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.