Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Recent Italian earthquakes

A strong earthquake rocked northeastern Italy on 29th May 2012, killing at least 15 people, just days after another quake in the same region. The region was struck between 1056 GMT and 1101 GMT by three tremors of between 5.1 and over 5.3 magnitude, following a 5.8 magnitude quake just after 0700 GMT when people were heading into work.
The first quake struck about 60 kilometres east of Parma, according to the Geographical Institute of Modena, and sent panicked residents rushing into the streets in quake-struck cities, including Pisa and Venice.
Yesterday's quakes followed a 6.0 magnitude quake in the industrial northeast on May 20th which killed six people and left thousands in makeshift tent dwellings, with many homes and historic buildings reduced to rubble.

Rock balancing

Read more about Adrian Gray and his balancing rocks on Lyme Regis beach.

Monday, 28 May 2012

June dates for your diaries

Thursday June 7th - Violent birth of the Earth and the source of precious metals, Dr. Matthias Willbold, University of Bristol - Bath Geological Society

Saturday 16th June - Chalk Landscapes and Archaeology on the Pewsey Downs above Alton Barnes, Isobel Geddes - Wiltshire Geology Group

Saturday 30th June - Stowey Quarry, Simon Carpenter  -  Bristol Naturalists' - Geology

If any groups wish to add to this list, please make a comment on this post and I will include the event here

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

May 26th

Bath Geological Society - Stourhead geology and its influence on the gardens and buildings 10.30a.m. - 1.00p.m.
Further details on the website

Bristol Naturalists' Geology - Liassic rocks near East Quantoxhead and Kilve
Further details on the website.

Stowey Quarry - 30th June

Leader: Simon Carpenter
2.00pm, Saturday 30 June
Stowey Quarry offers one of the best inland exposures of Upper Triassic and Lower Jurassic rocks in the Bristol district. The quarrying of rock has ceased and the site is now managed as a landfill site.  Simon has spent considerable time at this site collecting fossils and will be bringing some of these along for others to see. Simon will be on hand to explain the geology but sees the trip primarily as an opportunity to collect the many invertebrate and vertebrate fossils that abound at the site.  Hard hats, stout footwear and eye protection are essential for this quarry visit.
Directions: coming from Bristol on the A37 south of Pensford right turn (third exit) at the Chelwood roundabout onto the A368 for Bishop Sutton and Weston-super-Mare. Follow A368 for approximately two miles then turn left for Stowey. Continue past the Church, up the hill and then turn right at the next junction towards White Cross. The entrance to the
quarry is a short distance on your right. Parking is on the road verge near the quarry entrance. Car sharing would be helpful. Simon's mobile number on the day is 07849622823. For other queries please contact Section Secretary - Richard Ashley 01934 838850.

Monday, 21 May 2012

Explore the geology of Cumbria?

…….. and stay in a small conservation village called Torpenhow in the Northern Fells of the Lake District…..away from the crowds!
We have B&B and self-catering accommodation in a property called The Homestead, built in 1812. We welcome walkers and cyclists (we have secure cycle storage)…..and if you want to spend some time looking at aspects of local and county-wide geology…… this is an ideal base from which to explore.
Visitors can  make use of our ‘library’ of books, maps, leaflets on Cumbrian and North Pennines geowalks, and past proceedings of the Cumberland Geological Society. There is also a free copying facility at The Homestead so you can be prepared with background information before you venture forth! And if your clothes get wet…we have a drying cupboard!
We even have a collection of rocks and minerals to help you to identify any specimens you may find on your days out. And at nearby Keswick is the excellent Keswick Mining Museum where
Ian Tyler, the museum owner and author of 12 books on mines
and quarries in the county, will be pleased to share his knowledge with you.
Please request our brochure:
  * Call: 01697371030 or Text: 0755 497 1570           
  * email
…..and ask for our competitive rates…but remember to tell us of your society membership as this will entitle you to a  discount, and (if you stay for 5+ nights) a free copy of: ‘Explaining Lakeland Rocks and Landscape’….the 2008 award-winning book of 17 geology walks by members of the Cumberland Geological Society!
We look forward to hearing from you!

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Appeal from the Western Region GS

The Western Regional Group is on the lookout for new committee members to strengthen our numbers and to provide fresh ideas for our events.
The Regional groups of the The Geological Society are all run by volunteers during their spare time, so the more committee members we have, from a wide a range of geological backgrounds as possible, means that we can provide you with a better programme of lectures, fields trips and conferences etc.
It’s not too time consuming – we tend to have an informal catch up after most of our evening lectures, but there’s no obligation to attend every event.  If you are interested in finding our more, please have a chat with any of the committee members - names and email addresses on the website.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Bradford on Avon fossils

The image above shows a wooden card holding invertebrate fossil specimens collected by Etheldred Benett, including some she found at Bradford-upon Avon. Miss Benett, often referred to as the world’s first female earth scientist, was never a member of the Academy, but it acquired some of her collection after her death in 1845.
The image is from 'A Passion for Nature'; a selection of photographs from the book "A Glorious Enterprise: The Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia and the Making of American Science." The image is seventh in the slide show.

