Thursday, 30 December 2010

Buckland Fossil Table

Lyme Regis Museum successfully attained a grant from AIM (Association of Independent Museums) to conserve the Buckland Fossil Table. The table was owned by William Buckland one of the leading geologists of the 19th Century. Buckland was a highly regarded character who, whilst Professor of Geology at Oxford University, carried out pioneering work not only in the study of dinosaurs, but also the analysis of coprolites or fossilised faeces. The large inlay panel of the Buckland fossil table is set with coprolites which have been cut in half and polished to a high sheen. The table is highly unusual and an extremely popular exhibit at Lyme Regis Museum.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

14th December - Bristol Red and Bristol Blue

´Bristol Red and Bristol Blue´ by Ian Donaldson on Tuesday 14th December, Dept of Earth Sciences, Wills Building, University of Bristol, 7.30.
Everyone knows of Bristol Blue cobalt glass, but few have heard of William Cookworthy's involvement with it, and his three important discoveries. Few too have heard of Bristol Red. It depended crucially on Alum. An Elizabethan naturalist discovered the secret of making alum from shale, and broke a lucrative Papal monopoly during The Reformation. This was the start of an industry based on rocks dug from the North Yorkshire coast, the Thames Estuary, and at Campsie, near Glasgow. Alum was made in Bristol for over a hundred years, until the 1970s.
Everyone is welcome - mince pies and refreshments - courtesy of WEGA.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Registration for the HOGG Conference

The Geological Society HOGG (History of Geology Group) Conference on Geological Collectors and Collecting will take place on 4-5 April 2011 at the Flett Theatre at the Natural History Museum in London. The conference covers collecting of geological maps and books as well as fossils, rocks and minerals. It is timed to coincide with the Christies Sale of Travel, Science and Natural History Artefacts on 6 April 2011. Convenors include John Henry (HOGG member, and proprietor of 19th Century Geological Maps), Sarah Long (Head of Palaeontology Collections at the Natural History Museum London), and Nina Morgan (Science writer and HOGG committee member). We are now beginning our registration process. A full programme and timetable for the conference, a registration form, which provides full details about the conference costs and how to register and a poster about the conference can be downloaded from the HOGG website The conference will cater for a wide range of interests, and is open to all. We hope to see you there!

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

17th Nov - Practical Sustainability in the Geological Sector

We still have a few places remaining for the Geological Society Western Regional Group and University of Bristol conference on Practical Sustainability in the Geological Sector. The event will be held on Wednesday 17th November in the University of Bristol Department of Earth Sciences (Wills Memorial Building, Bristol) between 1:30 and 6:30pm and is free to all delegates. If you or a colleague would like to attend please contact the event organiser, Nicola Berry.
There will be speakers from a range of professional backgrounds presenting and answering 'quick-fire' questions on topics including:
* Carbon Dioxide Storage in a Depleted Oil Field, Weyburn, Canada James Verdon, University of Bristol
* Engineered Geothermal Systems - Heat Mining and Tomatoes from Eden Gary Graveling, Buro Happold
* Case Study of a Sustainable Colliery and Cokeworks Remediation Project Paul Tilley, Environmental Scientifics Group
* Sustainable Waste Management - An Industry Perspective Emma Keen, Churngold
* Carbon Footprinting and Other Practical Tools to Measure Sustainability in Geo-engineering Projects Colin Harding, Mott MacDonald
* Net Environmental Benefit Analysis: A Tool to Assess Risks to Ecosystems and Assist with Environmental Decision-Making Anne Johnston, Environ UK Limited

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Somerset - Geological Sculpture

