2002 Denver Annual Meeting (October 27-30, 2002)

Paper No. 4
Presentation Time: 8:45 AM


SOUTHWORTH, Scott1, CHIRICO, Peter1, DENENNY, Danielle1 and TRIPLETT, James, (1)United States Geol Survey, Reston, VA 20192, Ssouthwo@usgs.gov

The U.S. Geological Survey has been conducting geologic mapping and GIS analysis in a number of parks in the National Capital Region (NCR) since 1995 in cooperation with the National Park Service. Studies are complete in Harpers Ferry and C&O Canal National Historical Parks, and at Great Falls Park, in the central Appalachian region of DC, MD, VA, and WVa, and are underway at Antietam, Monocacy, and Manassas Battlefields, Catoctin Mountain, George Washington Memorial Parkway, Prince William Forest Park, and Rock Creek Park. The parks provide a transect across the Great Valley-Blue Ridge-Piedmont-Coastal Plain physiographic provinces and provide an opportunity to contrast different settings and sections within a specific province. Detailed studies of the geologic framework of bedrock lithology, structure, surficial deposits, and landforms of each park provide windows into the unique physiography of the NCR. In addition to ongoing research on tectonic history, new 1:24,000-scale geologic maps and databases, and web-based interpretive products for educational outreach, we are working with biologists to develop the ecological framework in each park. For areas where vegetation has been mapped, we are conducting GIS analysis of topography, bedrock lithology, surficial materials, soils, and vegetation at a variety of scales to define the role of geology in the ecosystem. Since most of the parks in the NCR are cultural in origin, we emphasize the influence, that the physiographic setting, unique landscape, and contrasting ecology had on historical events. Past deforestation and development practices have modified the ecosystem as demonstrated by studies of historical topographic change in Washington, D.C.