Fossils and Geologic Time Topics

Selected Virginia Fossils (Part 1)

Fossils can be found in many geologic provinces in Virginia, including: the Coastal Plain, the Mesozoic Basins, the Valley and Ridge, and the Appalachian Plateaus. Virginia also includes rare and unusual fossils in the Piedmont and in Saltville.

Coastal Plain

• In the Coastal Plain, fossils are found in Cretaceous and Cenozoic rocks.  Plants, invertebrates, and vertebrates can be found.

66.4 million years ago to present
144 to 66.4 million years ago

Tree Trunk
Fossil tree trunk (Photograph by Dave Hubbard)

Mollusks and Whale
Left: mollusks (photograph by Stan Johnson); right: whale vertebra (Photograph by Parvinder Sethi)

MapVirginia’s Coastal Plain includes diverse types of fossils.  The top photograph shows a Tertiary tree trunk.  The bottom left photograph shows mollusks from Surry County.  The bottom right photograph shows a whale vertebra from Westmoreland County. 

Mesozoic Basins

• In the Mesozoic Basins, Triassic and Jurassic fossils can be found.  These areas are famous for their dinosaur footprints.  Fish, insects, and plants fossils have also been found.  The below left photograph shows a footprint of Kyantipus minor, a dinosaur.  The below right photograph shows part of a fish that lived during the Mesozoic

245 to 66.4 million years ago
208 to 144 million years ago
245 to 208 million years ago

Dinosaur footprint and fish scales
Left: Dinosaur footprint (photograph by Stan Johnson); right: fish fossil (photograph by Gerald P. Wilkes)