I'm Scott Elrick from the Illinois State Geological Survey, one of the researchers involved in the original discovery. Here's a little background:
* This current story is an extension of a story from a year ago. When the story broke, I popped onto Slashdot to answer questions - http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=232903&cid=18936603 (ignore the misspellings in those posts!)
* As a result of the publicity, I used some of the guts of my postings above to put together this webpage: http://www.isgs.uiuc.edu/research/coal/fossil-forest/fossil-forest.shtml I tried to make a 'general public' kind of site that covers most of the basics and posted all of the pictures we took.
* From the guts of the webpage, I put together a magazine article for 'Outdoor Illinois' on the discovery. Here's a PDF (direct link) of the article - http://www.isgs.uiuc.edu/research/coal/fossil-forest/Outdoor-IL-art.pdf
* By the end of the year we made it into the top 100 stories of 2007 in Discover magazine - http://discovermagazine.com/2008/jan/fossils-of-a-300-million-year-old-forest-found
* There should be an article coming out in Smithsonian magazine about the discovery in a few months time.
Now to the current news.
Our colleague Dr. Howard Falcon-Lang of the University of Bristol, UK is heading up a multi year research effort to examine the Desmoinesian - Missourian boundary in the Middle Penn. Howard, Bill DiMichele of the Smithsonian Institute, John Nelson and myself of the ISGS, Isabel MontaÃ±ez of UC Davis and Neil Tabor of SMU will all be collaborating to work out the paleobotanical, sedimentologic, CO2, and climate history of this large scale climate transition. Really this is more an announcement of further research than of results!
As flat as Illinois is, we do have a pretty good record of this transitional period Rocks in Illinois? Who knew!
p.s. I covered a fair amount of ground in my previous postings last year in terms of answering questions. I'll pop back later this evening and see if any more pop up though.