Fossils and Geologic Time Topics

Selected Virginia Fossils (Part 2)

Valley and Ridge

• The Valley and Ridge contains fossils from the Cambrian to the Mississippian.  Abundant invertebrates and some vertebrates can be found.  Excellent Mississippian plant fossils are present.

360 to 320 million years ago
570 to 505 million years ago

Brachiopods and Plants
Left: brachiopods (photograph by Parvinder Sethi); right: plant fossils (photograph by Phyllis Newbill)

MapCommon Valley and Ridge fossils include brachiopods, shown above left, and plant fossils, shown above right.  These brachiopods were found in Roanoke County.  These plant fossils were found in Pulaski County. 


Appalachian Plateaus

• The Appalachian Plateaus contain late Paleozoic fossils.  This area is famous for plant fossils in its coal beds. In the photographs below, scale trees (left) and ferns (right) are common fossils in the Appalachian Plateaus of southwestern Virginia.  These plants were common in the coal swamps that existed in this area in the late Paleozoic.      

570 to 245 million years ago

Scale tree and fern
Left: scale tree (photograph by Parvinder Sethi; right: fern (photograph by Stan Johnson)