The photo shows views of the recently installed wooden sculpture at Staple Hill on the northern edge of the Blackdown Hills in Somerset. Happily the stratigraphy is simple with mainly horizontal bedding and none of the Variscan complexity that we find in west Somerset. One problem was to decide how far the fine detail of the stratigraphy should be shown: do we divide up the Upper Greensand Formation into Foxmould and Chert Beds, or more modern equivalents; was it necessary to show various divisions of the Lower Lias clays as we see them in the cliffs at Charmouth?
A second problem was nomenclature: the British Geological Survey (BGS) Lexicon of Named Rock Units provides BGS definitions of terms that appear on their maps and publications; it revised wholesale the names of formations and members. It was an attempt to bring order into the haphazard terminology that had accumulated over the last 200 years. All very commendable except that well-used names were dumped (e.g. The Yeovil Sands Formation for shame). The Somerset Geology Group is finding problems in advising on which old or new name to use for building stones for the revised Pevsner architectural guide to Somerset. Fortunately, the term ‘Upper Greensand Formation’ and ‘Blue Lias’ remain and are widely understood by the public. Ought we to have used the term ´Charmouth Mudstone Formation´ instead of ‘Lower Lias clays’? Do we include the term ’formation’?
We decided that traditional semi-descriptive terms were most suitable especially as they include the words ‘sand’ ‘clay´, and ‘red marl’. After all we are trying to communicate with the interested public and not frighten them.
The upper photo shows the classic topography: plateau, convex upper slope, linear middle slope, concave lower slope and the vale. For technical reasons it was not possible to show the slip plane of the landslide. The topography is clearly related to the underlying geology: the Greensand makes a resistant capping to the escarpment thus preserving the eye-catching Blackdown Plateau and the Tertiary Clay-with flints and pebble beds that rest on that surface. The pebble beds are shown on the side panel; they are not distinguished on the recently revised BGS Wellington Sheet (2009) and this is a sore point! (Prudden, 2002, 2011 in press, Waters, 1960). They overlie the Clay-with-flints and represent an early Tertiary marine event. They are exposed in ditch sections at Staple Hill. The thicknesses of the pebble beds and the soil have had to be exaggerated on the sculpture. The Lower Lias clays crop out below the Greensand and underlie the clay vale seen in the distance.
The lower photo shows the face of the block. A symbolic landslip is shown. Water percolating through the Greensand emerges where the Greensand rests on impermeable clays; a spring line is shown by a metal strip. These landslides are some of the most extensive in Britain and ring the Blackdown Hills. They are not active today unless loaded or undercut as when the M5 was built; they must date to an environment in the past when melting permafrost resulted in instability. Freborough et al., (2005) point out that many of these landslides tend to have a linear rather than crescent-shaped backscar. Marshy grassland and forest are shown below the spring line.
The sculpture was assembled on the spot from components made in a workshop. The timber was sourced from a fallen oak tree from Neroche Forest. It will be allowed to weather naturally. It is hollow underneath - hedgehogs please note. The sculpture was formed from modules created in a workshop and the components bolted together on site. The sculpture was designed and made by Robert Jakes, sculptor and woodcarver.
Neroche Forest is a Landscape Partnership Scheme supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and a range of local organisations. Led by the Forestry Commission and working closely with the local community, the Scheme is working to protect and celebrate the heritage of the area, and to provide opportunities for quiet enjoyment, education and training in countryside skills. Neroche Forest is part of the Blackdown Area of Outstanding Beauty. The scheme involving a wooden sculpture was developed by the local stakeholders group.
Visitors may also care to explore via public footpaths the area 2.5km to the east below the site of the Norman Castle Neroche [ST 272 159]. There is a splendid backscar and pressure ridges at the toe of the landslide.
The coast between Charmouth and Lyme Regis shows what Staple Hill would have looked like during periglacial conditions when the landslides were active. Visitors to the coast can clearly distinguish the same rock formations as at Staple Hill and admire the seepages at the base of the Greensand and the active landslides and mudflows. One difference is that the landslides at Charmouth are the result of waves undercutting the cliff.
The Somerset Geology Group was pleased to cooperate in the project as one of its aims is to promote an awareness and understanding of the Somerset’s outstanding geodiversity.

