A burst of intense geological exploration and interpretation of the eastern Mississippi Embayment marked the first three decades of the 20th century. Bruce Wade, a Vanderbilt and Johns Hopkins-trained geologist, played a central role in the interpretation of the stratigraphy and paleontology of the Cretaceous deposits of West Tennessee. He discovered and described the perfectly preserved and extensive fauna of the Coon Creek fossil site, made detailed county stratigraphic studies, and is credited with discovering the first fossil insect preserved in amber reported from North America. Wade served in World War I and later worked in the oil industry in Mexico as an exploration geologist in the early 1920's. His promising career was cut short by a severe illness which left him confined in hospitals for the rest of his life. He died at the age of 84 in relative obscurity.

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