Miocene-Pliocene shallow water marine fossils at Chippokes Plantation State Park, Virginia, USA

Deborah Painter (USA) On a cool, early December day in 2020, my friend David Hawk and I decided we simply had to search for fossils after not doing so for months, and also not be stopped by the chill or the coronavirus. Rather, we would prepare for both. We set off from Norfolk, Virginia USA and drove west to Smithfield, using our GPS to find Chippokes Plantation State Park in Surry County. We found the intersection of Business Route 258 and US Route 10 west of Smithfield, and followed the latter for approximately 22km, before turning right off US Route 10, Virginia to State Route 634. From this intersection, we travelled on 634 for a few kilometres, then right onto State Route 633, and then turned left, which took us back to State Route 634. We then had to climb a steep and winding road through a forested area. “This had better be worth it”, I grumbled, mostly to myself. After about 15 minutes, we reached the intersection with State Route 665 and saw the sign for Chippokes Plantation State Park. We paid our seven dollars daily parking fee at the entrance gate and we soon found the car park for the visitors centre. A family with young children arrived at about the same time and quickly took one of the trails. The car park was only about 40 or so meters from the edge of the bluff overlooking the James River, an estuarine tributary of the Chesapeake Bay. Here, … Read More

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