Wednesday 31 December 2008

Can anyone help?

Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery are currently undertaking a large project on a collection previously owned by Sir John St. Aubyn, the 5th Baronet (1758 to 1839). Currently, there is much interest in the missing’ elements of the mineral collection and the journey to their respective resting places. After his death, Sir John St. Aubyn’s collection was split by the mineral dealer Isaiah Deck (1792-1853), and although an extensive collection was arranged for the Civil Military Library at Devonport (now at the main Plymouth City Museum), the remaining minerals were auctioned.
As part of the project, Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery are trying to locate other specimens from Sir John’s mineral collection. The wish is to authenticate and photograph every specimen both in the museum and in other collections so that an online digital database can be created. If you can help, please contact the Natural History St. Aubyn project assistant, 01752 034774 -

Tuesday 30 December 2008

Books and Journals need good homes

Click here to view the books on offer - contact email address.

Click here to view the list of Journals etc on offer - contact email address.

Sunday 7 December 2008

Tuesday 9th December

The Western Region of the Geological Society is hosting a lecture 'Piling in Bath' by Rob Cannon, Stuart Norman and Toby Lee of Stent Foundations Ltd. The City centre of Bath presents a unique set of challenges for the design and installation of piled foundations. Major schemes have recently been completed involving a significant technical and practical piling input. Discussion and information will be presented on the problems encountered and solutions employed.
SH Reynolds Lecture Theatre
Wills Memorial Building

University of Bristol

Refreshments available from 6p.m.

Lecture starts at 6.30p.m

Sunday 30 November 2008

December 4th - Birds and Dinosaurs with Feathers

On Thursday December 4th, Prof. Mike Benton from the University of Bristol will be talking on 'Preservation of the birds and dinosaurs with feathers from Liaoning China'. The lecture starts at 7.30 at 16 Queen Square and is organised by the Bath Geological Society.
There was a sensation ten years ago when the first photographs of fossil birds and dinosaurs from the Early Cretaceous of Liaoning in China were published. Here were exquisitely preserved specimens that showed feathers. Other fossils were also exceptionally well preserved. The most astonishing find was that a number of small carnivorous dinosaurs too had feathers, so confirming the long-standing view that birds evolved directly from dinosaurs. A team from the University of Bristol is working with colleagues in Beijing to study the preservation and tissue structure of the feathers. We hope to understand just why so many thousands of astonishing specimens have been so well preserved, and to find what the unexpected view of soft tissues tells us about the evolution of birds.

Thursday 20 November 2008

New - Kimmeridgian crocodile from Westbury!

Did you know that Simon Carpenter, our local, expert fossil-finder has discovered a new crocodile from the Jurassic Kimmeridge Clay at Westbury? - Dakosaurus carpenteri! You can read all about it in the latest issue of Palaeontology.

Wednesday 19 November 2008

Rock specimens needing a good home

A geologist's collection needs a good home! The specimens are mostly rock samples; many have been purchased so they have names with them. Others have parted company with their labels so
just need matching up. There are 4 - 5 carrier bags full.
Email contact if you are interested.

Sunday 16 November 2008

Join us on the committee?

The Bath Geological Society would like to recruit two new members to its committee. We meet about three or four times a year and our chief task is to organise an exciting programme for our members. Please join us; you do not have to be a geologist - just an enthusiast!
Contact details are on our website.

Wednesday 12 November 2008

Next Saturday - Geofest in Cardiff

National Museum of Wales
Saturday November 15th, 10.00a.m. - 5.00p.m.
Talks and Walks
11.00 a.m. The Grave secrets of Dinosaurs - Dr. Phil Manning
1.00 p.m. The building stones of Cathays Park - Dr. Eric Robinson
2.30 p.m. Mmmmagma: Edible demonstrations of volcanic processes - Dr. Alison Rust
Rockwatch: geological activities for children including trilobite racing, dinosaur dioramas and fossil casting; fossil hunting in Coal Measures shale with hammers and chisels; microfossil workshops; earthquake workshops and a range of geological activities in the Museum’s Glanely Gallery as well as behind the scenes tours of the Geology Department.
Displays from local and national geological societies and groups.

Sunday 2 November 2008

Cornwall in April

Cornwall with the Oxford Geology Group in April.
Click here to view the preliminary programme, which fills a week.
The idea would be to spend most of the day in the field, in various ways, including hiking, studying landforms and geology close-up and at least one day collecting minerals and/or rock samples.
There are also a number of good geological guides, two of which are mentioned in the programme.
So far one lodge that sleeps six at Lanteglos has been booked (click here). At present they have ample accommodation and, depending on interest, we may book more.
We intend to use our own cars as transport.
Contact the Oxford Geology Group if you are interested.

