Monday, 28 December 2009

Field Geology in Pembrokeshire (Part 1)

There has been a problem with the new Pembrokeshire Part 1’ course arrangement to be run by Lifelong Learning at Cardiff University: some people have enquired to Cardiff about the course, only to be told that there is no such course available! It is available and the organisers in Cardiff need to know the level of interest in the course by the end of January.
People who express an interest will be informed in due course of when to pay the tuition fee (£85.00) to the University.

Contact at Cardiff to send expressions of interest: Dr Zbig Sobiesierski - email
Details - The Pembrokeshire landscape differs from much of Wales in that it is largely unmountainous, with extensive areas forming plateaux lying below 183m (600 ft). The landscape is nonetheless striking, with steep slopes and rocky outcrops a widespread feature; most of the highly attractive coast, designated a National Park, is cliff-lined. The county’s geology ranges in age from late Precambrian times to the end of the Carboniferous period (c. 650 – 300 million years ago), with some localized much younger deposits, including those from the recent Ice Ages. On this course you can learn how this part of the earth’s crust passed northwards from the southern hemisphere, across the equator to its present position; it was compressed, stretched and compressed again during enormous intercontinental plate collision and extension events.
These changes in geographic location and tectonic activity are recorded in the rocks, leaving a legacy of magma intrusions and volcanic eruptions, deep and shallow tropical seas, tropical river plains and swamps. This course will examine a number of key locations, mostly coastal, where these often fossiliferous rocks can be examined. Part 1 focuses on Precambrian, Cambrian and Ordovician rocks located mostly in the north of the county, and is divided into 2 weekends to maximize safe access on tidal beaches. No prior knowledge of geology or the county
will be assumed. A pre-course handout covering details of meeting points, safety, geoconservation and geology will be sent to those enrolled.
Dates: Saturday 12th, Sunday 13th; Saturday 26th, Sunday 27th June 2010.

Friday, 18 December 2009

Jurassic Coast Studies Centre

The Natural History Museum is joining together with the Field Studies Council, Jurassic Coast World Heritage Team and Lyme Regis Development Trust to offer a range of Natural Science Courses operating from the Town in February and March 2010.
This Pilot Project offers a unique programme of field based learning led by leading specialists in zoology, entomology, botany, mineralogy and palaeontology to individual students, special interest groups and to further professional career development.
This is the first time that the Natural History Museum's Science Directorates are working in this way and student places will be limited on this pilot for an innovative, internationally significant educational offer based on the unique universal value of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage
Site. The 2010 pilot project is the next step in establishing the Jurassic Coast Studies Centre

Yellowstone's plumbing exposed

Click here for details. The most detailed seismic images yet published of the plumbing that feeds the Yellowstone supervolcano shows a plume of hot and molten rock rising at an angle from the northwest at a depth of at least 410 miles, contradicting claims that there is no deep plume, only shallow hot rock moving like slowly boiling soup.
A related University of Utah study used gravity measurements to indicate the banana-shaped magma chamber of hot and molten rock a few miles beneath Yellowstone is 20 percent larger than previously believed, so a future cataclysmic eruption could be even larger than thought.

Friday, 11 December 2009

View a geological map of your area

The British Geological Survey has produced a wonderful new resource - Open Geoscience.
Click here to view the details.
To read about it on the BBC News, click here.

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Geology Courses

Dr. Nick Chidlaw writes "I was very pleased to be able to run most of my intended courses and field trips this autumn, despite the closure last summer of Lifelong Learning provision with the Department of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol; thanks are due to all those who were in a position to attend these courses on offer, and to a variety of local organizations including WEGA and Bath Geological Society for kindly agreeing to advertise the events to members. The venerable Geological Society of London has also shown concern over the end of Lifelong Learning at Bristol, and supports the efforts of former tutors who have decided to continue independently." 
Please click here to view the courses and trips Nick is proposing to run during the period January - June 2010 if there are enough takers to make them viable. If any of them are of interest to you, and you can attend, do get in touch and Nick will send you further information.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

18th Century Mineral Collection goes Online

After two years of hard work, the St. Aubyn mineral collection can now be viewed online with images of the specimens themselves. Since January 2008, Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery have been researching their St. Aubyn Collection of minerals and pressed plants after securing a grant from the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation. During that time, members of staff in the natural history department have uncovered lots of information about the life of Sir John St. Aubyn (1758-1839), and have carried out a variety of work on the collection, from cleaning the herbarium sheets to re-storing the mineral collection in an improved environment.  
Creating an online resource where the famous mineral collection can be viewed marks an important milestone in the culmination of the project. Alongside Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery‘s own mineral collection of St. Aubyn specimens; it is also possible to see minerals which were located in external collections from around the country during this project.  
The St. Aubyn project is due to complete in January 2010, when an exhibition on the life of Sir John begins its tour in the Royal Cornwall Museum, Truro.
For more information about the touring exhibition, please contact Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery on 01752 304774.

Wootton Bassett fossils

There is a new display cabinet of Wootton Bassett fossils in Wootton Bassett library. It is aimed at the casual visitor. All fossils (mostly bivalves and ammonites) are labelled with their binomial scientific description and  provenance. There is also some explanatory text and a geological cross-section through Wootton Bassett.
If you are in Wootton Bassett, do drop in and have a look. The display and research are by Richard Gosnell

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Fossilized embryos - Thursday December 3rd

'Fossilized embryos from the dawn of animal evolution'. This lecture will be given by Dr. John Cunningham from University of Bristol at 7.30p.m. on December 3rd at the BRLSI, 16 Queen Square, Bath.
The fossil record had been thought to provide no evidence of embryonic development in early animals. However, over the past decade or so, a series of exceptionally preserved animal embryos from Cambrian and Ediacaran rocks have been described. These provide our first direct evidence of embryology at the dawn of animal evolution.
Everyone is welcome to attend - members free, visitors £4.