profundo! Este mar estuvo aquí hace más de 400 millones de años durante el período Silúrico y estaba lleno de plantas y animales increíbles.

¿Cómo sabemos que Wisconsin estaba cubierto por agua?

¡Los fósiles!

Un fósil se hace cuando algo que una vez estuvo vivo se cubre rápidamente con tierra o arena, luego se presiona y se conserva durante muchos años. Los científicos utilizan fósiles para aprender sobre la historia de la Tierra, ¡y los tenemos aquí en Green Bay!

Busca en las rocas para encontrar estos fósiles del mar Silúrico.

Algae

Algae

Stromatolites

Coral de Cadena

Coral de Cadena

Catenipora/Halysites

Braquiópodo

Braquiópodo

 Pentamerus oblongus

Braquiópodo

Braquiópodo

Fardenia subplana

Trilobite

Trilobite

Calymene celebrates

El pasado acuoso de Wisconsin

Datos curiosos

El fósil del estado de Wisconsin es un tipo de trilobite, el nombre científico: Calymene celebra. Los trilobites eran animales marinos parecidos a cangrejos, similares a los insectos modernos.​

Cuando se forman los fósiles, solo las piezas más duraderas de los animales y las plantas se fosilizan, como huesos, conchas y dientes.

¡Un gran lugar para buscar fósiles en Wisconsin es en un camino de entrada de grava! La grava está hecha regularmente de piedra caliza triturada o rocas dolostonas que a menudo contienen fósiles.

Si se excava hasta la roca sólida en el condado Brown, se alcanzarían rocas del período Ordovícico en el oeste, que tienen 444-448 millones de años, o el período Siluriano en el este, que tienen 416-444 millones de años.

Nuestras rocas expuestas más antiguas, encontradas en las partes central y norte del estado, tienen 2.800 millones de años.

La parte central de Wisconsin solía tener montañas y volcanes.

La escarpa del Niágara está formada por rocas que originalmente eran barro de piedra caliza en el mar Silúrico.

Una “escarpa” es una cresta que es empinada por un lado y se inclina gradualmente por el otro.

Más de 240 plantas y animales raros, amenazados o en peligro de extinción viven a lo largo de la escarpa del Niágara.

La escarpa del Niágara se extiende desde el lago Winnebago a través del condado Door en Wisconsin (incluido el este del condado Brown), luego continúa a través de la península superior de Michigan, a través de Ontario, Canadá, y a través de las Cataratas del Niágara en Nueva York.

Additional Resources

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