Paleontological Society of Washington November seminar

The Paleontological Society of Washington

7:00 pm, Wednesday, November 15

National Museum of Natural History, Constitution Ave. entrance

An Amateur’s Collection of Corals from the North East DC Area

Christopher Hough

Member, Paleontological Society of Washington

From the Coastal Plain to the eastern edge of the Tectonic Plate(s) of Eastern North America, an amateur’s collection of marine invertebrate fossils tells an intriguing natural history that we all pass every day on our way to work. Taking advantage of the well –eroded stream beds of northeastern DC area and the foresight of the National Area Park and Planning Commission to preserve them as they are, I have collected a sampling of corals spanning the late Pre-Cambrian to the late Cretaceous. Though the collection is spotty from the perspective of diversity, it tells an interesting story of what went on during that time.

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. Parking is available in the west side parking lot of the NMNH.


PGS: W and L’s Conners on Alaskan tectonics

November 16th, 2017 Meeting
Willow Room, DoubleTree Hotel, Tysons Corner, Va.
Located at 1960 Chain Bridge Rd., McLean, VA 22102

Social: 6:00-7:00 PM O’Malley’s Pub
Dinner: 7:00- 8:15 PM Willow Room, 2nd floor DoubleTree Hotel
Presentation: Begins at 8:15 PM Willow Room, 2nd floor DoubleTree

Chris Conners, PhD
Washington and Lee University

Subsurface Expression of the Tectonic History of Arctic Alaska and Adjacent Beaufort and Chukchi Seas

If you wish to attend dinner ($30 members; $40 non-members), please inform us via email at . Or if you wish, please feel free to attend only the talk without dinner. Non-members and guests are always welcome. To obtain more details
about the meeting and society, please visit our website at:

UMD: Georgetown’s Johnson on “Life on Mars” (+ distant moons)

2017 Geology Colloquium Series at the University of Maryland, College Park
Friday, November 3rd 2017 at 3:00 pm
in PLS 1130
Sarah Johnson
Georgetown University
Searching for Life on Mars and Distant Moons
Advances in molecular biology have the potential to alter the way we look for life in solar system, from direct detections to a deeper understanding of how biology affects patterns of mineralization. This talk will discuss our ongoing research into biosignature detection, including work in planetary analog environments like Australian acid salt lakes and the Dry Valleys of Antarctica. It will explore how handheld sequencers are starting to change the way we do remote field work, and how one day they may transform biological observation of the most inaccessible places on Earth, just as remotely telemetered image data revolutionized our understanding of the planet at the dawn of the Space Age. The talk will conclude with possibilities for nanopore-based life detection, including a concept that harnesses the power of sequencing to fingerprint patterns of surface chemical complexity as signatures of life, regardless of whether that life is based on nucleic acids.

AEG: USGS’s Pratt on seismic shaking

Association of Environmental & Engineering Geologists

D.C. – Maryland – Virginia Chapter

Notice of Meeting

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Topic:                      Amplification of earthquake ground motions by Atlantic Coastal Plain sediments: Implications for Central and Eastern U.S. seismic hazards

Presenter:           Thomas Pratt, PhD
Research Geophysicist, U.S. Geological Survey

Damage in Washington, D.C., during the 2011 Mw5.8 Mineral, Va., earthquake was surprisingly high for an epicenter 130 km away, and “Did-You-Feel-It” felt reports suggest that ground motions in the city were amplified by Atlantic Coastal Plain and other unconsolidated deposits. We measure this potential ground amplification relative to bedrock sites in the city using teleseismic and regional earthquake signals recorded on a temporary seismometer array. The resulting spectral ratios show amplification in the 0.7 to 4 Hz frequency range, which overlaps resonant frequencies of buildings in the city as inferred from their heights, suggesting amplification at frequencies to which many buildings are vulnerable to damage. The 2011 earthquake thus emphasizes the importance of local ground motion amplification in stable continental regions, where low attenuation extends shaking levels over wide areas and unconsolidated, shallow deposits on crystalline or igneous bedrock can create strong contrasts in near-surface material properties. Thicker Atlantic Coastal Plain and Mississippi Embayment strata throughout the central and eastern U.S. produce strong fundamental resonance peaks in the 0.2 to 4 Hz frequency range on spectral ratios computed from crustal-scale seismic experiments. These spectral ratios can be converted from frequency to depth, resulting in depth-converted spectral ratios across the array that produce an image of the strata causing the resonances. The data sets thus provide an average velocity function for the sedimentary sequence, the frequencies and amplitudes of the major resonance peaks, and a subsurface image of the major reflectors producing resonance peaks, and show that teleseismic signals can be used to characterize sedimentary strata in the upper km.

