Category Archives: Uncategorized

May meeting of the Paleontological Society of Washington

The Paleontological Society of Washington

7:00 pm, Wednesday, May 17

Q?rius theatre, National Museum of Natural History, Constitutional Ave. entrance

Fossil Dinoflagellate Cysts – A Tour of Applications for the 21st Century

Lucy E. Edwards

U.S. Geological Survey Reston, VA

Dinoflagellates are a fascinating group to study as fossils. This presentation will highlight recent applications and current advances in the study of the organism and, more importantly to PSW fans, its preserved fossils. Topics covered will include new twists on the old standbys: biostratigraphy, paleoecology, and taphonomy, followed by things like microbial preferences in cyst degradation, and what the ontogeny of cyst formation can tell us about extreme environments. Dinocyst humor will also be included.

Non-Smithsonian visitors will be escorted to the Q?rius theatre at 6:50 and 6:55 p.m. Society members will host the speaker for dinner at the Elephant & Castle (1201 Pennsylvania Ave.) prior to the meeting. Members may meet at the restaurant or inside the Constitutional Ave. entrance of the NMNH at 5:00 and walk to the restaurant as a group.

http://nmnh.typepad.com/paleontological_society

February 15 meeting of the Paleontological Society of Washington

The Paleontological Society of Washington

7:00 pm, Wednesday, February 15

National Museum of Natural History, Constitution Ave. entrance

The Natural History of Horses

Raymond L. Bernor

Professor, Department of Anatomy, Howard University College of Medicine

The Evolution of horses through the Cenozoic has drawn the attention of evolutionary biologists from the mid-19th century. A brief summary of this history is given as a background to the speakers own research on Old World Neogene equids through a number of field-based and museum based studies that span North America, Europe, Asia and Africa. Systematics, biogeography, paleoecology, paleodiet and functional anatomy of 3-toed and 1-toed horses are all themes presented in the talk.

Hippotherium primigenium Bernor et al., 1997

Non-Smithsonian visitors will be escorted from the Constitution Ave. entrance of the NMNH to the Q?rius auditorium at 6:50 and 6:55 p.m. Society members will host the speaker for dinner at the Elephant & Castle (1201 Pennsylvania Ave.) prior to the meeting. Members may meet at the restaurant or inside the Constitution Ave. entrance of the NMNH at 5:00 and walk to the restaurant as a group.

http://nmnh.typepad.com/paleontological_society

PSW seminar: Evolution of the butterflies

The Paleontological Society of Washington

7:00 pm, Wednesday, November 16

National Museum of Natural History, Constitution Ave. entrance

Evolution of moths and butterflies – the challenges of gathering reliable evidence from a poor fossil record

Maria Heikkila

Peter Buck Postdoctoral Fellow at the NMNH, Department of Paleobiology and Department of Entomology

A full understanding of the evolution of moths and butterflies (Lepidoptera) requires a robust time frame for the diversification events of the major lineages and the behavioral and structural novelties they exhibit. Fossils are essential in divergence time estimates, but lepidopterans are poorly represented in the fossil record. The known fossils have been minimally studied, many remain undescribed, and nearly all lack convincing assignments of systematic position. The aim of my work is to critically review the identifications of the important known fossil Lepidoptera.

Non-Smithsonian visitors will be escorted from the Constitution Ave. entrance of the NMNH to the Q?rius auditorium at 6:50 and 6:55 p.m. Society members will host the speaker for dinner at the Elephant & Castle (1201 Pennsylvania Ave.) prior to the meeting. Members may meet at the restaurant or inside the Constitution Ave. entrance of the NMNH at 5:00 and walk to the restaurant as a group.

http://nmnh.typepad.com/paleontological_society

Please post announcement

The Paleontological Society of Washington

7:00 pm, Wednesday, October 19

National Museum of Natural History, Constitution Ave. entrance

Evolution Comes to the Castle

Sandra Herbert

Professor Emerita of History at the University of Maryland Baltimore County

In 1859 Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species. In America, after consulting with the botanist Asa Gray at Harvard University, Joseph Henry, Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, came down on the side of the new theory. Henry’s support was consequential for American science since the most famous natural historian in the country at the time was Louis Agassiz, a fierce opponent of evolutionism. Complicating the situation for Henry at the Smithsonian was the fact that Agassiz was a member of the Smithsonian’s Board of Regents. This is a story focused on science in its relations to institutional politics and to the larger culture. Even the president, Abraham Lincoln, and the abolitionist leader Frederick Douglass, played parts as the evolution debate was taken up in 1860s Civil War America.

Please note that Dr. Herbert will have copies of her books Charles Darwin, Geologist, and Charles Darwin and the Question of Evolution available for purchase.

Non-Smithsonian visitors will be escorted from the Constitution Ave. entrance of the NMNH to the Cooper Reading Room at 6:50 and 6:55 p.m. Society members will host the speaker for dinner at the Elephant & Castle (1201 Pennsylvania Ave.) prior to the meeting. Members may meet at the restaurant or inside the Constitution Ave. entrance of the NMNH at 5:00 and walk to the restaurant as a group.

http://nmnh.typepad.com/paleontological_society

Geology of Alexandria, VA field trip

Geologic Field Trip – Alexandria, Virginia and Vicinity

 

Date: Monday, October 10, 2016, 9 AM – ?

