Wednesday, 29 May 2013

New EarthCache at Brown's Folly

Have you ever tried EarthCaching? It is similar to geocaching but instead of finding a box or container you find something  of interest, geological, geomorphological or environmental.
A new EarthCache has just been accepted for Site 1 of the geological trail at Brown's Folly. Please try it out and let me know how you get on.

Geology Southern Malverns/Geology & Landscape of Gloucestershire

Geology of the Southern Malverns
A Saturday day school on 22nd June, from 10am to 5pm
This course will attempt to unravel for you the complex geological history of the Malvern Complex (igneous and metamorphic rocks of late PreCambrian age) and its partially stripped-off cover of younger Cambrian, Ordovician, Silurian, and Permian sediments and igneous rocks. The story is dominated by movements on the Malvern Fault system – a fundamental fracture that may cut the whole thickness of the crust (30km), and which has moved in several different ways at different times, and which is responsible for bringing up the usually deeply buried basement rocks of England and Wales to the surface. Fault movements have also been responsible for the metamorphism seen in the oldest rocks, for providing pathways for magma to rise towards the surface, and for folding, faulting and uplifting the overlying sedimentary rocks into positions from where they were eroded.
The course will attempt to demonstrate the unfolding history, by looking at the relationships between rocks exposed in some of the disused quarries in the area, by noting the effects on landscape of rocks where they are unexposed, and trying to tie the whole picture together, with the help of evidence gleaned from the rocks in the laboratory; notably accurate radiometric dates, and geochemical analyses of the Malvern Complex. The last twenty-five years has seen a tremendous advance in the accuracy of our understanding, largely because careful analysis has been able to see through the geological “noise” caused by the very violent movements on the fault, with its attendant shearing and recrystallisation.
Handouts will be provided.
Further details from the website: please book at least a week in advance

Geology and Landscape of Gloucestershire and surroundings
A weekly field-based introductory course.
No previous knowledge of geology is assumed
Tuesday evenings 11th June to 23rd July 2013
Gloucestershire is one of the most geologically diverse counties in Britain,  and as a result displays an incredible variety of scenery. The aim of this field-based course is to take you towards an understanding of local scenery.  We will look at:-
- the highly diverse  rocks and their structure; and processes
- weathering, slope formation and erosion - which have combined to  produce this equally varied landscape
- the materials from  which the scenery has been sculpted
- processes that have acted upon them since the area emerged from the sea 65 million years ago (about the same time that the dinosaurs became extinct)
No special equipment is necessary, apart from stout footwear and possibly waterproofs - although we will hopefully have seven balmy  summer evenings! 
Meetings are held on Tuesdays each week meeting at 7.00 pm, finishing at 9.00 pm or later (whenever the party feels in need of refreshment !!) 
Cost: £50 for 7 week course or £9 per session
Further details from the website

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Google Earth Engine

Have you tried Google Earth Engine? It shows Landsat annual timelapse images between 1984 and 2012. The following are available:-

Tetrapod World

Some of you may be interested in this blog - Tetrapod World. It's about a research project into early evolution and diversification.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Official opening of Box Rock Circus with Iain Stewart

Many thanks to all of you who came and to those who couldn't come but have supported the project.
Iain was brilliant, willing to chat to everyone and enthuse about the Rock Circus.
Lots more photos can be seen on the website - Photo Gallery link

Friday, 10 May 2013

Another ash cloud threat?

Two Icelandic volcanoes are primed to erupt, volcanologists have warned, as the race to protect flights from a looming ash cloud crisis begins.
After the eruption of Eyjafjallajökull threw world air travel into turmoil tests have begun on infra-red camera technology which will allow pilots to steer around clouds and volcanic debris. A tonne of ash from the Icelandic volcano has been flown to Luton airport in preparation for airborne tests of the imaging system as it was warned that two further volcanos could erupt at any time.
When Eyjafjallajökull blew in 2010 it grounded aircraft for six days, left ten million stranded, cause 100,000 flights to be cancelled, and cost the industry £2.2billion. Flights were also disrupted when a second volcano erupted in 2011. Iceland, Europe's youngest country, sits  on top of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge (plate boundary between the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates) and has 22 active volcanoes. According to experts, two of these volcanoes are currently primed to erupt.
Katla - which lies beneath a glacier like Eyjafjallajökull - is experiencing seismic activity and is bulging up at the surface while Hekla has grown to the height it was when it last erupted in 2000. They could erupt with a mere few hours warning and it is believed they could create plumes 18 miles high and impact on European airspace for several days if the eruption coincides with north-westerly winds.
The new technology should allow the aircraft to detect silica, the main component of the ash, using infra-red sensors, from 30km - therefore giving the pilot time to change course. The August experiment has been timed to coincide with the alignment of the Seviri and Calypso satellites, which may be able to confirm the accuracy of the technology.