Dr. Thomas Pratt is a research geophysicist at the U.S. Geological Survey’s Geologic Hazards Science Center within the Earthquake Hazards program. His research interests are in seismic imaging of fault systems beneath the surface, computer modeling of geologic structures, studying the tectonic settings of active faults, and understanding ground motions during earthquakes. His past research has focused on active faults throughout the continental U.S. and Alaska, as well as Japan and Panama, and ground motion studies in the Pacific Northwest and the eastern U.S. Dr. Pratt was based in Seattle, WA, for twenty years but recently moved to Reston, VA, where the primary focus of his research is earthquake hazards in the Central and Eastern United States. Dr. Pratt serves as Editor-in-Chief of the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, which is one of the premier scientific journals for earthquake science. He received his bachelor’s degree in geology at Cornell University in 1980, and his master’s (1982) and doctorate (1986) degrees in geophysics at Virginia Tech.
Meeting Information

Date/Time:                                                       Location:

Thursday, October 19, 2017              Amphora Restaurant

5:00 PM to 7:30 PM                             377 Maple Ave W

Vienna, VA 22180

Cost (dinner and meeting):                        Agenda:

Members                    $40                    5:00-5:30 PM     Social & Check-in

Non-members           $45                         5:30-6:15 PM     Dinner

  Discounts Available:                                           6:15-6:30 PM     Section Announcements &

      Students save $20                                                                     Sponsor Presentation

Retirees save $10                                          6:30-7:30 PM     Presentation followed by Q&A

A special thank you to our meeting sponsor:

Roctest, the leading manufacturer of geotechnical and structural monitoring instrumentation, has been in operation since 1967. In 2006, Roctest acquired Smartec SA, of Switzerland, specializing in the development, production and distribution of structural health monitoring systems using fiber optic technology. FISO Technologies, also in the Roctest family, leads development and manufacturer of fiber optic systems specializing in the aerospace, industrial control, energy and health sectors. Roctest is represented worldwide by an established network of partners in 75 countries.

Roctest products use reliable technologies including vibrating wire and fiber optics. Our products are used in all phases of projects: planning, construction, operation and rehabilitation. Roctest offers custom solutions designed for non-standard requirements and specific needs such as training, installation and maintenance.

Roctest products are found in dams, tunnels, mines, bridges, cliffs, buildings, pipelines, energy plants and LNG. Roctest is the leading manufacturer and distributor of pressuremeters.

Roctest provides topnotch quality service and the highest level of competence and support.

AEG DMV Officers (2017-2019)

Chair:  Drew Thomas, CPG
ECS Mid-Atlantic, LLC
(703) 471-8400

Vice Chair:  Katelyn Foster, PG
GeoStructures, Inc.
(703) 987-4499

Treasurer:  John Garber
ECS Mid-Atlantic, LLC
(571) 237-5865

Secretary:  Cheryl Gannon, CPG
(703) 418-3276

UMD: Martin on Saturn’s moons

2017 University of Maryland Geology Colloquium Series

Friday, October 20th 2017 at 3:00 pm
in PLS 1130, UMD College Park

Emily Martin
Smithsonian Institution

Exploring the tectonic histories of Saturn’s ocean worlds: from deep time to now.

Observations of Enceladus’s tectonic structures suggest that Enceladus may have expereienced punctuated episodes of tectonic activity. Similar populations of fractures on Dione and Rhea may also preserve evidence of varied stress histories within the fracture patterns expressed on their surfaces. Similarities and differences of the preserved fracture histories on these will inform the complex tectonic histories and geologic activity on these ocean worlds.

UMD: Echeverría on Geology Careers

2017 Geology Colloquium Series

Friday, October 13th 2017 at 3:00 pm
in PLS 1130, University of Maryland – College Park

Lina Echeverría
Corning Incorporated (Vice President of Science and Technology, Retired); Innovation Leadership Consultant

The Unpredictable Arc of a Career In Geology

Upbeat after the completion of postdoctoral and academic research, it feels safe to assume that life will continue along a straight road not unlike those lived by professors and colleagues who have surrounded us for close to three decades. This is particularly so when the experiences—college, graduate, post doc and beyond—have brought exploration and discoveries and, with them, excitement. From Buddhist philosophy we learn that life is what happens when we are busy making plans—and our clear plans may have surprising turns. As unexpected doors open in our lives, that same curiosity and willingness to venture of our early career will lead us into new territories, allow for contributions, and recreate excitement in totally unknown fields. We just have to be prepared to be surprised. Illustrating this narrative, I will share my career and life experiences, the unexpected turns from spinifex komatiites to the world of research and in! tellectual property in corporate America, and on to understanding the creative drive of individuals and harnessing it to deliver technology innovations.

October 18 meeting of the Paleontological Society of Washington

The Paleontological Society of Washington

7:00 pm, Wednesday, October 18

National Museum of Natural History, Constitution Ave. entrance

The Oldest Ceratopsians (and the Origin of Horned Dinosaurs) from a Fabulous Jurassic Fauna in Western China

Catherine Forster, Professor of Biology, George Washington University

Since 2001, The George Washington University and the Institute for Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology have collaborated in expeditions to the Late Jurassic Shishugou Formation in Xinjiang Province, China. Field research there in the western reaches of the Gobi Desert can be extremely difficult due to high heat, wind storms, and occasional deluges, but it has also always been extremely productive. Through the years the expeditions have collected numerous new animals including crocodilians, turtles, lizards, cynodonts, and theropod, sauropod, and ornithischian dinosaurs. Notably, we have discovered the two earliest members of the Ceratopsia (horned dinosaurs), Yinlong and Hualianceratops. These discoveries show that the origin of this group extends well into the Jurassic, and morphology unique to these taxa strengthen the sister-group relationship between ceratopsians and pachycephalosaurs.

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.

October 2017 Flyer.docx