Leader: Tony Fleming, author of the 2016 Geologic Atlas of Alexandria, VA (www.alexandriava.gov/89974)

Who: geologists, geotechnical engineers, building and planning staff, environmental professionals

Meeting Place: Ford Nature Center, 5750 Sanger Avenue, Alexandria, VA 22311

 

Alexandria features a strongly dissected fall line landscape with some of the most varied geology and topography in the Potomac Valley, ranging from complexly deformed crystalline bedrock of the Piedmont in the west to many steep, active hillsides developed on the eastward-thickening wedge of early Cretaceous Potomac Formation further east, along with a host of upland and lowland river terraces, debris fans, and associated hillside deposits. This trip will highlight a variety of geologic features and scientific problems of local and regional interest to geologists and geotechnical engineers working in the greater mid-Atlantic region.

 

Stops and topics featured on the trip include:

– Structure of the Paleozoic bedrock and the nature of the regionally significant erosional unconformity on the bedrock surface, which appears to have unusually high local relief at places in the City.

 

– The character, facies relations, deformation, hydrogeology, and geotechnical properties of the early Cretaceous Potomac Formation as seen at its updip end. The Potomac Formation is well exposed throughout the highlands in the western two thirds of the city and will be a major focus of the trip because of its geomorphic, hydrogeologic and geotechnical significance. We will see good examples of the informal members defined in the atlas, as well as the major aquifer system it hosts, and for which western Alexandria is part of the regional recharge area.

 

– Nature and evolution of the landscape from the late Tertiary through Recent. The City contains more and larger river terraces than most other parts of northern Virginia, including several widespread “upland” gravels whose ages remain poorly defined yet are of fundamental importance to our understanding of issues like seismic risk and incision history of the landscape;

 

– Tectonics, faults, and modern seismic hazards. Ample evidence indicates that comparatively young fault zones project into the City from both the north (DC/Rock Creek fault system) and the south (Stafford fault system), but defining and mapping their locations with a reasonable degree of precision in this heavily urbanized area is a real challenge. We will visit some of the localities where faults have been documented or are strongly suspected, and revisit subsurface data presented in the atlas for some of these “suspect” places.

———–

Alexandria contains all of these features within a compact area, which will greatly reduce travel time between stops and allow for maximum time in the field. In addition to illustrating the strata and features depicted in the city atlas, the intent of the trip is to stimulate lively discussion among this group of regional experts and professionals. I look forward to your participation.

 

Please contact the field trip leader (loneswantony@cs.com) if you plan to attend or have any questions, and feel free to forward this announcement to colleagues who may be interested in the outing.

Calcareous Nannofossils and Paleogene Hyperthermal Events of the Salisbury Embayment

The Paleontological Society of Washington

7:00 pm, Wednesday, April 20

National Museum of Natural History, Constitutional Ave. entrance

Calcareous Nannofossils and Paleogene Hyperthermal Events of the Salisbury Embayment

Jean Self-Trail

U.S. Geological Survey Reston, VA

Multiple extreme and rapid warming events, also called hyperthermals, occurred during the Late Paleocene and Early Eocene. Calcareous nannofossils (a type of marine algae), along with other microfossils, carbon isotopes, and lithology are used to document changes in ocean acidification and sedimentation during three of these events in the Salisbury Embayment. I will discuss ongoing research on the Pre-Onset Excursion (POE), the Paleocene Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) and present a “sneak peek” of preliminary research on the Eocene Thermal Maximum 3.

Non-Smithsonian visitors will be escorted to the Cooper Reading Room at 6:50 and 6:55 p.m. Society members will host the speaker for dinner at the Elephant & Castle (1201 Pennsylvania Ave.) prior to the meeting. Members may meet at the restaurant or inside the Constitutional Ave. entrance of the NMNH at 5:00 and walk to the restaurant as a group.

http://nmnh.typepad.com/paleontological_society

New posting for DCGeology blog

The Paleontological Society of Washington

7:00 pm, Wednesday, March 16

Q?rius theatre, National Museum of Natural History, Constitutional Ave. entrance

Fossil Dinoflagellate Cysts – A Tour of Applications for the 21st Century

Lucy E. Edwards

U.S. Geological Survey Reston, VA

Dinoflagellates are a fascinating group to study as fossils. This presentation will highlight recent applications and current advances in the study of the organism and, more importantly to PSW fans, its preserved fossils. Topics covered will include new twists on the old stand-bys: biostratigraphy, paleoecology, and taphonomy, followed by things like microbial preferences in cyst degradation, and what the ontogeny of cyst formation can tell us about extreme environments. Dinocyst humor will also be included.

Non-Smithsonian visitors will be escorted to the Q?rius theatre at 6:50 and 6:55 p.m. Society members will host the speaker for dinner at the Elephant & Castle (1201 Pennsylvania Ave.) prior to the meeting. Members may meet at the restaurant or inside the Constitutional Ave. entrance of the NMNH at 5:00 and walk to the restaurant as a group.

http://nmnh.typepad.com/paleontological_society