Wednesday 22 October 2008

Note the date: November 6th - Climate change in permafrost regions

Professor Charles Harris, Emeritus Professor of Geology at Cardiff University, will be giving this talk for the Bath Geological Society on Thursday November 6th at 7.15 p.m. at BRLSI, 16 Queen Square, Bath.
'The impact of climate change on slope stability in permafrost regions'

Permafrost is continuously frozen ground, and is widespread in the high arctic, becoming thinner and discontinuous further south. It may also underlie the higher peaks in mountain regions. Thawing of frozen ice-rich soils leads to thaw settlement and major loss of strength, often leading to landslides. On steep bedrock slopes, ice-bonded joints may increase rock mass strength, so that warming and thaw increases the risk of rock falls and rockslides. Thus, permafrost regions are particularly sensitive to climate change, and engineering works must incorporate measures to accommodate this. Evidence for recent warming in permafrost regions will first be presented, and its significance with regard to future trends discussed. Examples of the impact of permafrost degradation on steep bedrock mountain slopes will then be presented, with evidence drawn largely from the Alps. Finally, the response of soil-covered permafrost slopes to climate warming will be considered through field studies in Canada, Svalbard and Norway, and through laboratory modelling experiments.
Everyone is welcome - members are free, £4 for visitors. Do come along and join our very active Society. Details of some of next year's exciting events can be viewed on our website.

Sunday 19 October 2008

Free event - British Geological Survey

The British Geological Survey is running its fourth free annual event for the public, at Keyworth, Nottinghamshire, in support of the National Archives Awareness Campaign, on Saturday, 29th November 2008, and is providing tours of its Records Centre, Materials Collections, Library, Enquiry services, and 3D Visualisation Suite. The Dando drilling rig will also be demonstrated.
The national theme is 'Community Participation' and the tours will follow a geological time line highlighting the conditions on the Earth through various times and the geology we see today. We have selected local industries in the Midlands that have exploited this resource e.g. road stone, gypsum, coal, ironstone, etc. and will demonstrate how these uses have developed and changed over time. We will highlight the records and archives we hold , show how they are of increasing value today, particularly in respect to the geohazards and past exploitation and how we supply information of value to communities today, through the services we provide.
Booking is via our website and it is aimed to appeal to all the family.
There are also free BGS tours on Professionals Day - Friday November 28th - booking is required.

Wednesday 8 October 2008

Canada - September 2009

WEGA is organising a trip to Canada in 2009. Here are some initial details:-
Dates :- Tues. 8 September - o/n Wed./Thurs. 16/17 September 09
Airline :- Air Canada (London (LHR) - Halifax) Cost c.£500 pp. return (Group rate)
Field Trip :-
- 4 nights in Nova Scotia (Wolfville and Parrsboro) on the Bay of Fundy
- 1 night in New Brunswick (Mirimichi) en route to SE Quebec
- 3 nights in Gaspe, Quebec (Carleton and Gaspe town) Appalachian geology
- Last night o/n Halifax to LHR. Plane leaves at 11.30 pm
Motels :- Average $120 per room per night (based on 2 sharing) = $960 (£480) or £240 pp.
Car rentals + Petrol :- Based on 4/5 cars (4 sharing per car) = $360 or £180 pp.
So - totalling Air Tick./Motels/ Cars = £920 pp. (don't forget this is a rough cost and does not include food on the trip [allow Can.$ 30 -40] per day or the huge volume of books people will buy!!!). We visit two amazing World Heritage Centres (there are only 7 geo - heritage sites in the world!) and Joggins and Miguasha. Guide books have already been prepared.
Obviously if people want to combine this field trip with a holiday in North America that's fine except to note that the Trip will start at 4.00 pm at Halifax Airport on Tues. 8 Sept. and finish at Halifax Airport at 7.00 pm. on Wed. 16 Sept. 09.
If you are interested please contact WEGA.

Monday 6 October 2008

Oxford University Natural History Museum

Don't forget - - behind the scenes visit - - next Sunday 12th October - click here to see the details of this event.

Sunday 28 September 2008

The Last Glaciers of the Brecon Beacons

Interested? Then do come along to 16 Queen Square, Bath on Thursday October 2nd at 7.30 to hear this talk by Dr. Rick Shakesby from Swansea University.
The higher parts of the Brecon Beacons National Park, South Wales, represent the most southerly area of the UK that had glaciers during the final, relatively brief cold phase (known as the Younger Dryas or Loch Lomond Stadial) of the last glacial cycle. This phase lasted only about 1,400 years from about 12,900 to 11,500 years ago, after which there was an abrupt change of climate to the comparatively warm conditions of the Holocene, which have continued until today. It appears that conditions in the Brecon Beacons only allowed very small glaciers to exist at the bases of steep escarpments where copious quantities of wind-drifted snow could accumulate. Evidence for the existence of these glaciers comprises some impressively large, steep-sided moraines and moraine complexes that appear to be almost as fresh today as when they were deposited so many thousands of years ago. Not everyone has accepted either the period of formation or a glacial origin for these scarp-foot depositional landforms. The talk will be illustrated with examples of the landforms and will consider some of the past and current debate concerning their origins, together with the climatic implications for this last occasion when climate was radically different from what we experience today.
Click here for details of the Bath Geological Society

