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Charles Lapworth

Charles Lapworth was a 19th century English geologist. He was born September 20, 1842, at Faringdon, Berkshire, and died March 13, 1920. Trained as a teacher, he settled in the Scottish border region, where he investigated the previously little-known fossil fauna of the area. He married in 1869 and stayed in the area. Eventually, through patient mapping and innovative use of index fossil analysis, Lapworth showed that what was thought to be a thick sequence of Silurian rocks was in fact a much thinner series of rocks repeated by faulting and folding.

Eventually his controversial analysis was accepted ,and he slowly rose to become one of the leading geologists in the British Isles. He served as a professor at several colleges, and received numerous awards for his work. He is best known for pioneering faunal analysis of Silurian beds by means of index fossils, and his proposal (eventually adopted) that the beds between the Cambrian beds of North Wales and the Silurian beds of South Wales should be assigned to a new geological period -- the Ordovician. This proposal resolved a heated argument over the age of the strata in question.