Response from the former curator of the Bristol collections:-
The Ethedred Benett specimens came to the Philadelphia Academy of Natural Sciences as the result of a buying trip by Dr Thomas Bellerby Wilson in 1845, in the course of which Henry Rome Stutchbury, temporary Curator,  sold him some of the Bristol Institution's "duplicates", including some from Benett, Samuel Worsley of Bristol and the Rev John Skinner of Camerton (Coal Measures plants from Camerton Colliery). Benett had given the Institution some specimens of Apiocrinites rotundus in 1841 and it already possessed plenty of specimens from other people, such as J.S. Miller and from Bradford on Avon surgeon  William Fifield Adye (a good collection purchased in 1829).
Wilson donated his purchases to the Academy two years later, presumably when he returned to America.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Amazing technology!

Video of a sandbox equipped with a Kinect 3D camera and a projector to project a real-time colored topographic map with contour lines onto the sand surface. The sandbox lets virtual water flow over the surface.
Find out more.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

19th May - Geological wander around Failand

Saturday, 19th May 10am-5pm. Cost £20
Many people will be familiar with the Failand Ridge, even though they may not live nearby! It is the prominent wooded ridge to the left (east) as you drive south along the M5 past Gordano Services after crossing the Avon bridge, and whose continuation you drive up and over on the split-level section of the motorway with the large limestone cliff on the left. Travelling northeast, the same ridge forms both sides of the Avon Gorge, where it is cut through by that river. Geologically, it forms the southern limb of the Westbury (-on-Trym) Anticline, a limb much broken by thrust faults formed at the same time as the folding. The overlying Coal Measures, to the south, and the underlying Lower Old Red Sandstone to the north, were both much less resistant to erosion than the Upper Old Red Sandstone and Carboniferous Limestone which make up the ridge and were quickly worn down following folding at the end of the Carboniferous period (about 300 Ma). These lowland areas became the focus for deposition during the Triassic period of hot deserts, before complete burial of the whole landscape by Jurassic and Cretaceous rocks. The modern landscape is essentially much the same as the Triassic one, now exhumed from beneath the eroded Mesozoic cover.
To enrol, contact Dave Green, via  the  Geostudies website, preferably before this Saturday (12th May), to ensure the course runs. He will then contact you with details of meeting point and itinerary for the day.

15th May - Collection and Management of Environmental Monitoring Data

The Western Regional Group would like to invite you to our May talk, 'A Statistical Long Term Approach to the Collection and Management of Environmental Monitoring Data', to be held on the 15th May 2012.  This talk will be presented by Kevin Wilson of CEMEX.
The importance of the environment has led to increasing amounts of legislation around the world, particularly in Europe.  This legislation impacts on business in many ways but for the quarrying and waste management sector a significant part of this impact is through Environmental Permits.  It is common for permits to require environmental monitoring to establish the impact of activities and to warn of detrimental changes.  The consequence is that this legislation is leading to the need to collect increasingly large volumes of environmental data.  The monitoring, together with the associated compliance assessment comes with a cost for business but unless the data derived from the monitoring are carefully managed, the money spent on the collection exercise is wasted.
This presentation will explain the development of the CEMEX strategy for data management that has evolved over the past 18 years, and provide an outline of the selected data management product EQuIS supplied by the US company Earthsoft.  The forthcoming implementation of additional tools for event planning and scheduling, and field data collection will also be described.
Refreshments will be available from 6.00 p.m. followed by the evening lecture which will commence at 6.30 p.m. (for approximately 1 hour). The event is open to non-fellows, so please feel free to invite your colleagues or friends.  As usual, the venue is the University of Bristol Earth Sciences Department

Dinosaurs passing wind and climate change?

 Huge plant-eating dinosaurs may have produced enough greenhouse gas by breaking wind to alter the Earth's climate, research suggests.
Read more

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Lecture this Thursday - Virtual Fossils

Thursday May 3rd 
Virtual Fossils: soft-bodied sensations from the Silurian 
Professor Derek Siveter, University of Oxford 
A talk not to be missed! - digital images of the specimens are combined by the computer to reconstruct the animal in minute detail as a ‘virtual fossil’ that can be examined interactively on screen, and the computer reconstructions of the various specimens can even be turned into large-scale physical models.
Everyone is welcome - visitors £4 - free refreshments.
7.30 p.m. BRLSI, Queen Square, Bath

Check our website for further lectures and field trips - Stourhead field trip 26th May

Gigantic super-fleas

As if impending extinction wasn't enough, dinosaurs were also plagued by giant mega-fleas that impaled their soft underbellies and feasted on their blood. The super-fleas, which were around ten times the size of the fleas that bother dogs nowadays had an extra-painful bite because of their huge suckers. It would have felt like a hypodermic needle going in – a flea shot, if not a flu shot.
The fossilised remains of these fleas were found by Chinese scientists. The mega-midges could be the ancestors of modern fleas, but they're more likely to be a separate and now extinct kind of pest. Pseudopulex jurassicus and Pseudopulex magnus had bodies that were flat, like a bedbug or tick, and long claws that could reach over the scales on the skin of dinosaurs so they could stay latched on while sucking their blood. Fleas today are more laterally compressed, have shorter antennae and are able to move quickly through the fur or feathers of their victims. 94 per cent of the 2,300 known species of modern fleas attack mammals while the rest feed on birds.
Read more.