Monday 22 September 2008

Oxford University Museum of Natural History

A date for your diary – Sunday October 12th. Dr Monica Price, Acting Director of the Oxford University Museum of Natural History is treating us to a special visit:-
- Behind the scenes visit to look at the Mineral Collections
- The Corsi collection of decorative stones
- New Fossil and rock displays opened last year
- New gemstone display
The Museum houses Oxford University's extensive world wide collection of zoology, entomology, geology and mineralogy, including the local dinosaur finds, a 40ft (9m) Tyrannosaurus rex, the observation beehive and Alice's Dodo. The building itself is one of the finest examples of the Victorian Gothic style of architecture, exhibiting a wealth of naturalist carving: the huge glass roof over the central museum court is supported by cast iron shafts, decorated with wrought iron spandrels.
This is a follow-up to Dr Price’s lecture on 'Marbles and other Decorative Stones' in April 2007 and her kind invitation to visit the museum. Meet at 10.30 a.m. at the Museum. Park and Ride recommended. Packed lunches or eat at one of the local pubs. Please note that the Pitt Rivers Museum is closed at the moment for building work.

Tuesday 16 September 2008

Sunday 21st September - Vale of Pewsey

Please do join us next Sunday at 10.30 a.m. at Knapp Hill (car park near SU121636, about 2km NNE of Alton Barnes and about 6km NW of Pewsey) to officially launch the new Wiltshire Geology Group's Vale of Pewsey landscape and geology guide. After the launch and an interpretation of the view at this site, we shall walk to a dry dewpond with sarsen stones. We shall then travel down to Alton Barnes Church to look at the stones at its base and then across the field to a spring. There may be time to visit Alton Priors Church too. After looking at an unusual chalk building and the sarsen building stones in Stanton St. Bernard en route, we shall end the event with lunch at the King's Arms in All Cannings. Please book a table for lunch as the pub is busy on Sundays.

Sunday 31 August 2008

Next week - dates for your diary

Thursday September 4th
Bath Geological Society
Club Evening
(click here for details)

Sunday September 7th

Field Trip
Upper By Brook Valley - Landscape and Geological Trail
with Isobel Geddes & Elizabeth Devon
The By Brook valley cuts deeply down into the southern Cotswold Hills as a result of slow but steady uplift of the land. The river cuts down through three Jurassic rock formations;
Forest Marble, Great Oolite and Fuller's Earth.
This trail shows how geology is linked to the activities of the people living here.
Meet at 10.30am near Giddeahall GR ST 859747 just south west
of the junction of the A420 with the road from Biddestone.

Strong shoes, waterproofs and packed lunches are required.

Thursday 28 August 2008

Fancy a trip to Edinburgh?

Fancy a trip to Edinburgh? Stuart Monro, WEGA's Horstmann Lecturer of 2007, and Scientific Director of Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh, has agreed to show us the Geological Sights.
At the moment the programme is -
1. Meet at Dynamic Earth on the morning of Saturday 25th October for a tour of the Dynamic Earth galleries under the guidance of Stuart.
2. After lunch, a geological excursion round Arthur's Seat. This is an ancient volcano which abuts Dynamic Earth. This will be led by Stuart and will include the section where Hutton proved the intrusive nature of igneous rocks.
3. On Sunday morning, 26th October, an excursion to a nearby locality - maybe North Berwick or Dunbar and, hopefully, by public transport.
The best bet for transport seems to be Easyjet. You can get to Edinburgh and back again for £88 (including most of the "extras"). National Express coaches take about 12 hours and cost about £70. The train takes the strain for £131.
There is a wide variety of accommodation in Edinburgh, varying from the cheap and cheerful to the luxurious. Google Edinburgh Accommodation and make your choice. Remember that there are more than geological reasons for visiting the Scottish Capital. Your partner may want to visit the galleries or the shops or take in a concert or theatre on the Saturday evening. It is not necessary to attend all that I have arranged with Stuart.
Contact WEGA if you are interested
; (go to 'About us' at the top of the WEGA home page for email addresses).

Wednesday 27 August 2008

No Curator of Geology at Bristol Museum??

