Geological Society of Washington
  Past Field Trips

GSW Spring 2009 Field Trip (Sunday, May 17th): The Potomac Gorge -- An Extraordinary Meeting Place of Geological and Biological Diversity
Click here for PDF announcement of this field trip, which was led by Tony Fleming, Natural Areas Geologist, and Gary Fleming, Vegetation Ecologist, VA Dept. of Conservation and Recreation

GSW Fall 2008 Field Trip: Tidewater Geomorphology at George Washington’s Birthplace National Monument, Westmoreland County, VA, will take place on Saturday, October 25, 2008 led by Wayne L. Newell (USGS), Ben DeJong (USGS), Adam Benthem (UVA), and Rijk Morawe (NPS).

Geologic mapping of the Colonial Beach, South 7.5’ Quadrangle sets the stage for interpreting the Pliocene, Pleistocene, and Holocene evolution of Coastal Plain upland sediment source areas, fluvial transport systems, and sediment storage on the landscape and in an enlarging small estuary environment.  Cores from Popes Creek estuary provide a history of Holocene sea level rise, changing small estuary dynamics, and legacy sediment from early agricultural practices.  Serial surveys of the modern Potomac River and Popes Creek coastal environment have captured the impact of recent large storm events (including Hurricane Isabelle).  Locally, the storm erosion–accomplished by tidal funnel processes in the Potomac during a single tidal cycle–is equal to the cumulative effects of 20 years of average erosion rates.   These results suggest that even small parks that are primarily focused on preserving history can be used as sites for long term monitoring of the effects of land use and climate change.

Meeting time and place:  The field trip met at the George Washington Birthplace National Monument Visitors’ Center.  (This is about 1 hour east of Fredericksburg, VA on Route 3.)  After orientation at the picnic ground at Duck Hall Point, they traveled across private property to Muses Landing on the Potomac, for a walk along the beach at the mouth of Popes Creek.  Walking is level, but due to a noon high tide some spots will be wet.  Insects, poison ivy, and sun should also be anticipated.  Lunch, snacks, and drinks are appropriate as are binoculars and camera.  A second beach walk at Bridges Creek Landing at the west end of the Park will be optional depending on the time, tide, and weather.  Both sites are within the park and fossil collecting is not permitted. 
Jim O'Connor Memorial Field Trip Guide: Building Stones and Geomorphology of Washington, DC. To honor Jim O'Connor's legacy, Norrie Robbins and Myrna Welter compiled this guide in 2001 from Jim's published field guides and unpublished notes of his many fieldtrips in and around Washington. A PDF version of the field trip guide is available by clicking here.

GSW Spring 2003 Field Trip Guide: Geomorphic Evolution of Great Falls and Mather Gorge
Last May, E-an Zen graciously agreed to lead a group in studying the geomorphic story behind the formation of Mather Gorge of the Potomac River, which terminates headward at Great Falls. A PDF version of the field trip guide is available by clicking here. Many thanks to Bill Minarik for putting the guide together from E-an's material!

Last updated: August 8, 2009