Saturday 25 May 2024

Mammoths in the Cellar

 Mammoths in the Cellar

A correspondent sent me a link to THIS ARTICLE. It concerns an Austrian winemaker who was renovating his wine cellar when he discovered the bones. The researchers called in, date the bones to 30 to 40 thousand years old and think they may have been hunted by early humans.

And they are very excited by it as they are able to use modern techniques to investigate them.

I got the link while exploring wine cellars in the Southern Rhone but what I found was in a different area of interest.



Wednesday 15 May 2024

GeoWeek 2024 on Ham Hill - May 25 - June 2

 GeoWeek 2024 on Ham Hill

A correspondent has sent me details of the events on Ham Hill from May 25th to June 2nd. You can read all about them below.
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25-26 May Learn the art and craft of dry stone walling
Together with a little geology, through hands-on experience of the unique Ham Hill


Limestone.
Cost £100 for the weekend
Booking essential
Contact:
 South West England Dry Stone Walling Association (SWEDSWA) for more details and booking arrangements.


30 May 10:00am-11:30 Fossil Fun
More details
Cost £6.00 per child
Aimed at families with children aged 4-9. All children must be accompanied by an adult at all times, accompanying adult free (max 2 adults per child).
More details:


Please email countryside@somerset.gov.uk with the number of places you require and a contact phone number.  We will check the availability and confirm your place. Payment needs to be made by cash on the day please. We will respond to all emails, please check ‘junk mail’ if you haven’t received a reply.


1 June 10:30am-3:30pm: The Geology of Ham Hill Guided Walk

Following a brief introduction to the geology of the region, an opportunity to explore one of the best inland geological locations in Somerset.
Expansive views over the Somerset landscape, sculpted by the environmental upheavals of the past 400 million years.


We’ll then visit the Yeovilian Substage of the Early Jurassic, around 177 million years ago, as exposed in a number of disused quarries in the Ham Hill Limestone. These include a nationally important geological Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) together with a number of Local Geological Sites. 

We’ll also consider how the geology has underpinned the archaeology, history, industry, agriculture, and biodiversity of Ham Hill – and how our volunteers are working to conserve our geoheritage.

Cost £2.00 per adult
Supported by National Heritage Lottery Fund

Booking essential

Please email countryside@somerset.gov.uk with the number of places you require and a contact phone number.  We will check the availability and confirm your place. Payment needs to be made by cash on the day please. We will respond to all emails, please check ‘junk mail’ if you haven’t received a reply


Any time: Self-guided walk along the Ham Hill Geology Trail.
See below. Leaflet also available from outside the Ham Hill Centre and Rangers Office, Ham Hill Road, Stoke-sub-Hamdon, Somerset TA14 6RW







[View/Download]


Part of GeoWeek 2024 Active Geoscience https://earth-science.org.uk/geoweek/


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Monday 29 April 2024

FROME INTERNATIONAL CLIMATE FILM FESTIVAL 2024 - BE INSPIRED

 FROME INTERNATIONAL CLIMATE FILM FESTIVAL 2024 - BE INSPIRED

Simon Carpenter has asked me to advertise this and I am happy to oblige. 

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FROME INTERNATIONAL CLIMATE FILM FESTIVAL 2024 - BE INSPIRED

Sun 19 May 2024 9:00 AM - 11:30 PM

The Cheese and Grain in Frome, Somerset BA11 1DS

The Frome International Climate Film Festival, now in its 3rd year is being held in the Cheese and Grain in Frome, Somerset on the 19th May. Doors will open at 09.00 and close at 23:30.

This year the FREE festival will include even more inspiring films being screened all day plus we will have a family focused morning with Eco-Arts and activities for children, Technology Zone, Knowledge Cafe, Sensory Zone, Music and Movement Zone, Workshops plus Walks and Talks by the River.

We then end the day with the red-carpet Frome International Climate Film Awards celebration and the Post Awards Party with local award winning bands.

It is a festival for all interested in the Life, our Future, Community, Climate, Nature and the Environment. Let’s connect, share, support and inspire green change together we can change the world. 

For more details, visit this link:


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Saturday 27 April 2024

Two, One Day Field Courses in June, with Nick Chidlaw

 Two, One Day Field Courses in June, with Nick Chidlaw

Nick Chidlaw is proposing two Field Course in June which sound rather interesting. Nick gives the details below.

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I am offering two 1-day field courses to be run in June, if there is sufficient interest and enrolments to make them viable. 

These courses are independent of one-another  - you can enrol on either or both, according to your interest and availability. 

The courses are being offered on the same weekend: some people who live a substantial distance away may be interested in both courses and this would make attending them more workable. 