Did you realise that no geological curator has been appointed since the departure of Dr. Tim Ewin, despite the fact that Bristol’s geological collection is the sixth largest Museum collection in Britain?
Until now, the Museum has had a specialist Geology Curator for about 180 years. Bristol’s excellence in the preparation and display of fossil vertebrates has continued down to the present day. This is acknowledged internationally. Accessions include one of the most complete Pliosaurs ever discovered, the oldest Stegosaur ever discovered, and, recently, the best preserved dinosaur (Scelidosaurus - photo) ever found in Britain. The Geology galleries are amongst the top three visitor attractions in the Museum and the material includes several National Heritage collections.
For the first time in almost two centuries, Bristol is currently without a specialist Geology Curator. Not only does the curator look after the collection but is a source of geological expertise for the public.
Send letters of protest to:-
Director Museums, Galleries and Archives
Bristol City Museum & Art Gallery

Queens Road

Bristol BS8 1RL

Tuesday 26 August 2008

Bath GS Club Evening - September 4th

You are all invited to
Bath Geological Society's Club Evening
September 4th, 7.30 p.m.
BRLSI, 16 Queen Square, Bath
Bring your own fossils/collection
Tell us about your geo-adventures
Bring your specimens for identification (hopefully)
Enjoy a glass of wine and nibbles while you watch
the amazing 'Atmosphere and ocean in a tank'
See ripple marks form before your eyes
Make the Himalayas in 30 seconds!
Plus more geo-entertainment.
Free to members, £3 for visitors.

Saturday 23 August 2008

Rock It - Monday August 25th

Hope to see you all on the Bristol to Bath cycle path for this annual event - click here for details.
We should be very pleased to receive any fossil and mineral specimens that you no longer want; we give these to the children to try to encourage an interest.

Thursday 14 August 2008

New Publication - Innovation and Discovery

This new book is published by Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution and the William Herschel Society of Bath. It is to be launched on 22nd November 2008 but is now on a special pre-publication offer - for more information and Order Forms click here.
Free copies will be donated to schools/universities in the area.

Wednesday 13 August 2008

NEW - Palaeontological Award Scheme

This message is to alert everyone in Geologists' Association Local Groups to a new palaeontological award scheme that has just been set up between the Natural History Museum and the Marsh Christian Trust Marsh Christian Trust. The Marsh Christian Trust is a charitable organisation that already sponsors more than 20 annual awards in science - there are no religious connotations or links to the awards.
The award consists of a certificate, £1000 prize and travel expenses to be presented after the Natural History Museum Annual Earth Science lecture on 6th November 2008.
The first Marsh Palaeontology Award is now open for nominations until 30th September 2008. Please consider submitting nominations - especially from 'unsung heroes' from the amateur palaeontological community, although the scheme is open to professional palaeontologists too.

Monday 11 August 2008

Help please! Some identification needed

Please can you help to identify any of the rocks and/or structures in these photographs - click here. All were taken on beaches in Dorset, Devon, Cornwall or Somerset. Some localities are known.
Please send your responses to Rosingrave by email

Friday 8 August 2008

Rock and Fossil Fun on the Bristol and Bath Railway Path

Book the date - Bank Holiday Monday 25 August 2008, between 10am and 4pm.
Find out more about the local rocks and fossils at the Rock & Fossil event on the Railway Path at Saltford.
Local experts will be on hand to talk about the rocks and fossils and why it is important to protect and promote them. Bring along any interesting rocks, fossils and minerals you would like identified.
For children there will be an additional attraction - free fossils and minerals to take away.
If you are on the Path on the Bank Holiday Monday in August make sure you stop.
For more information about the event, please contact Simon Carpenter - email or 0117 900 2193.
Click here for more information about the path.

Tuesday 5 August 2008

Membership secretary needed

Bath Geological Society is losing its membership secretary - PLEASE can you help?
This person is a member of the committee, maintains the membership list, collects annual subscriptions and greets people at the door, taking visitors' payments. We have three or four committee meetings a year and communicate mostly by email.
However, if you feel you would like to join the committee before taking on an active role, then please contact us - email. We do have some vacancies.

Tuesday 29 July 2008

Date for your diary - Sunday September 21st

Professor Michael Benton from the University of Bristol will be joining us at 10.30 a.m. at Knapp Hill (car park near SU121636, about 2km NNE of Alton Barnes and about 6km NW of Pewsey) on Sunday September 21st to officially launch the new Wiltshire Geology Group's Vale of Pewsey landscape and geology guide. After the launch and an interpretation of the view at this site, we shall walk to a dry dewpond with sarsen stones. We shall then travel down to Alton Barnes Church to look at the stones at its base and then across the field to a spring. There may be time to visit Alton Priors Church too. After looking at an unusual chalk building and the sarsen building stones in Stanton St. Bernard en route, we shall end the event with lunch at the King's Arms in All Cannings. Please book a table for lunch as the pub is busy on Sundays.

