Tuesday, 26 January 2016

4th February - Bath GS - Cotham Marble

4th February - Bath Geological Society.
The replacement talk is 'Cotham Marble'
by Dr. Sarah Greene, NERC Independent Research Fellow,
School of Geographical Sciences, University of Bristol
The Cotham Marble is an uppermost Triassic carbonate microbialite (a rock built by the actions of microscopic life) from the southwestern UK, long prized by collectors for its beauty. Sometimes called the Landscape Marble because its internal structures resemble hills, trees, and skies, the Cotham Marble has been the subject of fascination, scientific investigation, and speculation about its formation for at least 250 years. Only in the past few years, however, have we come to recognize that microbialites like the Cotham Marble can yield truly exceptional archives of past climates. In this lecture, Dr. Greene will recount the history of study of the Cotham Marble and describe some new theories about how and why it formed. She will also describe what brand new geochemical studies of the Cotham Marble are teaching us about the Triassic-Jurassic climate in the UK and the end-Triassic global mass extinction event.
7.00 p.m. AGM followed by this talk
BRLSI, 16 Queen Square Bath
Everyone welcome, £4 for visitors, free refreshments

Monday, 25 January 2016

4th February - Bath Geological Society AGM

The Bath Geological Society is having its Annual General Meeting on Thursday 4th February at 7 pm at the BRLSI in Queen Square, Bath
All members are welcome to attend the AGM
Two positions on the Bath GS committee will become vacant
- Membership secretary
- Fieldtrip programme secretary
Please contact the Chairman if you wish to fulfil either of these important roles.
7.30 p.m. First talk of 2016 - title and speaker to be announced as soon as possible. We are sorry about this unavoidable change to the published programme.
7.00 p.m. 16 Queen Square Bath - everyone welcome, visitors £4, free refreshments

Saturday, 23 January 2016

24th January - Ramblers Walk - Wiltshire

January 24th Ramblers Walk around Potterne
Led by Judy Hible ( 01249-701265) 
10.30 a.m.
My Ramblers walk on Sunday morning passes along Coxhill Lane, a hollow way in the Upper Greensand, much-used locally for building with doggers and for fossils.
Our 4 ½ mile walk starts in Potterne. The walk, which is graded as “moderate” goes via the hill at Potterne Field, out to Ninehills, then past Sleight farm down into the Stert valley, and then back via Potterne wood and Coxhill lane. Please bring a snack/coffee and we aim to be back at the cars for lunch. There are pubs in Potterne.
Please park thoughtfully in Silver street (ST 998 586 on O/S Explorer 130) 
Lifts are suggested at £2.40. and we leave Bath Road car park (ST 918 734 on O/S Explorer 156) at 10:00a.m.

Thursday, 21 January 2016

The other half of the CO2 problem - with the eyes of a geologist

The other half of the CO2 problem - with the eyes of a geologist
Inaugural lecture - Professor Daniela Schmidt
Professor of Paleobiology,  
School of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol
Tuesday 23 February 2016 at 6.15 pm

The ocean serves us in many ways from regulating climate to providing food, livelihood and recreation. The increase of atmospheric CO2 over the last century has led to a measurable warming and decrease in surface ocean pH, a process termed ocean acidification. Ocean acidification is one of the key challenges facing our society. While the chemical principles behind ocean acidification are well understood, the biological consequences are much more difficult to quantify. The geological record, though, records the biotic reactions of marine calcifiers to climate change and Prof Schmidt has studied a number of intervals in the deep time records as well as the last hundreds of years. The rate of ocean acidification today is faster than any change since the dinosaurs went extinct 65 million years ago and hence is unchartered territory for a large number of organisms alive today. Palaeontological evidence of past climate change provides important inputs into our assessment of the impact of future climate change on marine ecosystems.
Reception Room, Wills Memorial Building, Queen's Road, BS8 1RJ
Free to attend, but booking will be required via the online form.

Hippos in Britain - 130,000 years ago

It’s official: 2015 was the warmest year on record. But those global temperature records only date back to 1850 and become increasingly uncertain the further back you go. Beyond then, we’re reliant on signs left behind in tree rings, ice cores or rocks. So when was the Earth last warmer than the present?
The Medieval Warm Period is often cited as the answer. This spell, beginning in roughly 950AD and lasting for three centuries, saw major changes to population centres across the globe. This included the collapse of the Tiwanaku civilisation in South America due to increased aridity, and the colonisation of Greenland by the Vikings.
But that doesn’t tell the whole story. Yes, some regions were warmer than in recent years, but others were substantially colder. Across the globe, averaged temperatures then were in fact cooler than today.
To reach a point when the Earth was significantly warmer than today we’d need to go back 130,000 years, to a time known as the Eemian.
For about 1.8m years the planet had fluctuated between a series of ice ages (glacials) and warmer periods known as interglacials. The Eemian, which lasted around 15,000 years, was the most recent of these interglacials (before the one we’re currently in).
Although global annual average temperatures were approximately 1 to 2˚C warmer than preindustrial levels, high latitude regions were several degrees warmer still. This meant ice caps melted, Greenland’s ice sheet was reduced and the West Antarctic ice sheet may have collapsed. The sea level was at least 6m higher than today. Across Asia and North America forests extended much further north than today and straight-tusked elephants (now extinct) and hippopotamuses were living as far north as the British Isles.

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

'Snowball Earth' volcanoes help kickstart animal life

The Earth was once virtually deep frozen, buried in massive ice sheets with surface temperatures as low as -50°C. Although we are gradually learning more about this extreme episode in our planet’s history, there’s a lot we don’t know about “Snowball Earth”.
One of the big mysteries for geoscientists is how and why the ocean chemistry changed as the ice suddenly melted. But now our study, published in Nature Geoscience, has shed light on this conundrum, demonstrating how underwater volcanoes during Snowball Earth played a crucial role in this transformation. The results help explain how our planet got oxygen in its atmosphere and oceans – enabling life to evolve from single-celled organisms into animals.


Monday, 11 January 2016

Ash fall in Indonesia

Villagers ride through a landscape rendered in monochrome by volcanic ash from Mount Bromo in east Java, Indonesia. The volcano has been erupting for a month.

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Earth Science Education

Welcome to 2016, our International Year of Earth Science Educator stories. 
The stories of those who influence Earth Science education locally and across the world will appear every Thursday on the IGEO (International Geoscience Education Organisation) website through 2016 and beyond. Through this, we hope that the work, wisdom, initiative and enthusiasm of the 'storytellers' will inform and inspire the next generation.
So, please:
REGISTER for regular alerts to the stories by giving your email address on the register page
READ the stories as they appear - and add comments on the IGEO webpage
SEND this message far and wide through all the networks available to you
OFFER your own story if you too have an inspiring or motivating story to tell, covering any area of Earth science education.
We hope that in this way, 2016 and beyond will be a motivational year for all of us.