Friday, 12 November 2010

19th November - The Geology of the Moon

Speaker: Peter Cadogan
Peter Cadogan, spent five years as a postgraduate student trying to date the moon rocks brought back by the Apollo crews. (Presumably that means we have to add 5 years to the figures he came up with.) On the face of it, the geology of a completely dead, arid, grey lump of rock might appear less than engaging. But far from it ! The variety of rock samples and the story that is contained within their make-up and structure is a fascinating and dynamic one. It provides some insight into the origins of the moon, its violent past and relationship to the earth. And yet as fast as one mystery is solved, more as-yet unanswered questions emerge. Certainly the geology of the moon as a topic is very much alive.
This is a Bristol Astronomical Society Meeting. It is held in the Lower School Hall of Bristol Grammar School, off the top of University Road. The Lower School Hall is in the building on your Right as you enter the car park (free parking). If you wish, you can enter via Elton Road, in which case the LSH on on your Left. The room is upstairs and is entered by following signs to 'Toilets'! but take the first door on your Right and go up the stairs. Please be early as the door is entry-controlled and we cannot reveal the code. Any BAS member will let you in. Entry is free for first-time visitors - others are expected to pay £2. The meeting will begin at 7:15 sharp.
Details provided by Bristol Naturalists' Society from which further details can be obtained.

17th November - BRLSI Geology Collection & Ilminster Project

Speaker: Matt Williams - Curator of the Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institute Museum, 7:30pm
Matt Williams will give us insights into the collections of the BRLSI, Charles Moore (the principal collector of the palaeontological collection) and the JESBI (Jurassic Ecosystem of Strawberry Bank Ilminster) project which launched in March. In this exciting project, over 230 perfectly preserved fossils, excavated from a quarry at Strawberry Bank by Charles Moore in the 1840s, are set to be examined for the first time as part of the Jurassic Ecosystem.
This talk will now take place in the G8 Lab, Wills Memorial Building, University of Bristol, BS8 1RJ. Contact Bristol Naturalists' Society for further details.

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Scale of the Universe

Click here to view these amazing images showing the scale of the Universe. Move the blue block at the bottom of the screen to the right for impossibly large and to the left for impossibly small. The image above is showing the ´galaxy´ scale.
This is produced by Cary and Michael Huang.

9th November - Mineral Resources, Peru

The Western Regional Group would like to invite you to the Geological Society evening lecture on Tuesday 9th November 2010, ‘Challenges in Investigating Mineral Resources at La Granja Copper Project, Peru’, presented by Mark Howson, a Principal Advisor with Rio Tinto’s Technology and Innovation Department.
The talk will focus on Rio Tinto’s Pre-Feasibility Study of what is probably the largest known unexploited copper deposit in South America, including the range of techniques used in the exploration, and the environmental and social impacts.
The lecture will start at 6.30pm, but please feel free to come and have a few sandwiches and a chat with colleagues from 6.00pm. There is no charge for the event and non members are welcome.
The lecture will be held in the S H Reynolds Lecture Theatre (Room G25), Department of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol, Wills Memorial Building, Queen's Road, Bristol BS8 1RJ. For directions see

Monday, 1 November 2010

Amazing Landscapes - November 4th

On November 4th, Dr Chris Wood from Bournemouth University will be talking about ´The Danxia (red beds) Landscapes of SE China: Defining a New World Landscape Type´.
It might be thought that there is little more to be discovered about the major types of physical
landscapes of the world, but recent work by the author, in association with Chinese and international colleagues, has drawn attention to the remarkable red beds landscapes of SE China and advocated in future all such landscapes in the world be known as ‘Danxia’. Red beds is a term signifying rocks made up of red-coloured sediments laid down in a terrestrial (continental) environment. These types of beds form such iconic places as Ayers Rock in Australia, Monument Valley in the USA, Meteora in Greece, and Petra in Jordan. The term 'Danxia' to describe red bed landscapes was first used by Chinese scholars more than 80 years ago. The name is taken from Danxiashan (Danxia Mountain), which serves as the type locality in China. China has more than 780 Danxia sites scattered across the country, although the best are in the SE provinces, developed in a very active tectonic environment and under a warm, humid, sub-monsoonal climate. The spectacular Chinese red beds landscapes have remained unknown to world geoscientists until now. This lecture describes the geology and geomorphology of the Chinese Danxia and comparisons with other red beds landscapes worldwide.
This talk is organised by the Bath Geological Society and will be held at BRLSI, 16 Queen Square, Bath at 7.30p.m. Everyone is welcome - visitors £4 - free refreshments.