Wednesday 16 July 2008

Lady required by WEGA - sorry gentlemen

A female person has pulled out of WEGA's trip to Northumberland. Would you be interested in filling the gap?
The dates are Saturday 13th September to Saturday 20th September 2008. It would cost £550 for the week. You would be sharing a twin-bedded room with some other lady in a hotel where we will be staying on a dinner, bed and breakfast basis. Click here for details of the hotel. The £550 includes the hotel, transport in a superior minibus, including from and to Bristol, and tuition by Andrew Bell, a well known Open University lecturer.
The geology is also rather superior - mainly Carboniferous but lots of other stuff, including (at a small additional expense) a boat trip to see Siccar Point - the most important unconformity in the world!
If you could give a response soon WEGA would be very grateful - email

Tuesday 15 July 2008

Tedbury Camp - latest information

This is to let you know that a new website describing Tedbury Camp, near Frome, is now available. Over the last couple of years this wonderful locality has attracted the documentation it deserves and there are now three major complementary sources of information available for the area.
The new website -
'Tedbury Camp - a geological gem in the Mendip Hills', has been compiled by Dr. Martin Whiteley on behalf of the Earth Science Teachers' Association (ESTA). It is aimed at A Level students, undergraduates and researchers, and includes lots of illustrative material and a detailed map of the quarry. It forms part of the ESTA website.
The two other sources of information are:-
- the UKRIGS Earth Science On-Site education project which is designed to encourage non-specialist science teachers to undertake Earth science fieldwork with pupils from primary to GCSE level,
- British Geological Survey (2008) publication - walkers' guide to the geology and landscape of eastern Mendip. This can be obtained from the BGS at Keyworth, Nottingham for £12 and comprises a 68-page book and a map at 1:25000 scale. Additional information can be found on the BGS website.
In the future, we hope to improve the steep access path to Tedbury Camp, clear some of the overgrown faces and produce a geotrail leaflet that describes this and several other localities in the Mells valley. It will be aimed at casual visitors who may be interested to learn a little more about the rich heritage of this area.

Tuesday 24 June 2008

Events in July

3rd July - The History and Hydrogeology of the Minor Spas of South West England. This talk is organised by Bath Geological Society and is to be given by Professor John Mather.
"From Elizabethan times onwards, wealthy people of rank travelled to centres such as Bath and Buxton to "take the waters". In addition to these large centres, a network of minor spas developed to provide for the middle and professional classes and for the poor. A number of small spas in Somerset and Dorset achieved brief fame in the following centuries for the medicinal properties of their waters. There was such a rush to Alford Spa, near Castle Cary, in the 1670s that there was insufficient water to serve all the patrons. Horwood Spa, near Wincanton, had its own bank in 1809 although the enterprise was bankrupt by 1819. Nottington Spa, near Weymouth, was described as 'the only pure sulphureous spa in England'. The history and geology of these and other minor spas will be described and the origin of the mineral waters discussed."

July 6th - following the talk - Trip to Malvern to look at the Hydrogeology of the various springs and the history of Hydropathy in Malvern - Meet at 10.00 a.m. at Great Malvern beneath the Abbey Gateway and the museum. Further details are on the website. Email or 'phone 01249 813628 to let us know you are coming.

July 6th - organised by WEGA - The industrial archaeology of the lead mining industry of the Mendips. We intend to look at Charterhouse and Velvet Bottom. In this area the industry has been in existence since at least Roman times - some say that the Romans invaded Britain to get control of the lead and silver mines. And mining continued into the early years of the twentieth century.
If you would like to attend this trip, contact WEGA via the website.

Sunday 15 June 2008

Fast forming mountain ranges

A member of WEGA has recommended this site - click here.
Mountain ranges are so big, and continental plates move so slowly, that common wisdom suggests they must take millions of years to form. This seems to have been confirmed in the past with limited data sets that show the timing of their uplift; however, a recent paper in Science and another in Earth and Planetary Science Letters have suggested that uplift may occur much more rapidly in some cases.

Friday 13 June 2008

New 'East Mendip Study Centre'

This fantastic new centre will replace the Mendip Quarry Producers' East Mendip Study Centre at Hanson's Whatley Quarry. It is an architect-designed, single storey building next to Wainwright's Moon's Hill Quarry at Stoke St. Michael. It is a carbon neutral building with its own wind-powered generator and a high thermal mass. It includes traditional and sustainable construction materials and is sited alongside former quarry workings which have been restored into a lake and nature reserve.
It has been funded principally by the Somerset Minerals Forum, Somerset County Council's aggregates levy sustainability fund and the Mendip Quarry Producers (MQP), a trade association representing all the major quarrying companies in Somerset.

