Virginia is for Lavas- The Catoctin Formation


Many of the highest peaks in Shenandoah National Park (including Hawksbill, Stony Man, and Hightop Mountain, just to name a few) are underlain by distinctive bluish-green rocks that were once ancient lava flows (Virginia is for Lavas!), and are part of a geologic unit known as the Catoctin Formation.  From the presidential retreat at Camp David to Jefferson’s […]

Virginia’s State Rock: Nelsonite


On July 1, 2016, Governor Terry McCauliffe signed a bill into law that made nelsonite the first official state rock of Virginia. The initiative for this project was led by students from Piedmont Virginia Community College.  Michelle Stanislaus and her classmates from their Historical Geology class and Government class ran the petition for this law starting […]

At the Pluton’s Edge

pluton contact

When large quantities of magma intrude and solidify in the Earth’s crust they form bodies of intrusive igneous rock known as plutons. The featured image nicely illustrates the edge (geologic contact) of a granitic pluton in the Blue Ridge Mountains of central Virginia. The granite is part of the 706 ± 4 million year old […]