NOVA Science Seminar: Astrobiology

Friday, March 24, 2017

Ernst Center (CE Building), Forum

12:00 noon to 1:00 p.m.

Seemal Asghar, Maha Khalid, Luis Vallejo, and Nimra Viryam

Former NOVA Students who Studied under Dr. Muffarah Marr


“Astrobiology: The Origin, Evolution, Distribution, and Future of Life in the Universe”

11:30 a.m. to 11:55 a.m. – Meet and Greet and Light Refreshments in CE Forum

Presented by the Science Seminar Committee, of the Math, Science, and Engineering Division and the Annandale Campus Lyceum Committee

Abstract: Astrobiology is a cross-disciplinary subject involving understanding of biology, astronomy, geology, and chemistry. The underpinnings of the laws of physics as well as basic astronomy and planetary science lead the research toward an understanding of the origin, evolution and distribution of life in the Universe. A summary of the search for knowledge in astrobiology, annotated with findings from fossil searches, telescope examination, and interviews with iconic scientists, is presented.

Biography: The presenters are former NOVA students who were guided in their undergraduate research by Biology Adjunct Professor Dr. Muffarah Marr. They have each arranged to take time away from their current academic studies and professional commitments to present and share their undergraduate research experience with our NOVA academic community.

GSW 1518: seafloor, Titan, & granites

The 1518th meeting of the Geological Society of Washington will be on
Wednesday, March 29, 2017
featuring :

Jean-Arthur Olive, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory – Columbia University
“What’s shaping the seafloor?”

Carrie Anderson, NASA
“The Organic Inventory at Titan’s Poles Inferred from ~15 Years of Cassini Observations”

Mike Ackerman, Carnegie Institution for Science
“New Perspectives on an Age-old Question: How do Granites Form?”

AEG Environmental and Engineering Geology Symposium

Visit for all of the information regarding the symposium and other AEG-DMV events.

Third Annual Environmental and Engineering Geology Symposium

April 7th and 8th, 2017 at James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Virginia

Convened by the DC-Maryland-Virginia (DMV) Chapter and the JMU Student Chapter of the Association of Environmental and Engineering Geologists (AEG)

The third annual AEG-DMV spring environmental and engineering geology symposium will be held on the campus of JMU in Memorial Hall. The spring symposium was established to provide a forum for the exchange of ideas, allow for students to meet potential employers, and to further the fellowship that exists between geoscientists.  Last year’s symposium was attended by over 50 geo-professionals, academics, and students from five universities. Lasting personal and professional relationships were forged. The Symposium will consist of the traditional poster and oral presentations on Saturday and a half-day field trip is planned on Friday to observe and learn about a cut slope failures on Interstate-64 crossing the Blue Ridge.

Friday, April 7, 2017

12:00 to 5:00 pm– Half-day field trip.  The field trip will involve visiting the nearby Blue Ridge Mountains near where Interstate-64 crosses the mountain where a slope failed in the past and where historical debris flows can be observed in the nearby vicinity.  In addition, a planned stop will also visit an old railroad tunnel that crosses the Blue Ridge and is under the cut slope.  The tunnel is now being converted into a bike trail.  Dr. Scott Eaton and Dr. Yonathan Admassu will discuss the cut slope features and tunnel.  Dr. Steven Whitmeyer, a structural geologist will guide the group to several stops to explain the geology of the Blue Ridge Mountains.  Please note the field trip is limited to the first 30 participants that sign up.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

08:00 to 08:30 – Symposium registration and continental breakfast

08:30 to 12:00 – Oral presentations – Memorial Hall, Room 6110

12:00 to 1:00 – Lunch & Poster presentations   Mineral Museum open for viewing

(Lunch provided by the AEG-DMV and JMU Student Chapter)

1:00 to 3:00 – Oral presentations – Memorial Hall, Room 6110

Symposium attendance is open to anyone with an interest in environmental and engineering geology.  Fees are based on your standing within AEG and as detailed below:

  • Student                        $30
  • Member                      $75
  • Non-member              $90
  • Field Trip                     $45

Since overnight travel is likely for some attendees, AEG-DMV has made arrangements with the following hotels:

Holiday Inn Express                            $91 per night (two Queen beds)

3325 South Main Street                      $129 per night (King bed)

Harrisonburg, Virginia

(540) 433-9999                                   4.1 miles south of Memorial Hall


Hampton Inn                                       $134 per night (two Queen beds)

85 University Boulevard

Harrisonburg, Virginia                         2.8 miles east of Memorial Hall

(540) 432-1111

The Symposium will be held in Room 6110, Memorial Hall, located at 395 South High Street, Harrisonburg, VA 22801.  Parking is available near Memorial Hall, see attached map.

AEG-DMV and the JMU Student Chapter are excited to host this event and look forward to seeing you in Harrisonburg.  To register and pay via Paypal for the symposium, please log onto the AEG-DMV website (   Attendees can also pay by check at time of registration; however, please complete the event sign-up sheet at the bottom of this page, scan it, and return it to the AEG-DMV Spring Geology Symposium e-mail ( for head count purposes.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

General Directions to JMU Memorial Hall

From  I-81, get off at Exit 245 in Harrisonburg onto VA Rt. 253 / Port Republic Road – Maryland Avenue towards the west. After approximately 0.9 mile, turn right onto High Street.  Travel approximately 0.4 mile to the University parking lot on the left.

UMD Geology: Lewis (JHU) on Mars rover geology

2017 Geology Colloquium Series

Friday, February 24th 2017 at 3:00 pm
in PLS 1140

Kevin Lewis
Johns Hopkins University

Exploration of Gale Crater Mars with the Curiosity Mars Rover

The Curiosity Mars rover has been exploring its landing site at Gale crater since 2012. Over this time it has begun to climb the lower slopes of Mount Sharp, a 5 kilometer high mound of sedimentary rock located within the crater. In this talk, we will combine orbital and rover-based geological and geophysical tools to understand the formation of Mount Sharp, with potential implications for other crater-hosted mounds found commonly in the Martian equatorial region. The ultimate goal of this work, and one of the key objectives of the Curiosity mission, is to understand the climate information recorded in the strata of Mount sharp exposed along the rover traverse.

Save the date: 2017 VGFC in Charlottesville

Friday, Oct. 13 and Saturday, Oct. 14 – hosted by Piedmont Virginia Community College in Charlottesville

The year’s trip will focus on Precambrian geology in the Blue Ridge Anticlinorium, and will be led by Chuck Bailey, Megan Flansburg, and Tom Biggs. More information can be found on the VGFC website:

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.

GSW 1516: U.S. shale oil + climate change “alternate facts”

The 1516th meeting of the Geological Society of Washington will be on
Wednesday, February 22, 2017
featuring :

Paul Nadeau
University of Stavanger, Norway
“The US Shale Oil/Gas Revolution”

John Cook
George Mason University /
“Responding to alternative facts in a post-truth world”

30 minutes each

Refreshments at 7:30 PM; Formal program at 8:00 PM
John Wesley Powell Auditorium, 2170 Florida Avenue NW, Washington, DC