Tuesday 3 June 2008

Monday 2 June 2008

Terrain Builder

Have you seen this software - TerrainBuilder?
Also to be recommended is the Soils website where it is mentioned. These are excellent resources. Thank you Hugh.

Friday 30 May 2008

June 5th and 7th - Huntley Quarry and May Hill, Gloucestershire

'The Enigmatic Huntley Quarry' On June 5th, Hellen O'Connor, Gloucester Geology Trust, will give a talk to the Bath Geological Society about this quarry. For over 180 years geologists have been arguing over the date of the rocks of this very small quarry nestling in the side of May Hill. The quarry contains the only known exposure of the Huntley Quarry Beds. These volcaniclastic sediments, sandstones with volcanic material, have been subject to intense tectonic activity due to the close proximity of the regionally important Blaisdon Fault. This fault is very well displayed in the quarry as is the folding and distortion of the Huntley Quarry Beds themselves. Importantly, the age of the sediments is still unknown with a possible age range of 570 Ma (Precambrian, Neo-proterozoic) to 436 Ma (Silurian, Llandovery) having being postulated. The talk will discuss the sediments and the problems of dating them.
On June 7th, Hellen will lead a field trip to the quarry where the Huntley Quarry Beds and the Blaisdon Fault can be examined; there will also be an opportunity to see the newly exposed Lower Silurian Bright's Hill Quarry. Details can be found on the Bath Geological Society's website.
Everyone is welcome to attend these two events - non-members £3.00. Please contact the society on if you wish to come on the field trip but cannot come to the talk.

Wednesday 28 May 2008 - geology

One of our subscribers suggested that this site should be advertised - click here to view. Anything you want to know about geology is there. Guy has been using the site for many months; this week's word was poikilitic. (see image). As you can see, you get much more than just the definition.
Thank you Guy.

Sunday 18 May 2008

A brilliant Museum site

Following yesterday's post about Museum geological collections, David has sent this excellent link. As he says, not West Country but worth looking at anyway! Click here.

Saturday 17 May 2008

Using Museum Geological collections

Did you know that there is a jiscmail group? The Geological Curators' Group run a jiscmail list that is used for queries, problems, calls for help and so on. You are welcome to post questions on it relating to all things - fossil/rock/crystal/geological & museum-y.
Past queries have included "what the heck is it" fossil identifications ... so don't feel you can't ask!
Educational resources and activities are also being planned for the website in the near future ... so if you have any bright ideas that you want to share......

Thursday 15 May 2008

Landslip, Lyme Regis, Dorset

This image was sent on May 8th by a supporter of this blog. It shows a tree just about to fall during the landslip at Lyme Regis in Dorset.
Further details of this landslip plus a short video can be viewed on this BBC website.

Saturday 3 May 2008

Events in May/early June

Avon Gorge Geological Walk - May 10th Bristol NATs has organised this walk on 10th May at 10.00 a.m.
Join Dr. Tim Ewin, Bristol City Museum’s Curator of Geology, for a walk along the Avon Gorge. Find out about the controversies surrounding its formation, what it is made out of and how long it took to form. The trip will further include a peek into the mining and mineral heritage of Bristol, jewellery, hot springs and great Earth movements that have helped shape the iconic landscape of Bristol.
Meet at Durdham Downs on Circular Road near toilets Grid Ref ST 561 746
The walk will end at The Observatory near the Clifton Suspension Bridge
Contact Bristol NATS - if you wish to join the walk.

WEGA AGM - 22nd May In addition to all the usual (very short) reports of office holders, elections, book and rock sale etc., there will be the opportunity to get your rock samples identified by a galaxy of talent embodied in your present committee, a short quiz 'Identify what is in the photograph' with a prize for the winner and a free glass of wine at the end of the evening. The meeting is in the Wills Memorial building, University of Bristol at 7.30 p.m.

'Second deluge or just another drop in the ocean: what can we expect of ice sheets in the 21st century' lecture by Prof Tony Payne, Professor of Glaciology - May 22nd Peel Lecture Theatre, School of Geographical Sciences, University Road, 5.30 p.m.
Satellite based observation has revolutionised the study of ice sheets over recent decades. The picture of rapid change that has emerged raises the possibility of substantial future glacial contributions to global sea level.
This lecture is free and open to the general public. No prior booking necessary.

Holm Islands - dayschool - June 1st The boat departs from Cardiff. Contact Continuing Education - Earth Sciences, email
The geology field trips to Ulster and Brittany with Prof. Donny Hutton are going ahead - same contact as above, if you are interested.

The Enigmatic Huntley Quarry - June 5th
Lecture organised by Bath Geological Society, given by Helen O'Connor of the Gloucester Geology Trust. Details on the Bath GS website. This is followed by - - -
Field trip to Huntley Quarry - June 7th

Tuesday 29 April 2008

May 1st and May 3rd

Don't forget the Bath Geological Society's lecture this Thursday - 'The finest dinosaur ever found in Britain' by Dr. Tim Ewin, acting Curator of Geology, Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery.
After a cliff fall in 2000 on the beach at Black Ven near Charmouth, Dorset, professional collector David Sole made the discovery of a lifetime. He found the partial remains of a Scelidosaur that turned out to be the finest dinosaur specimen ever found in Britain. Dubbed the Horned Scelidosaur this spectacular, 3-metre (9 foot) specimen has a devilish grin, magnificent body armour and even the contents of its last meal preserved.
Dr Tim Ewin, currently curating a display on the Horned Scelidosaur, will introduce these spectacular British dinosaurs and the world they inhabited and describe the remains of the finest dinosaur ever discovered in Britain.
Scelidosaurs were heavily armoured, quadrapedal, herbivorous dinosaurs the size of a small car that roamed the lush tropical world of the Lower Jurassic some 190 million years ago. This dinosaur specimen will be on public displayed from Spring 2008 in the Dinosaur Gallery at the Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery.

Saturday May 3rd - Tim Ewin is leading a tour around the Museum to further illustrate his talk. Please contact if you wish to be included on this visit.

Saturday 26 April 2008

Bristol Science Cafe

Did you know about this? The Bristol Science Cafe is at Tobacco Factory, Raleigh Road, Southville, Bristol BS3 1TF. It meets on the last Monday of each month at 8.00 p.m. Directions can be found on its website.
April 28th - The speaker is Adam Durant from the Department of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol. His topic is: Volcanoes, dust, and climate.
Small silicate particles suspended in the atmosphere redistribute energy from the sun and surface of the Earth and consequently impact climate. The main sources of these particles are from suspension of surface dust in arid regions, such as the Sahara Desert, and from direct injection by explosive volcanic activity (volcanic ash). The image shown here is from 1991 Pinatubo eruption and shows a volcanic aerosol veil, taken from the space shuttle.
We will discuss the types and origin of particles in the atmosphere, how they interact with solar and terrestrial radiation, how clouds are modified, and ultimately how climate is affected.

Friday 18 April 2008

April 26th Geology of the Ledbury Hills

This field trip is organised by the Bath Geological Society and will be led by Dave Green, an expert on the area. Dave writes "We will explore the geological history of these beautiful unspoilt hills, largely composed of sedimentary rocks of Silurian age, thrown into folds by the mid to late Carboniferous tectonic movements which formed the Hercynian or Variscan mountain belt between the supercontinents of Laurussia and Gondwana. The geology is faithfully reflected in the scenery, composed of alternating layers of resistant and non-resistant rock, many of which are rich in fossils, which in the case of the lithologically non-diverse Ludlovian have been the method for dividing the sequence into rock units. Large-scale diversion of drainage took place during the Pleistocene with the production and overflow of a pro-glacial lake."
Meet at 10.30 a.m at the large car park at British Camp (G.R. SO 764403). There will be a fairly strenuous climb to the top of the Herefordshire Beacon, if the weather is clear, to gain an overall view of the area, followed by visits to various sites where rocks and structures can be examined.
Strong footwear and waterproofs are required. Bring packed lunch, or it can be purchased at the car park.
Please email the field excursion secretary - - to add your name to the list.

The image shown here is a 3D view of the geological maps of the Malvern Hills and Ledbury area. It was sent by a colleague from Wootton Bassett and has been produced using OziExplorer3D software. When used 'live' the terrain can be spun around, zoomed in and out and shadows altered.

Friday 11 April 2008

Mendip Geological Maps and Guidebooks

The British Geological Survey has just launched its new books - Western and Eastern Mendips. They are walkers guides to the geology and landscapes of the two areas and are fabulous!
More details can be seen on the BGS website - click here.

Monday 7 April 2008

Marie Stopes; sex, lies and fossil plants - April 23rd

Lecture organised by Bristol Naturalists' Society geology section:
Marie Stopes; sex, lies and fossil plants
by Dr. Howard Falcon-Lang
April 23rd 7.30 p.m
University of Bristol
SH Reynolds lecture theatre, G25
Wills Memorial building,
University of Bristol
Everyone is welcome


Please check out the new Avon RIGS website - click HERE. The pdfs of the South Gloucestershire geology booklet and all the information panels installed in that Council area, can now be viewed and downloaded. The illustration shows the panel at Aust Cliff.

Thursday 3 April 2008

Coal Measures Geology/Plant Fossils/Variscan Tectonics

Leader: Dr. Nick Chidlaw for University of Bristol
Dates: Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th April.