Natural Environment of England

The Government has invited the public to have their say on what they value in terms of the natural environment of England, in preparation for a White Paper (precursor to legislation) on the natural environment being published in Spring next year. This White Paper will shape government policy and thinking on the natural environment for the next 20 years and it is therefore crucial that we take this opportunity to ensure that Earth heritage is part of the document. Please fill in this very quick survey being done by Defra. There are only four questions and it should only take five minutes or so, but those five minutes could make the difference with respect to helping us build firm foundations for geological conservation for the next 20 years. Please follow this link to fill out the questionnaire.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Those sedimentary features!

I have now heard that the three photos were taken in the Blue Mountains in Australia, if that helps. The tubular structures are still causing confusion - are we sure they are sedimentary?

Blockley Fossils

The final field trip to Blockley Quarry was very successful - mentioned in the post of 13th October. Lots and lots of fossils were found, some of which are illustrated. Thanks to Richard for the photos; he says the ammonite looks identical to the one on page 102 of 'British Mesozoic Fossils', i.e. Lipoceras cheltiense, but the bivalves are harder to identify. Can anyone help?

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Cancellation of Mendip Volcanoes course

On 11th October a post was published regarding two 1 day courses being offered by Dr. Nicholas Chidlaw this autumn: 'Mendip Volcanoes' (Saturday 30th October) and 'Study the
New Red Desert' (Saturday 20th November).
Unfortunately, the quarry management in the large working quarry we would visit during the morning of the 'Mendip Volcanoes' course is not able to provide supervision of our party that day, and so the trip is being cancelled.
This course has been well-attended when it has been run in the past, and there has been interest show again in the last month or so; I will look into running it again next year (perhaps in the spring).
Some people have sent their tuition fee to-date, and these will be returned shortly.
Thank you for your interest in this Mendips course.

Poetry Competition

The Abberley & Malvern Hills Geopark is running a poetry competition to coincide with the 2011 Geofest and the 2011 Ledbury Poetry Festival. The 2010 Geofest was a great success, with dozens of events held between June and August and we aim to be even bigger and better
in 2011.
The poetry competition seeks entries where the subject of the poems relate either to the Abberley and Malvern Hills Geopark or to geology, landscape and geodiversity in general. There are several age categories and winners of each category will be invited to present their poems at the internationally renowned Ledbury Poetry Festival in July 2011.
Click here for more information; you can download an entry form and a poster.
Entry to the competition is free.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Sedimentary features query

Can anyone identify these please?
Let us know what you think either on 'comments' on this blog or by email.
Please ask if you would like a better image of any of them.

Friday, 15 October 2010

British Cobalt mine?

Query from one of our readers: 'World cobalt output peaked several years ago, and there will be increasing shortages of it. I'm told that there was only one British mine which ever produced cobalt, and that in small quantities. I suspect it was in Cornwall. I'd be most grateful if anyone could tell me more about this local source.'
Please put your replies in 'comments' on this post or email.

Festival of Geology GA Photographic Competition

A great opportunity for imaginative photography!
Geology is all around us impacting on our daily life. It's in our shopping baskets, our homes, our streets as well as mountains and volcanoes, beaches and quarries.
Send us your favourite photographs (up to 3) on any geological topic taken within the last year.
These will be put on display at the Festival of Geology, University College London, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT on 6 November 2010 from 10.30 - 4.30.
First Prize £100, Second Prize £50, 3rd Prize £25.
Winners' entries may be published in the Geologists' Association magazine.
Competition Rules
1. Amateur photographers only.
2. Closing date for the competition is 1st November 2010
3. Only three entries per individual.
4. Maximum size A4
5. The organisers cannot accept responsibility for entries lost or damaged in the post.
6. A signed entry form must be securely attached to the back of each entry.
7. The judges' decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.
8. Judging will take place and prizes will be presented at the Festival of Geology at University
College London on 6th November 2010
9. Photographic entries may be used in any future publications or publicity by the Geologists'
10. We regret that entries cannot be returned unless accompanied by an s.a.e.
More details on the GA website.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Blockley Quarry - 17th October

