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  • December First Mondays Lecture Examines the Layer Cake Paradox
For Immediate Release
November 28, 2012

December First Mondays Lecture Examines the Layer Cake Paradox

Key Info

  • IPFW First Mondays series, Monday, December 3, noon to 1:15 p.m., Science Building, Room 168
  • Benjamin Dattilo slices into the layer cake paradox
  • Free and open to the public
December First Mondays Lecture Examines the Layer Cake Paradox Image 1
Assistant Professor of Geology Benjamin Dattilo Print-quality image

FORT WAYNE, Ind.—The College of Arts and Sciences at Indiana University–Purdue University Fort Wayne’s (IPFW’s) First Mondays lecture series for December is “The Layer Cake Paradox: How Did Patchy Environments Become Uniformly Layered Sediments in the Ancient Marine Deposits of Cincinnati?” It will be presented by Assistant Professor of Geology Benjamin Dattilo, Monday, December 3, from noon to 1:15 p.m. in the Science Building, Room 168.  

In explaining his lecture, Dattilo said, “A striking characteristic of modern environments is their variability: you cannot swim over the sea floor without seeing small patches. If modern environments are so variable, then the sedimentary record of past environments, otherwise called facies, should look like a pile of dirty laundry: random stacks of facies patches creating a facies mosaic.” However, Dattilo says what really happens is “…the sedimentary record often consists of neatly stacked sheet-like layers (beds) of rock only centimeters thick that can be traced for tens of kilometers in what is often described as layer-cake.”

He added, “The apparent disconnect between modern environments and the sedimentary record has long been a concern. The 450 million year old fossil-rich sediments of the Cincinnati region have been described both as a layer cake and a facies mosaic. This talk explores this conundrum, including the recent study on the origin of beds in these rocks that shows, paradoxically, that both descriptions are correct.”

First Mondays is a student-focused series sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences (COAS). Presentations feature COAS faculty discussing interesting aspects of their research in a relaxed atmosphere. The discussions allow IPFW students to delve into and learn about research areas often not covered in the classroom. The lectures are free and open to the public.

For more information on the series, go to the First Mondays website or contact Carl Drummond, dean of COAS, at 260-481-6160 or; for information on the lecture, contact Dattilo at 260-481-6250 or