New Publication on the Devonian Features Significant Contributions from NYSM Geologist

Devonian of New York - Three Volume Publication


The Devonian Period occurred between 419.2 million and 358.9 million years ago. Devonian-age rocks in New York State have been utilized by geologists, paleontologists, and educators to study the development of life, understand geological processes, and teach about the history of the Earth. Covering 40 precent of the state, these rocks are considered the Devonian standard of North America and have been referred to and studied globally since the 1850s. 


Charles Ver Straeten
Charles Ver Straeten

Recently, NYSM Geologist Chuck Ver Straeten made significant contributions to the extensive three-volume set Devonian of New York. Published in the Bulletins of American Paleontology, each volume examines current scientific knowledge of Devonian Period geology and paleobiology in New York. In addition to serving as chief editor, Ver Straeten also authored and co-authored five of the twelve chapters, each highlighting specific aspects of New York’s Devonian history.

The most detailed study of these rocks and faunas is presented in a chapter by authors Carlton E. Brett et al. (2023) in Volume 2 in which they document the correlation of many distinct individual layers at very high resolution. Many of these layers are timelines, deposited at the same time across most of the state. Some of these layers, recognized regionally to globally, include evidence of four major mass extinctions. These extinctions are in part tied to climate changes during the Devonian and to interchanges of marine life from around the globe.

Most New York Devonian rocks were deposited in shallow seas that once covered much of New York and North America. The final chapter summarizes the history of sedimentary rocks deposited on land and in rivers and flood plains. These rocks are found in the Catskill Mountains region. They include the oldest known fossil forest in the world, ~ 385 million years old, found by New York State Museum staff in 2009.

All three volumes of Devonian of New York are intended to guide the next generations of Devonian researchers in New York and globally.

Learn more about the publication Devonian of New York here: