Fossil Plants and Marine Organisms Showcased in New Book

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Author Thomas McLoughlin’s "A Guide to Pennsylvanian (Carboniferous) Age Plant Fossils of Southwest Virginia" heightens the appreciation for the flora and fauna that once lived many years ago.

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This book clears up the misconception that certain plants appear to be the remains of animals such as snakes and fish.

“A Guide to Pennsylvanian (Carboniferous) Age Plant Fossils of Southwest Virginia” (published by Trafford Publishing) is a picture guide to fossil plants and a few fossil marine organisms found in close association with the coal measures in Southwestern Virginia. The fossils are sorted by groups and located as to coal seam horizon and geographic location. Short descriptions of each group of plant types are provided. This publication has been designed with the amateur (rock hound) in mind as well as a virtual guide for the more advanced collectors. There are 64 plates with more than 300 illustrations, most of which are in color.

Author Thomas McLoughlin realized that there have been no other publications on the fossil plants of the coal field of Southwestern Virginia. He was drawn to coal geology by the beauty and variety of plant fossils. As a geologist, he felt a certain obligation to take on the task of compiling a book that all other fossil enthusiasts could enjoy.

He has been collecting the fossils in Virginia for about 28 years. To identify these fossils, he began photographing them. It was very frustrating for McLoughlin trying to classify the fossils due to the fact that the information he needed (e.g. pictures) were scattered out in numerous reference books and articles. He even used the internet to get more information on his subject. It took a combination of all these resources as well as to consult with two paleobotonists and a paleontologist to complete his work.

“A Guide to Pennsylvanian (Carboniferous) Age Plant Fossils of Southwest Virginia” lists the locations (geographically, by map coordinates and by coal seam) and identifies Pennsylvanian age plant fossils. Also, described is the background for each plant group and comparisons with living plants. It also aims to heighten the appreciation for the plants that once lived many years ago. This book clears up the misconception that certain plants appear to be the remains of animals such as snakes and fish. It concentrates on just the plant fossils that can be found in Virginia as well as some of the marine type animals (fauna) associated with some of the coal seams.

A Guide to Pennsylvanian (Carboniferous) Age Plant Fossils of Southwest Virginia
By Thomas McLoughlin
Softcover | 8.5 x 11in | 140 pages | ISBN 9781490711928
E-Book | ISBN 9781490711935
Available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble

About the Author
Thomas McLoughlin earned his Bachelor of Science degree while attending Morehead State University at Morehead, Kentucky. In December of 1979, he completed his Master of Science thesis in geology at Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond, Kentucky. Then in June 1980, he joined the US Department of Labor Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA). He stayed with this agency as a geologist and coal-mine inspector for 28 years, collecting plant fossils in the coal mines and outcrops (road cuts) in Southwestern Virginia. For approximately 26 years, he taught introduction to geology courses at colleges in Cumberland, KY and Wise, Virginia. He started out in geology as a rock hound, collecting rocks, minerals, and fossils. By the end of high school, he decided to become a geologist and attended college. His parents insisted that he leave home because it was overtaken by his rock samples. During high school and college, he practiced lapidary work, making jewelry from minerals and rocks.

Trafford Publishing, an Author Solutions, LLC, author services imprint, was the first publisher in the world to offer an “on-demand publishing service,” and has led the independent publishing revolution since its establishment in 1995. Trafford was also one of the earliest publishers to utilize the Internet for selling books. More than 10,000 authors from over 120 countries have utilized Trafford’s experience for self publishing their books. For more information about Trafford Publishing, or to publish your book today, call 1-888-232-4444 or visit

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