May PSW meeting announcement

The Paleontological Society of Washington

Wednesday, May 20, 7:00 pm, in the Cooper room (E-207A), National Museum of Natural History, Constitutional Ave. entrance

Fossil Sea Cows (Mammalia: Sirenia) of Europe and the Mediterranean: Why So Depauperate?

Daryl Domning

Laboratory of Evolutionary Biology, Department of Anatomy, College of Medicine, Howard University, Washington D.C. 20059

Non-Smithsonian visitors will be escorted to the Cooper Room at 6:45 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.

Spring Symposium, AEG-BWH, April 18 (Saturday)

Geologists and friends:

AEG-BWH is sponsoring a Spring Symposium on Saturday April 18, 2015. The Symposium will this year be held at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA. The theme of the Symposium is: The many facets of engineering geology

Our goal is to gather together leaders and students in geo-science, geo-engineering, and related disciplines to discuss their experiences with innovative methods (applied or research) being used in today’s projects. Our hope is that, through such gatherings, the AEG community will continue to grow and better serve to protect property and the environment.

We have a full-day program (see below) and offer 5 PDH’s.

My goal is to make the conference a yearly event. I hope to make it an opportunity for those universities with geology departments with an engineering bent to showcase their achievements.

For those students who wish to just attend the symposium, the cost is nominal ($20). Scholarships are available. Students making a presentation will have a scholarship. Others may be supported when recommended by their department professors.

Professional registration is $70. Contact:

Patrick Hastings
Seismic Surveys, Inc.
604 Solarex Court # 105
Frederick, MD 21703
Phone: (301) 663-6630

Below is the current program.

S. J. Stokowski, PG
Chairman, AEG-BWH
cell: 508-259-3536


Presentation Schedule:

8:30 am Registration
9:00-9:10 am Welcome & Introductions
9:10-9:35 am Steve Stokowski, TEC Services, “History and Geology of Aggregate Supply to Washington, DC”
9:35-10:00 am April Kelly, James Madison U, “Earthquake Detection in Central Virginia Using a Dual Template and Autocorrelation Method”
10:00 am BREAK
10:15-10:40 am Stephen Lane, VA Highway Res. Council., Application of Petrography to Highways
10:40-11:05 am Aida Farough, VA Tech, “Evolution Of Physical Properties Of Ultramafic Rocks At High Pressures And Variable Temperatures: Implications To Fault Zones”
11:05-11:30 am Jeremy Butcher, James Madison U, “Sediment source for Smith Creek, Shenandoah County, VA”
11:30-12:40 pm Poster Session and LUNCH (sandwiches and soft drinks included)
12:40 pm-1:00 pm Dr. Steve Whitmeyer, James Madison U. “Visualizing the Geology of Virginia Appalachians”.
1:00-1:25 pm Skip Watts, Radford U, “Do You Need More Geo In Your Geotechnical? Lessons Learned From Hydrogeology and Slope Stability”
1:25-1:50 pm, Louie, Timothy, James Madison U, “The Origins Of Late Silurian Cherts In The Sandstone Member Of The Tonoloway Formation In Bath County, VA”
1:50-215 pm Matt Heller, VA DMME, “Surface Exposure Dating of Debris Deposits in the Valley and Ridge Province, Rockingham County, VA”
2:15 pm BREAK
2:15-2:40 pm Elliott Andelman, James Madison U, “Pangea Breakup Revisited: A New Web Interface For Student Inquiry”
2:40-3:05 pm Dave Fenster, Bechtel Power, “Using Multiple Investigative Methods to Reduce Uncertainty in Karst Characterization”
3:05 -4:00 pm Mineral Museum
Poster Session (Noon)
Aida Farough, VA Tech, “An Experimental Study On Evolution Of Fracture Permeability Of Ultramafic Rocks Undergoing Serpentinization At Hydrothermal Conditions”
Kent Weidlich, Dylan Dwyer*, and Skip Watts, Radford U, “Potential Auxiliary Water Sources For Mountain Lake, Giles County, VA”
Dylan Dwyer, David Imberg*, and Skip Watts, Radford U, “Effects Of Terrain Modification On Surface Water Runoff From The Blueberry Cottages Watershed At Mountain Lake, Giles County, VA”
*Poster presenter

GSW Spring Field Trip: Karst

The 2015 GSW Spring field trip is scheduled for Saturday, May 2, 2015 and will be a cross section through karst areas of the Mid-Atlantic Piedmont to the Great Valley. This trip will start by looking at the intersection between karst and society by examining sinkhole development in the Wakefield Marble near New Market, Maryland, and within the Cambro-Ordovician limestones of the Frederick Valley at Frederick, Maryland. Next, a commercial cave tour of Crystal Grottoes in Boonsboro, Maryland (if possible). Spring-fed tufa, travertine, and marl soil development will be seen at Fairplay, Maryland. Caves and solutional features will be seen along the bluffs of the Potomac River within the C&O Canal National Park at McMahon’s Mill. Finally, karst topography will be discussed in relation to the epic Civil War battle fought at Antietam National Battlefield. 
Trip participants should congregate at the McDonald’s located at the New Market exit 62 off of I-70 in Maryland.  The trip will begin at 9 am and end at Antietam National Battlefield at dusk. Parking is not an issue, so multiple vehicles are permitted. 

NOVA Annandale: Self-Trail on SEM’ing nannoplankton

Geology Seminar

You are invited to attend a geology seminar presented by Dr. Jean M. Self-Trail titled, “The Use of Technology in the Study of Extant and Fossil Coccolithophores (Nannofossils)” on the Annandale Campus.

