New Mexico Geology Focuses on Crinoid Fossils of New Mexico, March 31, 2006

by Shawna Carter

SOCORRO, N.M., March 31, 2006 — The New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources recently published the February 2006 issue of the award-winning journal New Mexico Geology, which focuses its attention on crinoid fossils from the Pennsylvanian Period.

Crinoids, which are also known as “sea lilies” or “feather stars” depending on their structure, are echinoderm species known to use suspension methods of feeding, collecting small organisms from the passing ocean current. They have always been an abundant life form in deeper sea water; and, today, there are about 640 species of crinoids in our oceans.

The featured study in the current issue of New Mexico Geology describes more than 40 species of fossil crinoids from the Pennsylvanian Period, which was between 325 and 286 million years ago. Fifteen of these species were newly identified and named in New Mexico.

Based on the study’s findings and current knowledge of crinoids, the authors conclude that there were open seaway connections throughout the Pennsylvanian Period between the intermontane basins of New Mexico and midcontinent basins of Texas and Oklahoma.

New Mexico Geology is published quarterly by the New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources (NMBGMR), a research and service division of New Mexico Tech. A subscription to the award-winning journal costs $12 per year, or $22 for two years. Individual issues may be purchased at a cost of $3.50 each. For more information about this or any other NMBGMR publication, write to the Bureau Publication Office, New Mexico Tech, 801 Leroy Place, Socorro, NM 87801, or call (505) 835-5490, or visit the Bureau’s website at http://geoinfo.nmt.edu.