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GEOS 28300: Principles of Stratigraphy

Selected information resources that are of particular interest in the study of stratigraphy

About This Guide

The resources listed in this guide are those most useful for research into topics in stratigraphy. For additional resources, please visit the Geophysical Sciences LibGuide.

Resources for Fieldwork in Geology

Geologic field trip guidebooks

These are an excellent resource for detailed geologic information relating to specific localities. Since the guidebooks are usually not commercially produced and may have had limited distribution, they are sometimes challenging to find.  Try the following for more information on field guidebooks

Geologic Guidebooks of North America Database  

Virtual Field Trip Guides : United States and Canada

Illinois Geological Survey field trip guidebooks for sale from ISGS  (Some guides are available as downloadable PDFs at no cost; check the ISGS searchable catalog of publications )

For less academically oriented resources, but still filled with interesting geological descriptions and data, two series are recommended:

Geology Underfoot

Roadside Geology


The University of Chicago Library has an extensive collection of geologic and topographic maps.  Maps sometimes are located within guidebooks and other books themselves, but the largest portion of these maps are located in the Map Collection in the Joseph Regenstein Library

In addition, the Library holds some collections of digital GIS data sets, as well as a workstation loaded with ArcGIS and ArcView software. Consult with staff in the Map Collection for guidance about finding data and using the software.

Field camps and other miscellany

While you should not depend on Google for serious academic research, it can be a very effective tool for locating some information.  Try searching "field camp geology" and you can located a number of web pages, including helpful hints for equipment and other preparation, as well as lists of literature resources.

A nice listing of web sites for North American field camps arranged by institution.

Stratigraphical Lexicons

grand canyon stratigraphyStratigraphic lexicons are compilations of rock unit names for particular geographic areas, usually including information on age and distribution, and sometimes including references to relevant literature.  International Commission on Stratigraphy guide provides guidelines for the creation of new rock unit names that are found in the literature and in the available lexicons.

Lexicon of Geologic Names of the United States....
This lexicon was created by various authors at the U.S. Geological Survey and was updated through new editions over the years.  The Lexicon was published as USGS Bulletin 1200 (Mansueto Library, QE75.A22) in print.  Some of these editions have been digitized from research library collections throughout the US and are available in the Hathi Trust catalog:

Recent version of the USGS National Geologic Lexicon (GeoLex) is available online, but is less carefully referenced and under limited editorial review.  You may want to compare the results from searching this lexicon with information you find in the earlier printed versions listed above.

Lexicons exist for countries and regions throughout the world, and are also often only available in print.   Some specific national lexicons are online (e.g., BGS Lexicon of Named Rock Units from the UK).  You can also find a list of other countries' online lexicons at List of online stratigraphic lexicons (Purdue U.)  Using a search engine (like Google) is also an effective means of locating online lexicons.  To see the variety of print lexicons in the Library's collection, click here for results from the catalog

The USGS revised its Geologic Time Scale in 2018 which provides a consistent nomenclatrure for divisions of geologic time.

USGS and Other Government Reports

The U.S. Geological Survey has been digitizing many of its historical collection of reports.   Digital versions of reports are available from the USGS Publications Warehouse.

Nearly all state geological surveys publish their recent reports online, and some have gone back to digitize older reports.  For a list of websites of the various US state geological surveys, go to the Association of American State Geologists page.  Look for a publications link or tab on the state geological survey site.

The Library also holds a large number of governmental reports in print and microform.  Contact or use the Ask a Librarian feature if you are having difficulty locating any particular report and we'll help you find it.

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Andrea Twiss-Brooks
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Geophysical Sciences

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