Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Bluestones of Stonehenge

In February of this year, Dr Bevins from the National Museum of Wales gave a WEGA lecture on the 'Provenance of the Bluestones of Stonehenge'. In the talk Richard described how, by using petrographic and geochemical analysis, he had pinpointed the most likely source of some of the bluestones as being at Pont Saeson on the edge of the Preseli Mountains. This work has now been published, and a report headed 'Bluestones glacier Theory frozen out' appeared in The Times on Saturday 17 December.
Click here to read more.

Saturday, 17 December 2011

More on the Mendip volcano

You may like to read two geologists' replies to the scare story that fracking may cause an eruption of the Mendip Hills volcano.
Click here to read the first and here to read the second.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Wootton Bassett geology and fossils

Reminder to those who are new to the blog - there is a display of Wootton Bassett fossils in the public library of the town and there are geology display boards in the Museum. Sometimes the latter are hidden behind a projector screen, which the Museum staff will move for visitors.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Earth Heritage Magazine

There is a free online version of Earth Heritage, the geological and landscape conservation magazine.
You can now view and download the new issue of Earth Heritage, number 36 as well as being able to access past editions.
This is thoroughly recommended.

Monday, 12 December 2011

Subduction of undersea mountains

Amazing new images from the depths of the Pacific Ocean reveal one of Earth's most violent processes: the destruction of massive underwater mountains. They expose how tectonic action is dragging giant volcanoes into the ocean trench. The volcanoes are strung across several thousand kilometres of ocean floor and are moving westward on the Pacific tectonic plate at up to 6cm per year.
The extraordinary scene was captured along the Tonga Trench during a research expedition last summer. The trench is a highly active fault line running north from New Zealand towards Tonga and Samoa.

Horned dinosaur in the vaults

A new species of horned dinosaur known as Spinops sternbergorum has been discovered in the vaults of the Natural History Museum.
Read more

Sunday, 11 December 2011

New Bore Hole, Hot Bath Street, Bath

Wessex Water is drilling a new borehole into the thermal aquifer beneath the City of Bath. This is to provide a new supply of thermal water for the proposed Gainsborough Natural Thermae spa and hotel development. It will also supplement the supply of thermal water from other existing boreholes and help to safeguard the important spa facilities in Bath for the future.

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Urgent request for a Treasurer

Wiltshire Geology Group needs a Treasurer urgently.  It is one of the three key voluntary positions vital to our survival (as per our constitution)!
The job of Treasurer is to monitor the finances of the WGG, in liaison with the Secretary and Project Officer/manager.
Please contact Isobel Geddes for further information.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Two 1-day Indoor Courses - March 3rd & 4th 2012

Dr Nick Chidlaw is currently offering two 1-day courses on the same weekend in Thornbury next March, describing locations he has run field trips to in the past. These courses may be particularly interesting to those who are not able to visit these field areas, e.g. because of work/family commitments, or health problems. You can enrol on either, or both, courses.
Each course comprises powerpoint-based lectures, together with
examination of hand specimens of relevant mineral and rock types, and published geological maps of the field areas.    
Saturday 3rd March 10.00 am - 5.00 pm
This course defines tectonic terranes and looks at evidence for where two meet along the Highland Boundary Fault. We will follow the Fault between the Isle of Bute and Stonehaven, looking at the character of the two terranes, the nature of the boundary between them, evidence for when they were separated, and when they finally became joined.
Sunday 4th March. 10.00 am - 5.00 pm
The relatively inaccessible islands of Steep Holm and Flat Holm are located between Weston Super Mare and Cardiff. Composed of locally highly-deformed Carboniferous Limestone, and veined on Steep Holm with galena and baryte, exposures are widespread. The bedrock geology underlying the adjacent Bristol Channel will be described, indicating that the islands were once hills in a Triassic desert, and lay astride a deep ravine containing the River Severn 10,000 years ago.
Final deadline for receipt of tuition fees for both courses is 4th February.
For further details and to enrol, contact Nick Chidlaw

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

The Geological Society blog

Some of you may like to follow general geological news on this blog.

New Canary Island emerges from the sea

An undersea volcano erupting just south of Spain's Canary Islands may be the beginnings of a new island, or an extension to an existing one. For more than a month, the underwater volcano has been erupting three miles to the south of El Hierro, the smallest of the seven Canary Islands, about 50km (30 miles) south-west of its nearest neighbour, La Gomera, and 100km (60 miles) from the most populous of the islands - Tenerife. From about 60m below the sea, the so-called "submarine" volcano is spewing gases and burning lava, some of which is breaking the surface of the water.
Read more

December 13th - Jurassic Coast

Tuesday December 13 is the tenth anniversary of the Jurassic Coast being designated a World Heritage Site. Lyme Regis Museum marks the day, not only by opening free of charge but offering a free guided fossil walk to the first 30 who make a booking for that date. Museum director Mary Godwin said, ‘Lyme Regis Museum is at the heart of the Jurassic Coast and we feel a special affinity with it and the early scientists who hunted fossils here. Our museum building itself is on the site of Mary Anning’s birthplace. We hope everyone will come and see the magnificent Jurassic Coast fossils on display, and share some birthday cake!’

iGeology and William Smith

The recently released version 2 of iGeology includes a reproduction of the William Smith 1815 map. There is a 'fade-in' slider that allows you to change the transparency so you can compare William Smith's map with the BGS map. There is a brief biography of W. Smith and some other new features. These include improved descriptions of the units which include an indication of geological age (in million years) and period and the prevailing environment (which is based the Climate Through Time poster, though it doesn't actually say so in the app).

Monday, 5 December 2011

Iain Stewart - tomorrow

Prof Iain Stewart's talk on 'Seismic Faults and Sacred Sancturies' (Horstmann Lecture) will take place on 6th December at 19:30 in the school hall at Chew Valley School (BS40 8QB).
Note the school has a one-way access with the entrance by the B3114. Ample parking is available some 25 m on the left from the entrance. The entrance to the school hall is reached by following the path straight along from the entrance road, between the two buildings at the top right of school site.
The school hall has to be vacated by 21:00, so the normal post-talk wine and cheese will instead be available (for standard £1) prior to the meeting from 19:00.
Further details on the WEGA website

Sunday, 4 December 2011

January 7th - Chalk and Literature

Chalk and literature – Watership Down and the chalk ridge
A circular walk of about 2-3 miles to blow away the cobwebs after Christmas and New Year. A walk along the chalk escarpment. Includes art and music as well as literature! Part of the NWD AONB Chalk Links programme.
Good paths on mainly open access land.
Meeting point - car park on White Hill (B3051) SU516565
All welcome, no need to book, although if you have your own information about how the chalk has influenced the arts it would be good if you join in and tell us about it.
(Image from Watership Down Fan Club website)

Iceland Volcanic eruption - global impact?

Hundreds of metres under one of Iceland's largest glaciers there are signs of a looming volcanic eruption that could be one of the most powerful the country has seen in almost a century.
Mighty Katla, with its 10km (6.2 mile) crater, has the potential to cause catastrophic flooding as it melts the frozen surface of its caldera and sends billions of gallons of water surging through Iceland's east coast and into the Atlantic Ocean.
Click here for more information.