Did you know that from 1st November Blockley Quarry will be closed to the public?
A final trip has been organised by a member of Wiltshire Geology Group for Sunday 17th October. However, numbers are limited. If you want to go, send an email and make sure you put 'Blockley Quarry' in the subject line.
The quarry is near Moreton in the Marsh, and the cost for the day is £4. Anyone who doesn’t find a rucksack full of fossils should get new glasses!!
Visitors will need hard hats, hi viz vests and strong boots; it could be extremely muddy, so wellies might be a good idea ... and a tarpaulin to put over the car seats and in the boot.
You will definitely find fossils, and almost certainly they will be muddy - so newspaper and/or polybags might be useful. A spade is probably more use than a hammer and chisel.

GIS - Geographical Information Systems - 20th October

Bristol Naturalists' Society is organising a lecture on Wednesday October 20th
Geographical Information Systems
Dr. Andrew Skellern from Bath Spa University
Wills Memorial Building, Bristol at 7.30 p.m.
Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are used to collect, transform and display spatial data from the real world. Spatial data describe objects both in terms of their location (for example: grid reference, longitude and latitude) and their attributes (for example: age, ownership, species). Remote sensing is a subject related to GIS. It is the science of observation of the Earth's surface using images obtained from sensors on board aircraft and satellites.
Talks take place in S H Reynolds lecture theatre, Wills Memorial Building, University of Bristol, BS8 1RJ.

Monday, 11 October 2010

Day Courses October and November 2010

These courses are run by Dr. Nicholas Chidlaw and cost £23.00 per person - further details by email. Pre-course handouts will be available.

Mendip Volcanoes

Dayschool. Saturday 30th October. 10.00 – 5.00 pm.
In the eastern Mendips, and where these hills meet the Bristol Channel, occur rocks erupted from volcanoes during the Silurian and Carboniferous periods. On this field course, examples from both these times will be examined, enabling you to recognise ancient lavas (including submarine ‘pillow’ flows) and beds of rock once laid down as ash. Controversial lava bombs and vent rocks will be studied and discussed. A pre-course handout covering all necessary logistical and geological background information will be sent in good time to those enrolled. No prior knowledge of geology or the area will be assumed.

Study the New Red Desert
Dayschool. Saturday 20th November. 9.00 am – 4.00 pm.
This field-based course will visit several exposures of Permian and Triassic continental strata formed under an arid climate, traditionally known as the ‘New Red Sandstone’. The course aims to take attendees up through the succession from oldest to youngest, examining key changes that occurred in the sedimentary environment over time. These changes include mountain screes, dune sandstones, river sandstones and gravels, and lake deposits. You will be shown evidence for sporadic marine incursions into the desert, which became increasingly common as geological time progressed. A pre-course handout covering all necessary logistical and geological background information will be sent in good time before the course to those enrolled. No prior knowledge of geology or the area will be assumed. Located in the countryside between Gloucester and the Malvern Hills.

These privately run sessions replace those previously offered by the Lifelong Learning Centre of the University of Bristol which closed in 2009.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

News from BGS

A couple of quick announcements to coincide with our 175th Anniversary Science Symposium at the Royal Institution.
A bumper new edition of Earthwise Magazine will be published on Tuesday 28 September. UK government austerity measures mean that, along with many other public sector organisations, we need to make some savings. So until further notice we won't be printing Earthwise magazine. We hope to publish a print edition in the future, but in the meantime you can read Earthwise online.
iGeology is a new free iPhone App that lets you take a geological map of Britain with you wherever you go to help you learn about the rocks beneath your feet. And with the phone's GPS, you'll know exactly where you are. From early 2011 Android smartphone users will also be able to use iGeology.

