Category Archives: field trips

March 27, GSW meeting at Cosmos Club

This will be an IN-PERSON meeting only. Three excellent talks will be presented:

ISABELLE COZZARELLI (U.S. Geological Survey) – Evolution of geochemical process understanding gained from long-term investigations of the Bemidji, Minnesota, terrestrial crude oil spill

GEOFFREY GILLEAUDEAU (George Mason University) – Perspectives on Neoproterozoic continental weathering and ocean oxygenation and its effect on the evolving biosphere

BEN KLIGMAN (Smithsonian Institution) – Searching for the hidden origins of living tetrapods in Triassic equatorial Pangaea

Come at 7:30 PM to socialize and imbibe, the meeting begins at 8 PM, and ends by 10 PM. Speaker bios and talk abstracts are available here.

SAVE THE DATE: 2022 GSW Spring Fieldtrip, first announcement

Proterozoic and Paleozoic evolution of the Blue Ridge geologic province in northern Virginia

Bill Burton and Steve Schindler, USGS

Saturday, May 14

[Details will be provided at a future date]

Questions?  Contact Bill Burton at

(To download this announcement as a Word doc, click here: GSW fieldtrip 2022)

“Stories in Stone” Virtual Field Trip Announcement

The Geological Society of Washington is pleased to present a virtual field trip experience, “Stories in Stone” hosted by author David Williams on Wed. Aug 26 at 8:00 pm ET. An invitation with a link to the Zoom virtual meeting is included below.

We will start the virtual meeting at 7:30 pm to allow some time for social connections and setup, and the event will start at 8:00 pm ET. We hope you can join!

Stories in Stone – Most people do not think of looking for geology from the sidewalks they travel, but for the intrepid geologist any good rock can tell a fascinating story. On this virtual walk, which incorporates illustrations and photographs, you will explore a range of rocks equal to any assembled by plate tectonics, from 3.5-billion-year-old gneiss to 120,000 years old travertine; a fossil rich limestone that is the most commonly used building stone in the United States, and the granite that led to the construction of the first commercial railroad in America. In this tour of building stone in the U.S. and Italy, I will discuss history, transportation, and architecture to give you a new way to appreciate urban geology. Plus, you’ll even be able to “visit” a couple of quarries and see where the stone originates.

Bio: David B. Williams is an author, naturalist, and tour guide and author of Stories in Stone: Travels Through Urban Geology, which forms the basis for this talk. He is also the author of the award-winning book Too High and Too Steep: Reshaping Seattle’s Topography, which explores the unprecedented engineering projects that shaped Seattle during the early part of the twentieth century, as well as Seattle Walks: Discovering History and Nature in the City and Cairns: Messengers in Stone. Williams is a Curatorial Associate at the Burke Museum. His next book, Homewaters: A Human and Natural History of Puget Sound, will be published in Spring 2021.

Day and Time: Aug 26, 2020 07:30 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

To Attend: Please e-mail Daniel Doctor for the Zoom link to attend.

Upcoming field trip options for GSW members

Hi everyone,

I welcome your participation in a field trip I’m running Saturday, May 11, to Corridor H, West Virginia, for the “Royal Rockhounds” of Front Royal. Corridor H is a highway that cuts through the folded and faulted Paleozoic sedimentary rocks of the Valley & Ridge geological province. It’s an excellent place to see primary sedimentary structures, fossils, unconformities, contacts, and anticlines & synclines. If you’re available and interested, we’re going to meet up at 9am sharp at the McDonald’s + Exxon in Strasburg, VA on route 11, real close to I-81:,-78.3390373,180m/data=!3m1!1e3

This is not an official GSW trip, but it’s open to all. If you think you’re going to do this, please let me know (, so I know whether to look for you there on that morning. It’ll conclude mid-to-late afternoon.

Also, as mentioned at the last meeting, on June 1, Caitlin Chazen, Marla Morales, and I will be running a “field workshop” (a field trip about field trips) in Rock Creek Park, DC, using DC’s bedrock geology as a platform to discuss how geoscience instructors can most effectively run field trips. This trip is intended for geoscience educators at the high school, college, or university level. It’s free, and lunch is provided, but advance registration is required. More information is online at:

-Callan Bentley

GSW field trip postponed

Due to the recent rainy weather and a poor forecast this weekend, the GSW field trip to Catoctin Mountain has been postponed until next Saturday, June 9. Please pass the information along, and visit the field trip post (below) for further details and updates.

UPDATE: GSW Spring Field Trip

UPDATE: GSW Spring Field Trip



Due to poor weather forecast this weekend, the GSW Spring Field Trip to Catoctin Mountain has been POSTPONED  until Saturday, June 9, 2018.  Ann Wylie of the University of Maryland will lead the trip.

We will meet at 4810 Middlepoint Road, Myersville, MD at 10:00am. If there is no more parking space, please use the Sand Flats parking area, about 1 mile south off Gambrill Road, for overflow parking.

The field trip will extend from the Pre Cambrian Catoctin metabasalt, through the full section of the Loudon and Weverton Formations on Catoctin Mountain, MD. Here is a good overview of the rock units we’ll see on the trip.

The log house is located on the northwest corner of the intersection of Middlepoint and Tower Roads. (Some GPS devices place the house west of the intersection and on the wrong side of the street.) Here we will see the Loudon conglomerate, and the topographic expressions of the metabasalt-Loudon contact and the Loudon-Lower Weverton contact. The second stop is to a boulder field that marks the contact between the Lower and middle Weverton. At the third stop, we will park cars and walk about a mile along the crest of the easternmost ridge of Catoctin Mountain, where we will visit an old magnetite mine and observe an overturned fold revealing the synclinal structure of this ridge. Upper Weverton forms this ridge. We will return to the cars, and visit an overlook of the Frederick Valley close to the border fault. This is a great place to have a late lunch. A geologic map (draft) of the Catoctins which I have constructed will be provided for discussion. We expect the trip to conclude by early afternoon. There is a lot of walking, but the trail on the east ridge is fairly level after an initial gentle incline. The mine is only accessible by hiking. The boulder field is also a short walk along a trail.
Explore in advance using LiDAR and Google Earth (download the KMZ file from the link below, then just open it in Google Earth): (98 MB)

A direct link to the PDF of the Catoctin Furnace geologic quad is here:

Or, view a color version of the MD lidar in 3D just using a browser here (it’s the “MD elevations” layer near the bottom of the layer list), along with other layers, though the 1968 geologic map is not always geographically correct due to scale and other factors. (Thanks to Martin Schmidt for the link).