Level of geological knowledge:
no prior knowledge of geology or the locations assumed.
Location: Both in South Wales not far east of Swansea. Operators: Celtic Energy Ltd. Saturday 15th: Margam Opencast: (near Bridgend);
Sunday 16th Selar Opencast (N end of Neath Valley).
Details of how to get to the sites will be provided in a pre-course handout to be sent to
Highlights: Extensive clear sections in Coal Measures sedimentology and Variscan tectonics; unrestricted sampling of lithologies, mineral nodules and plant fossils; analysis of coal opencast mining in Britain today - technological / economic / environmental.
Enrolment: Contact Barbara Perks at Bristol University Dept Earth Sciences tel: 0117 954 5438 or email: She can also advise on information for arranging overnight accommodation.

Monday 31 March 2008

Step back into the Past - April 5th

Wiltshire Geology Group invites you to
Unveiling of Interpretation Board
by Professor Hugh Torrens
at Bradford on Avon Docks Clay Pit
Saturday 5th April, 11.30 a.m.
British Waterways car park at the end of
Baileys Barn Road, off Moulton Drive
The unveiling will be followed by a short walk looking at the Avon valley and local building stones, part of the route in the newly published trail guide exploring the landscape around Bradford on Avon.

Monday 24 March 2008

Now until 19th April

A Walk in the Park
An exhibition of artwork in response to a six months
residency undertaken by land artist,
Sandra Masterson at the Abberley and Malvern Hills Geopark
The exhibition is on until 19th April 2008
Gloucester City Museum and Art Gallery
Brunswick Road, Gloucester GL1 1HP
Details of opening times can be found on the Gallery website
The exhibition is sponsored by the Arts Council of Great Britain,
The Earth Heritage Trust and the University of Worcester

Fossil Hunt - March 30th

Fabulous Fossils and Awesome Ammonites!
Sunday March 30
10am or 2pm
Leader: Dr Neville Hollingworth
There is a chance to join in an organised Fossil Hunt in one of the quarries in the Cotswold Water Park. This hunt will give people an ideal opportunity to understand the local landscape in greater detail and to look for ammonites, belemnites, gryphaea etc!
Demand on these hunts is always extremely high, and places are limited for safety reasons. Please make sure you reserve your place early.
Minimum age for children: 5 No dogs allowed
Cost: Adults: £7.50 (Friends CWPS £6.50), Children under 14: £4 (£3)
Email to reserve places.
Further details about meeting place, safety points and equipment will be emailed to you a couple of days before the event.

Friday 21 March 2008

Geomap for the Forest of Dean

The Forest of Dean Local History Society has been awarded a grant to create a unique Geomap sculpture of the area. The strata of the Forest will be represented by the actual rock types, taken from both working and disused quarries. The flat sculpture will cover 84 square metres and, although the surface will be polished, it will be rough enough for people to walk on safely.
The Geomap is intended to demonstrate and celebrate the link between geology of the Forest of Dean and its long quarrying and mining history. It will be built on a site called New Fancy on a flat, grassy area opposite the Miners' Memorial

Monday 17 March 2008

March 20th 'Know your faults!'

Don't forget the lecture by Professor James Jackson from the University of Cambridge this Thursday - March 20th. 'Living with Earthquakes: know your faults'
The meeting starts at 7.30 p.m. at the BRLSI, 16 Queen Square. Everyone is welcome to attend - free to members of the Bath Geological Society, £3.oo for visitors.
Join us afterwards for wine and nibbles and a chat.

Friday 14 March 2008

In memory of Dr. Colin Parsons

I record with sadness the death of Dr Colin Parsons, who passed away peacefully on Tuesday 4th March, succumbing to the motor neurone disease which had been gaining the better of him for two years. Colin will be well known to workers on the Inferior Oolite formation from the many papers he published through the 1970s, working out the succession of ammonites in great detail, often from pits he painstakingly excavated by hand specially for the purpose. His comprehensive work covered the whole outcrop from the Dorset Coast, through Somerset and Yorkshire to the Isle of Skye, including re-determinations of many fossils and collections which had not been re-examined since the days of Buckman. After retreating from publication for almost thirty years due to his teaching commitments, he was embarking once more in retirement on a body of research. This included work in progress on the deposits at Dundry Hill and in north Dorset, benefiting from the assistance of mechanical plant for the excavations, but still applying his trademark meticulous observation, and contributing all the material to national academic collections.
I accompanied him on a number of his 'digs' and recall a kindly man whose immense knowledge never overshadowed his affable personality. He will be very much missed. Arrangements are in hand to publish obituaries in the Proceedings of the Bristol Naturalists' Society and other major geological journals. Further details on his funeral, his life's work, and proposals for memorial activities may be obtained from his close friend and working colleague John Huxtable, Telephone 01823 259395, e-mail
Alan Bentley