Engineering Geology of Sustainable Risk Based Land Quality Management - 12th October

Western Regional Group of The Geological Society - Tuesday 12th October 2010, 6.00 for 6.30pm Regional Presentation of the 10th Glossop Lecture
Engineering Geology of Sustainable Risk Based Land Quality Management
Professor C. Paul Nathanail
Paul Nathanail combines research, teaching and consultancy in the roles of Professor of Engineering Geology at the University of Nottingham and Managing Director of Land Quality Management Ltd, with a focus on risk based contaminated land management and sustainable urban regeneration. He holds the Specialist in Land Condition and Chartered Geologist accreditations, as well as chairing the IAEG Commission C20: Risk Based Land Management,
represents the Geological Society on the SILC Professional and Technical Panel and is a director of the CABERNET brownfield regeneration network.
Paul will be presenting a talk based on his 2009 Glossop Lecture on applying the principals of engineering geology to sustainable risk-based contaminated land management. Focusing on the need for greater understanding of the land beneath our feet, it will include an analysis of the risk-based process currently employed in the assessment of land contamination, the development of a skills base and the benefit of applying detailed engineering geology understanding to risk evaluation.
S H Reynolds Lecture Theatre (Room G25), Department of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol, Wills Memorial Building, Queen's Road, Bristol BS8 1RJ
Refreshments will be available from 6 pm.
Further details from the website.

Monday, 4 October 2010

Dinosaur hunting - Thursday 7th October

Don't forget this Thursday's Bath Geological Society lecture 'Cretaceous Dinosaur hunting in North Africa' to be given by Dr. David Martill from Portsmouth University.
The mid Cretaceous Kem Kem deposits of Morocco, and coeval beds elsewhere in Saharan Africa have been yielding dinosaurs for nearly a century, but little science has been done on these remarkably rich deposits. This is about to change. The sequence is dominated by fluvial sandstones, but passes upwards into lacustrine mudstones and eventually becomes a series of shallow water carbonates rich in fossil shells and small fishes. The sandstones contain bone beds of worn and eroded bone fragments, but also layers with articulated remains. Some erosion surfaces are littered with dinosaur teeth and Berber children actively seek these out to sell to passing tourists in Erfoud and Rissani. We now know of at least five different theropod dinosaurs from Morocco including the gigantic Spinosaurus (image) and Carcharadontosaurus.
This talk introduces the Kem Kem dinosaurs and the environment they lived in, and provides a taste of what it is like to hunt dinosaurs in the Sahara Desert.
The talk will be held at BRLSI, 16 Queen Square, Bath at 7.30 p.m. Everyone is welcome - visitors £4.00. Free refreshments will be served after the talk.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Free British Regional Geology Survey 1948 books

GreenSpirit Books & Schumacher Book Service of Warminster have 18 issues of the British Regional Geology Survey 1948 for disposal, gratis. The areas covered are:
Pennines & Adjacent Areas
Welsh Borderland
South-West England
Midland Valley, Scotland
Central England District
Scotland Tertiary Volcanic Districts
East Anglia
East Yorks & Lincs
North Wales
South of Scotland
Wealden District
Bristol & Gloucester
Scotland: Northern Highlands
Grampian Highlands
Hampshire Basin
London & Thames Valley
Northern England
South Wales.
Contact details are on the website

Monday, 27 September 2010

Sad news

Ron Pickford died peacefully in his sleep on the 18th of September. He was almost 90.
Among his many achievements, Ron was largely responsible for saving the BRLSI collections. Click here for some background.
The photo shows Ron with Bev Halstead. Ron was the first recipient of the Halstead Medal from the Geologists' Association.

Sunday, 26 September 2010

New Guide - Vale of Wardour - October 9th

On Saturday October 9th at 2pm there is going to be a field excursion to celebrate the publication of the Wiltshire Geology Group's latest Earth Heritage Guide: Explore the Geology and Landscape of the Vale of Wardour.
Meet at 2.00 p.m. Tisbury Tithe Barn (Grid ref. ST 952 292), DPAS car park. Walk along footpaths for about 3/4 mile to Chicksgrove Quarry to see newly exposed top Portland/early Purbeck algal 'reefs', with huge bivalves & fossil wood.
We will then go to Fovant to look at the Upper Greensand both in buildings and in situ.
Arrive Fir Hill about 4.45pm; walk up to viewpoint at the top of the Greensand (park at entrance to wood) look at shell bed at top of building stone then walk through Fovant looking at Greensand & Chilmark stone buildings.
Further details from WWG website.