Monday April 6th , from 11:45AM to 12:45PM in CA 302.


Calcareous nannoplankton are marine, unicellular, flagellate phytoplankton belonging to the phylum Haptophyta.  They are characterized by the possession of a cell wall covering (called a coccosphere) consisting of individual coccoliths made of CaCO3, which are readily preserved as fossils.  The fossil record of this group is continuous from their first appearance in the Late Triassic to the present day.    Through the use of modern technology such as scanning electron microscopes (SEM’s), mass spectrometers, imaging software such as Images, and micro-video techniques, the life cycle and living habits of these fossil and living plants can be used to determine a variety of past-climate variables.  This talk will focus on the role that imaging technology plays in tracking evolutionary changes in fossil lineages and how these changes are used to document extreme climate variability during hyperthermal events.

Speaker Bio:

Jean M. Self-Trail has worked as a Research Geologist for US Geological Survey since 2000; she is also an adjunct professor of Geology at Northern Virginia Community College since 2009. She received her PhD from the University of Nebraska in Geology. Her research topics are Paleocene/ Eocene climate and hyperthermal events, Cretaceous and Paleogene biostratigraphy of Coastal Plain sediments, Calcareous nanofossil taxonomy and taphonomy.

Climate Talk at Mt Pleasant Branch DC library tonight

This evening (Thursday, April 2) at 7 PM, NASA Scientist Walt Meier will give a talk on climate change at the Mount Pleasant Public Library in DC.  Dr. Meier will talk about the work NASA is doing in the polar regions and what their observations say about climate change.

If you plan on attending, please RSVP at the following site

The above site has walking directions from Columbia Heights Metro Station.  (Mount Pleasant Library is about 0.4 miles from the station.)  The address of the library is

Mount Pleasant Library

3160 16th St NW

Washington, DC 20010

The talk is organized by the DC Chapter of Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL). After the talk, they’ll describe the work of CCL on lobbying for a revenue-neutral carbon tax in Congress.  (I volunteer with CCL as part of the Silver Spring MD Chapter.)  For information on CCL, you can contact me or visit the CCL site

In particular, last year CCL commissioned REMI (Regional Economic Models Inc.) to do an economic impact study of its Carbon Fee & Dividend proposal (a revenue-neutral carbon tax where all the revenues go back to households).  They found that the proposal would cut carbon emissions significantly (by 33% in 10 years and 52% in 20 years compared to 1990 levels) and at the same time would be beneficial to the economy and for public health: It would create a net 2.1 million jobs in 10 years and 2.8 million jobs in 20 years, add a net $1.375 trillion to GDP over 20 years, and save an average of 11,000 lives a year due to reduced pollution.

More details about the REMI study (including links to download a 4-page summary and the full 121-page report) are at

NOVA Science Seminar: Nuclear energy

All Students, Staff and Faculty are cordially invited to a Science Seminar

Wednesday, March 25, 2015, CE Forum, Annandale Campus, NOVA

12 noon – 1pm

Title:  “Nuclear Matters: Can nuclear energy be the front line of defense against climate change?”

By: Dr. Shivaji Seth, Sc.D

11:30 – 11:55 a.m.  Light Refreshments and “Meet & Greet the Speaker” in the CE Forum

Abstract: The world is at a critical juncture, facing the dual challenges of providing sustainable, secure energy supply and reducing carbon emissions that impact our environment and climate.  In spite of its sustained contribution towards electricity production, nuclear technology remains underutilized and controversial.  Much of the public is uneasy about all matters nuclear, raising concerns about safety, cost, waste, and proliferation.  To what extent could renewable energy sources address energy demands?  Could and should nuclear energy play any greater role in meeting our challenges?  This presentation will provide a basis to think about these key questions, to understand key national and international developments, and perhaps, to see a path forward.

Dr. Seth has fifty years of well diversified experience in the nuclear engineering and safety field, which includes work in national research institutions, nuclear industry, and the government.  He served in senior advisory capacity for three U.S. government agencies for over twenty years.  Prior to his retirement in 2013, Dr. Seth was Senior Technical Advisor for Nuclear Safety at the Department of Energy for sixteen years, first at its largest nuclear site (Hanford in Washington State), and subsequently, at the Headquarters in Washington, District of Columbia.  Presently, he provides consulting and training in the nuclear field.

Dr. Seth has contributed extensively to the design, analysis, and safety of civilian nuclear reactors and defense nuclear facilities, including the development of regulatory safety standards.  He has authored numerous technical publications and papers at national and international conferences.  He is an emeritus member of the American Nuclear Society.  Dr. Seth earned his Master’s and Doctor’s degrees in nuclear engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Presented by the Science Seminar Committee, Math, Science & Engineering Division, and the Lyceum, Annandale Campus, NOVA.

New posting for DCGeology blog

The Paleontological Society of Washington

Wednesday, April 15, 7:00 pm, in the Cooper room (E-207A), National Museum of Natural History, Constitutional Ave. entrance

Out with the old, in with the new: How fast can terrestrial ecosystems recover from mass devastation?

– A journey 66 million years back in search of the Cretaceous–Paleogene boundary in the badlands of North Dakota

Antoine D. Bercovici

Department of Paleobiology, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian, Washington D.C. 20013

Non-Smithsonian visitors will be escorted to the Cooper Room at 6:45 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.