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The Ordovician, like most periods, has traditionally been sub-divided into Early, Middle and Late epochs, and Lower, Middle and Upper Series, but in practice, this classification is of little use except for the application of broad general patterns.

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Within the context of the Phanerozoic Eon, geologists beginning in the late 1700's recognized that fossils appeared in an orderly fashion in stratigraphic units.

Moreover, these geologists recognized that the fossilized biota demonstrated rather large changes in overall composition and showed both similarities with, and differences from living taxonomic groups.

This diagram shows several key features which will be discussed in detail in other sections of this website.

However, for the purpose of introducing them, the most critical observations shown in the diagram are: 1) the presence of several (there are 3 major ones shown) disconformities in the rocks in this area as shown by the vertical striping.

Paleontologists have developed an equally well-defined chronostratigraphic framework for use in the cratonic rocks of North America.

Both relative dating systems are shown in the figure above so that the reader can be familiarized with the classification systems now employed globally for this period of time.

Using a variety of techniques and dating methods, geologists have been able to ascertain the age of the Earth, as well as major eras, periods, and epochs within Earth's history.

These dates are used to study, among other things, the tempo or rates of environmental and biologic change occurring on Earth.

The most recent publication dealing with the chronostratigraphic framework of the Trenton Group and its lateral equivalents for the New York State region was published in 2002 by Brett and Baird.

In their figure, as shown below, there are no specific absolute age restraints placed on the strata from the type section of the Trenton limestone.

This site will follow the North American Classification system, as Trenton Falls is one of the primary type sections for this dating system.

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