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Lecture — Geologic History of the Valley and Ridge


Seven Bends Lecture Series

No Rock Is Accidental: The Stories the Rocks of Virginia Tell 

Lynn Fichter, PhD

Sunday, April 23rd, 2pm

St. Paul’s Heritage Center
106 S. High Street
Edinburg Virginia  (see map below)

 The thing about geologic history is—that this modern-day spot where you now stand has never been this way before. At various times in the past Virginia was deep inside the bowls of a volcanic mountain, at another a tropical paradise, at another a deep, dark fetid basin, at another a river flowing down to an inland sea, until today, a grand old mountain range in its elder years; a history stretching back 1.1 billion years.

This talk explores the history beneath the landscape, from the Blue Ridge to the slopes of the Allegheny Front. It explores how rocks we can see just driving down the highway tell us how history unfolded. We use modern analogues from around the world to help imagine the many episodes of Virginia’s past.

About the Lecturer: Professor Fichter holds a PhD from University of Michigan and has been teaching geology and challenging students at James Madison University since 1974.   His courses include: Physical Geology, Historical Geology, Stratigraphy and Basin Analysis, Geological Evolution of North America, Invertebrate Paleontology, Vertebrate Paleontology, Evolution of the Brain and Intelligence, Geological Literature Research.
“I view myself as a geologist/paleontologist/evolutionary biologist with a primary interest in understanding evolutionary systems of all kinds, including the tectonic evolution of the earth, the evolution of rock systems, biological systems, and even social evolution. My approach is through chaos and complexity theory, and trying to understand information flow in open systems.”
Learn more about his work and geology in general at by visiting his website.

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