Hope you find these proposals of interest, and to hear from you soon.

Nick Chidlaw 
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Title:  IMPROVED EXPOSURES AT KEY SITES WITHIN THE LATE PRECAMBRIAN MALVERNS COMPLEX

Saturday 22nd June  10.00 am - 5.00 pm

In the south west English Midlands the main ridge of the Malvern Hills forms a dramatic feature, particularly when viewed from the much lower country to the east. The main ridge is orientated north-south, narrow, and about 8 miles long; it reaches 425m above sea level; lower parts of the Hills lie to the west. 

The types of rocks and their age here are (un)usual (my correction) for southern Britain. Most of the main ridge is composed of rocks formed late in Precambrian times, between c. 680 - 670 million years ago, during the Cryogenian period. These rocks are referred to collectively as the Malverns Complex, and they comprise an almost bewildering variety of metamorphic types, colourfully-patterned, and exposed in numerous old quarry workings and natural crags. They have drawn the interest of geologists for generations. The Malverns Complex is understood to have formed during a tectonic plate collision, and when the southern British crust was located in the southern hemisphere about 60 degrees from the equator; the climate was cold and the plate collision zone likely had numerous snow- and ice-covered active volcanoes. The Complex itself was formed far below in the depths of the crust, where a succession of magmas were forming, cooling and crystallising, and becoming altered by continuing episodes of plate compression.  These rocks were subsequently uplifted and their overlying rocks eroded away, exposing them on the present land surface.

The Hereford & Worcester Earth Heritage Trust has for many years operated to record, conserve and promote the geology of the county. Recently, it has undertaken clearance of vegetation and pressure-cleaning of a number of key exposures in the Malverns Complex, in order for the rocks to be better studied and understood, at all levels of education.. This proposed course looks at some of these exposures, while the clearance work remains at its best.         

No prior geological knowledge or of the study area would be assumed. 

Tuition fee: £32.00

Contact tutor Dr Nick Chidlaw nickchidlaw@gmail.com to enrol and for any queries. 

Deadline for course viability: Friday 10th May. If the course has become viable (minimum 10 enrolments) by this date, enrolments will be able to continue until 1 week (Saturday 15th June) before the course runs.  


Image: part of Dingle Quarry in the Malvern Hills. The rock faces have recently been cleared of vegetation and exposures improved. The rocks include sheets of mafic and felsic igneous rocks within a diorite host, shearing is evident.  

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Title: STUDY THE NEW RED DESERT 

Sunday 23rd June 10.00 am - 5.00 pm. The course includes an exposure dependent on tides; the date and times have been chosen to include safe access.   

This course looks at locations in the NW of Gloucestershire where can be found strata that are part of the 'New Red Sandstone Supergroup'; they were deposited in a variety of environments under a tropical arid climate during the Permian and Triassic periods between c. 300 - 200 million years ago, when Britain lay just N of the equator. We look at exposures of rocks interpreted as being laid down as desert dunes, in seasonal braided rivers and lakes, in estuaries and on coastlines. Reference is made to alluvial fan deposits (not included in the itinerary due to accessibility problems) also present in the area. Marine incursions into this desert environment were initially absent, but became  increasingly common over time.  

No prior geological knowledge or of the study area would be assumed. 

Tuition fee: £32.00

Contact tutor Dr Nick Chidlaw nickchidlaw@gmail.com to enrol and for any queries. 

Deadline for course viability: Friday 10th May. If the course has become viable (minimum 10 enrolments) by this date, enrolments will be able to continue until 1 week (Sunday 16th June) before the course runs.  


Image: part of the cliff of the River Leadon near the village of Red Marley D'Abitot, exposing fluviatile deposits of the Helsby Sandstone Formation (Early / Middle Triassic). 
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Saturday 6 April 2024

Mike Benton Lecture

 Mike Benton Lecture

A few weeks ago Mike Benton gave a lecture to Bristol university alumni. My wife is a Bristol graduate so we watched it and it was very good. Suitable for people of all ages. It is linked to his recent book "The Dinosaurs Rediscovered" and covers the latest scientific advances on dinosaurs.

You can see it HERE and below.


Wednesday 3 April 2024

Curling Stones

Curling Stones 

A correspondent brought this story to my attention - thank you.



Despite what the man says, it is a microgranite and unusually contains riebeckite and arfvedsonite. The composition and small grain size lead to the curling stone not being prone to chipping. You can read more about the rock HERE.

Down to Earth Extra April 2024

 Down to Earth Extra April 2024

The April 2024 edition of Down to Earth Extra has been published. You can download it HERE or you can read it below.