In Virginia, fossils are found mainly in the Coastal Plain, Valley and Ridge, and Appalachian Plateau provinces. Most Virginia fossils are of marine organisms. This indicates that large areas of the state have been periodically covered by seawater.
The student will investigate and understand that many aspects of the history and evolution of Earth and life can be inferred by studying rocks and fossils. Key concepts include a) traces and remains of ancient, often extinct, life are preserved by various means in many sedimentary rocks; b) superposition, cross-cutting relationships, index fossils, and radioactive decay are methods of dating bodies of rock; c) absolute and relative dating have different applications but can be used together to determine the age of rocks and structures; and d) rocks and fossils from many different geologic periods and epochs are found in Virginia.