Friday, 29 March 2013

April 4th - Fracking & April 6th - Westbury White Horse & Seend Ironstone

Reminder of two forthcoming Bath Geological Society events:-
April 4th - Shale Gas and Fracking by Roy Hartley
Shale gas and fracking have appeared regularly in the news in the UK in the last two years. Two extreme views are portrayed - one that development of the UK's shale gas will make the country self sufficient with all the economic benefits that implies - the other is that fracking will pollute our water sources, increase greenhouse gas emissions and have other detrimental effects. This view was first highlighted in the film Gaslands premiered at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. Then in 2011 fracking hit the headlines in the UK when the Cuadrilla company's operations near Blackpool were judged to have caused two very small earthquakes (magnitudes 2.3 and 1.5).
BRLSI, 16 Queen Square, Bath 7.30 p.m. Everyone welcome, visitors £4, free refreshments.

April 6th - Westbury White Horse and Seend Ironstone, led by Isobel Geddes, Wiltshire Geology Group
Morning walk looking at geology in the landscape & former cement industry around Westbury White Horse, including Bratton springs (just over 3 miles).
Meet at 10.30 a.m. at the west end of the car park above Westbury White Horse ST 898 512
After a lunch break (approx 1-2pm), we will a look at past industry around Seend in the afternoon, seeing the Seend ironstone SSSI, remnant of a local iron industry, and the Seend Cleeve sandstone SSSI, where there are Corallian fossils, finally taking a look at  building stone in the village. (another 3.5 miles). 
Meet at 2 p.m. at The Barge Inn car park ST 932 613 by the Kennet & Avon canal.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Landslip about to happen?

A large crack has appeared near a stretch of the Dorset coast path. The 150ft (45m) long, 6ft (1.8m) deep crack appeared on cliffs near Bowleaze Cove, Weymouth, on a clay section of coastline. Heavier than usual rainfall since last spring has led to a number of landslip incidents.
Read more

More information and photos from Alan Holiday, Dorset G.A.
Alan writes "I have been watching the Redcliff section for several weeks and it has been quite impressive - the section always has very good rotational slip as you have Corallian limestone over clay. We have had 50% more rainfall than normal - around 1100 mm compared to 750mm. Although the last month has been relatively dry and the processes have slowed down we seem to be in a wetter spell now. My garden had standing water again this morning after overnight rain.
I was at Lulworth and Durdle Door yesterday with some students from Salisbury and there was evidence of some impressive rock falls on the Chalk and slumps on the Wealden and Purbeck Beds."

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Early Careers Geoscientist Award - 19th March

Western Region of GS
19th March, 6.30 p.m.
Local geoscientists will be competing in the second annual Early Career Geoscientist Award (ECGA).  This will consist of a ten minute presentation about a piece of work they have performed or participated in since graduation, followed by questions from the judging panel and audience.  The winner, who will progress to the national final to be held at Burlington House, will be announced on the night.
S H Reynolds Lecture Theatre (Room G25), Department of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol, Wills Memorial Building

Neanderthals large eyes caused their demise

A study of Neanderthal skulls suggests that they became extinct because they had larger eyes than our species. As a result, more of their brains were devoted to seeing in the long, dark nights in Europe, at the expense of high-level processing. By contrast, the larger frontal brain regions of Homo sapiens led to the fashioning of warmer clothes and the development of larger social networks.
Read more

Desert island?

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

West Country Geology field trips

March 17th - Radstock Museum and Writhlington Batch
Please refer to website for details.

April 6th - Landscape around Westbury White Horse and Seend Ironstone
Please refer to website for details.

Down to Earth extra

I am sure you all know 'Down to Earth', the excellent geo-magazine published by Geo Supplies Ltd. Well, now there is 'Down to Earth extra'. If you want to receive it, then email.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Frozen in time: ice cores and climate - March 7th

Reminder for tomorrow's Bath Geological Society lecture:-
'Frozen in time: ice cores and climate'
Professor Eric Wolff FRS, Science Leader (Chemistry and Past Climate) at British Antarctic Survey and Honorary Visiting Professor in School of Ocean and Earth Science, University of Southampton
The polar ice sheets hold one of Earth’s great sedimentary records. By drilling ice cores from Greenland and Antarctica, we can obtain ice that fell as snow, extending back as far as 800,000 years in Antarctica and over 120,000 years in Greenland. Ice cores contain information about climate and numerous other environmental parameters; crucially the air bubbles trapped in the ice give access to the past composition of the atmosphere, including the greenhouse gas concentrations. In this talk. Prof. Wolff will first discuss the strengths and weaknesses of ice cores, and then demonstrate how ice cores are collected. He will then present a few examples of the knowledge we have gained from ice cores - about greenhouse gases, about glacial/interglacial cycles, and about rapid climate changes most likely induced by changes in ocean heat transport. Finally he will discuss prospects for obtaining even older ice in the future.
The lecture starts at 7.30 at the BRLSI, 16 Queen Square, Bath.
Visitors welcome - £4. Free refreshment