Friday, 26 August 2011

September 1st - Pleistocene Geology and Palaeolithic Archaeology

Professor Tony Brown and/or Dr. Laura Basell from the Palaeoenvironmental Laboratory of the University of Southampton will present the lecture 'New Research on the Pleistocene Geology and Palaeolithic Archaeology of SW England'.
The talk, hosted by the Bath Geological Society, will be held at the BRLSI, 16 Queen Square, Bath at 7.30 p.m. on Thursday September 1st.
Everyone is welcome - free to members - visitors £4.
Free refreshments at the end of the lecture.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

More on Etheldred Benett

A reader has sent the following information:-
"You might be interested to know that there is a copy of Etheldred Benett's book in Bristol City Museum's Geology Department. It was given by her to the Bristol Institution -in fact, she gave it twice as the first one went missing from the stagecoach from Warminster to Bristol! In the same year (1831) she gave the Institution a selection of fossils from around Warminster; the Museum may still have some of these, but they can't now be identified."

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Rare book - Etheldred Benett

Thought by many to be the first woman geologist, Etheldred Benett (1776-1845) was a keen collector of fossils, assembling in the years 1810-13, an extensive collection from a large range of sites within Wiltshire. Her publication 'Catalogue of the Organic Remains of the County of Wiltshire' with drawings by E.D. Smith, illustrates the vast number and extreme variety of fossils she discovered. The book is housed at The Geological Society in London.
If the life of Etheldred Benett interests you, then the book 'The Role of Women in the History of Geology' by Burek, C.V. and Higgs, B (eds) is recommended. It is Geological Society Special Publication 281 (2007).

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Safety kit and clothing

All geologists' safety kit and clothing (including steel toe boots) can be ordered from the websites of either Screwfix or UKGE.  The HSE recommend that plastic polymer hardhats should be replaced every fifth year (on British standard models; the date of manufacture is impressed under the peak).
This comment was sent as a result of the post about Field Geology in South Wales.

Tidy-up at Tedbury Camp

A small group of volunteers did some clearance work at Tedbury Camp yesterday. The before and after photos above show you part of the results on the dip section in the Carboniferous Limestone on the east side. Work continues today. This site is definitely worth a visit.
The best parking spot is at Fordbury Bottom (ST 749.492) near Little Elm, west of Frome. For more details see the website.

Monday, 8 August 2011

Field Geology and Opencast Mining of Coal, South Wales

Two consecutive weekends: 
Saturday 15th, Sunday 16th, 
Saturday 22nd, Sunday 23rd October 2011
led by Dr. Nicholas Chidlaw

 Key locations include Celtic Energy opencasts East Pit (near Brynamman) on 1st weekend, and Selar (near Hirwaun, N end of Neath Valley) on 2nd weekend.  A full day in each opencast site is arranged if the course runs. The other 2 days of the course will be located at natural exposures (river sections, cliffs) / cuttings and disused quarry sections.
For further information see website All enrolments are via the University of Cardiff.
Note: this course is accredited, involving attendees agreeing to take an assessment (not onerous!) of their learning.

Highlights of the course include:
-Appreciation of the Late Carboniferous Coal Measures strata from base to top: South Wales Coal Measures Group, and overlying Warwickshire Group (Pennant Sandstone Formation and Grovesend Formation).
- Appreciation of changing environments through time: equatorial freshwater deltas, lakes and peat mires with occasional marine influxes, through dominantly river channels, to 'red bed' lake deposition under a drier climate;
- Coal seams (anthracite and semi-anthracite) up to c. 2m thick;
- Very extensive exposures (opencasts) not otherwise available in the area, of coal-bearing strata and their deformation developed at the end of the Carboniferous period (Variscan Orogeny);
- Overview of modern coal mining on a national and local level;
- Opencasting: a key economic method of coal extraction in UK today. Scale of operations, technology used, transportation, processing, markets, associated social and environmental issues, site restoration and aftercare, future, will also be discussed.  
Note: everyone will need - hard hat (can be borrowed), High Vis waistcoat/jacket, safety glasses, steel toe-capped boots/wellingtons.  The High Vis and safety glasses can be bought cheaply in DIY stores. Safety boots can also be bought at the latter. Ideally, you will have such boots already or can borrow them. If buying a pair, they would be a useful investment for any future field trips and courses you attend. 

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Geoconservation for science and society

The Geologists' Association Conference, 'Geoconservation for science and society: an agenda for the 21st Century' is now only a month away.  In the current economic climate and with the geological community arguing that geoconservation is an important and worthwhile activity that people care about and which government should support, it is an important time to be seen to be supporting geoconservation ourselves.
We have extended the deadline for registration to August 31st; it would be helpful if you are wishing to attend, that you register as soon as possible.   We now have the facility to take payments over the phone - 020 7434 9298.  

New Bath map available now

Sheet 265 Bath Bedrock and Superficial (flat and  folded) maps are now available from BGS. They are £12 each

Friday, 5 August 2011

Bath GS - Change of lecture programme

Please note that the Bath Geological Society lecture programme has changed. The previously advertised September lecture will now be given in November and vice versa.
In September Professor Tony Brown and Dr. Laura Basel, University of Southampton will talk about 'New Research on the Pleistocene Geology and Palaeolithic Archaeology of SW England'.

The SW of England is sometimes seen as at the ‘edge of the edge of’ the Palaeolithic world. However, work over the last ten years has increasingly shown this not to be the case. Apart from the well known sites such as Kent’s Cavern and the Mendip caves, open air sites along the river valleys of SW England have, and continue, to produce evidence of a long human record of occupation despite a much lower level of sand and gravel extraction than in SE England, the Midlands or East Anglia. This talk will describe this record with an emphasis on current work in the River Axe in Dorset, along with new techniques which are improving both our recording and dating of these geoarchaeological sites.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Some interesting websites

Ask a Geologist
Ever wondered why so many of the southern continents point south?  Dug up something odd in the garden? Ever thought that acid rain might be speeding up erosion? What is the oldest thing in the world? Can a crystal cure your bunion?
If questions like this keep buzzing around in your head, "Ask a Geologist" could be just the service for you.

Virtual microscopes at the Open University - there are many thin sections available to view shown in PPL (plane polarised light) and XPL (crossed polars). The image above shows a garnet mica schist in XPL.

Earth Day Pictures - 20 stunning shots of Earth from space. The image shows Lake Natron in Tanzania, reputed to be the world's most caustic body of water, and yet the tilapia fish manage to survive.