Monday, 6 May 2013

Volcanic activity - Alaska / Australia

 A remote Alaskan volcano rumbled to life last Saturday with three explosions; it started emitting a continuous plume of ash, steam and gas in an area important to air traffic. The low-level explosions at Cleveland Volcano, which lies below a major air-traffic route between North America and Asia, were not severe enough to cause a significant threat to planes. But the incident did prompt federal aviation authorities to divert some traffic north of the volcano as a precaution.

Australia's only active volcano is rumbling fiercely, with new NASA photos revealing its lava lake has overflowed its crater. The volcano in question, Big Ben, is located on Mawson Peak in the remote southern reaches of the Indian Ocean on Heard Island, an Australian territory. People only bother to visit Heard and its neighbour McDonald Island every couple of years, because there's little there but chilly wastelands and the territory is a nature reserve people are not allowed to visit without a permit. Even fisherfolk chasing the apparently tasty patagonian toothfish, aka Chilean Sea Bass, don't often bother landing. No permanent human presence exists on the islands, beyond an automated weather station.
NASA keeps an eye on the islands, though, because of the volcano on Heard Island's Big Ben. Last October an eruption seemed imminent. NASA has now released the image above showing that the volcano's caldera appears to have filled with so much lava that some has since cascaded down Mawson Peak's flanks.

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Massive Cliff Fall near Durdle Door

 A section of the South West Coast Path in Dorset has been destroyed by a massive landslip.
Read more

25th May - Tribute to Ron Pickford

Ron Pickford (1920-2010) rescued the BRLSI’s museum collections from terrible neglect in the 1960s and ensured its proper curation and conservation through until 1985, when he retired.
In the 20th anniversary year of the BRLSI’s re-launch we will be erecting a memorial to Ron, in grateful recognition of his work.
On the 25th May 2013, you are cordially invited to join us at a tribute to Ron’s invaluable place in BRLSI’s history.
We will be gathering at BRLSI from 18:00 for brief addresses and the unveiling of a memorial from 18:30.
R.S.V.P. to Matt Williams
Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution
16-18 Queen Square, Bath, BA1 2HN
01225 312 084

14th May - Engineering Geology / 19th May - Huntley and Hobb's Quarries

14th May - Western Region GS
'Engineering Geology and Geomorphology in the Design, Operation and Rehabilitation of Quarries'
Dr Ruth Allington (GWP Consultants) 
6.30pm - Refreshments from 6pm
The lecture will focus on the applications of geology and geomorphology in the responsible extraction of the construction materials upon which civil engineering projects depend, highlighting three important differences impacting on professional practice in this area.
This is the Glossop lecture, first given by Dr Ruth Allington on 21st November 2012.  Ruth is Joint Senior Partner with GWP Consultants LLP and Director of Blast Log Ltd with more than 20 years’ experience in engineering geology, hydrology and hydrogeology, including a range of expertise relating to the design of quarries and mines.
Venue: S H Reynolds Lecture Theatre (Room G25), Department of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol, Wills Memorial Building, Queen's Road, Bristol BS8 1RJ.
Everyone welcome.

19th May - Open Afternoon at Huntley Quarry Geological Reserve & Hobb’s Quarry Nature Reserve - from 1pm - 5pm
Discover how local geology explains the dramatic changes in the local landscape.
This Event is being organised by the Gloucestershire Geology Trust with support from local Geowardens and funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Earth's core far hotter than thought

New measurements suggest the Earth's inner core is far hotter than prior experiments suggested, putting it at 6,000C - as hot as the Sun's surface.
Read more