July 29, 2011

August 2011 Chapter Meeting and Guest Speaker

The next chapter meeting will be held on Tuesday, August 16 from 7-9 pm at the Fredericksburg Church of Christ (336 Riverside Drive, Fredericksburg, VA 22401).  The guest speaker will be Jerry Peters.

Jerry Peters is a Certified Master Naturalist and has been a member of the Fairfax chapter since it was chartered in 2007. He serves on the Training Committee and teaches the chapter's Basic Training course on Biogeography, Land Use, and Urban Ecosystems.

He is on the trail of what he believes are the oldest fossils in northern Virginia, slolithos, trace fossils of Cambrian tube worms. In the Potomac and James River watersheds these fossils can be found in what were originally riverine or near-shore deposits that are now stranded on ridge tops along the Fall Line. In his presentation, he will explain how these beach-dwelling worms came to rest on Piedmont ridges and he will show some examples.

To his knowledge, no one has determined whether these fossils occur in the York or Rappahannock watersheds. Jerry wants to encourage other Master Naturalist chapters in these watersheds to determine whether slolithos occurs there or not. Geogists at the U.S. Geological Survey are interested in the results because their presence or absence could be useful in interpreting the geologic history of the Mid-Atlantic region. The citizens' science project he will propose could advance the state of the art in regional geology.