Fossilization Diorama

The fossilization diorama: marine organisms involved in the process become fossils. (Photo F. Padovan)

     In display case 48 a diorama showing how fossilization takes place in a marine setting has been arranged in a series of 4 stages:
1st stage: marine organisms that die are buried by silt. Those that are not completely destroyed are a very small part of all the animals living in the sea. As the silt continues to deposit it carries down the underlying material, including the fossils, compacting it all into rock.
2nd stage: folding in the earth’s crust begins to lift the land out of the sea. The sediment, now transformed into rock, is pushed up and marine fossilization is reduced to the point of disappearing when the land is finally above water.
3rd stage: the fossilized organisms are lifted with the rock even to high altitudes, as the movements in the earth’s crust form mountains.
4th stage: fossils emerge as the rocks are eroded – when rain, wind and other atmospheric agents break up the rock surface the fossils appear.