Friday, 24 September 2010

Kirtlington Quarry - October 3rd

Public Open Afternoon at Kirtlington Quarry from 1 – 5pm.
Situated down Mill Lane opposite Kirtlington village green & pond. GR SP 494198.
Many fossils have been found here including bones & teeth from dinosaurs, flying reptiles (pterosaurs), sharks & crocodiles. However, the site is world famous for its Middle Jurassic mammal fossils.There is plenty of opportunity to find some of your own Jurassic fossils at Kirtlington as many of the loose rocks at the quarry faces contain lots of fossil shells and fragments of shells.
OGT executive members & young volunteers from the Wychwood V-project will be on hand to explain the geology and industrial history of this important site.Volunteers from the local conservation society, KWACS, will be leading wildlife trails around the quarry. No need to book. We will have a small stand at the event & will be providing hot refreshments.
Further details from Oxford Geology Trust

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Biblical parting of the Red Sea could have happened

One of the most dramatic episodes in the Old Testament, the parting of the Red Sea, may have happened. Click here for more details. A new computer modelling study suggests a powerful wind could have divided the waters just as depicted in the Book of Exodus.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

September events in Oxfordshire

Events organised by the Oxfordshire Geology Trust.
Saturday, 18th September ­ Fossil Hunting trip to Northcot Brickworks near Blockley in Gloucestershire. This quarry is well-known for its abundant fossils, so do consider coming along.
Saturday, 25th September ­ Practical clearance session at Kirtlington Quarry in Oxfordshire in preparation for the public open afternoon we are running on Sunday, 3rd October. This quarry is famous for its mammal, reptile, fish and amphibian fossils. 'Hands-on' sessions are always good fun.
Further details and booking on the website.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Conservation of the Geological Display area at Bradford on Avon

Sunday October 3rd at 10am
Meet at the tea shop by the lock on the Kennet & Avon Canal at Bradford on Avon.
Please bring gloves and hand tools, including brooms.
All volunteers welcome.

Monday, 6 September 2010

A plea for rock thin-section makers

Is there anyone out there who is actively making thin sections or using them regularly? I am an amateur with a 1.5 decades field tripping background, who collected rocks and began making sections some five years ago. I have collected parts of Leitz and Vickers Pol microscopes to build my own for observation and photography and have all the Atlases but I don't have any contacts in the West Country who are into any of this.
I believe that declining interest in amateur petrology has seen not only the end of the Association of Thin Section Makers but UK suppliers of decent machines within the reach of amateurs. I'm lucky to have found post war UK kit and have updated it to work well.
If there is anyone with a matching interest, please contact me, either by email or by posting a comment on this blog.

Yellowstone Hot Spot shreds ancient Pacific Ocean

If you thought the geysers and overblown threat of a supervolcanic eruption in Yellowstone National Park were dramatic, read on: deep beneath Earth's surface, the hot spot that feeds the park has torn an entire tectonic plate in half.
The revelation comes from a new study in the journal Geophysical Research Letters that peered into the mantle beneath the Pacific Northwest to see what happens when ancient ocean crust from the Pacific Ocean runs headlong into a churning plume of ultra-hot mantle material.
Geologically speaking, the Pacific Northwest is a peculiar place. Hot spots usually sit way out on their own in the middle of a tectonic plate (think Hawaii or the Galapagos). Not Yellowstone -- it pokes its way to the surface just a few hundred miles from the edge of the North America plate, where a giant trench sends the Juan de Fuca tectonic plate sliding underneath Washington, Oregon, and northern California. Peering into the middle of this tectonic traffic jam is a tricky business. So scientists, led by Mathias Obrebski of the University of California, Berkeley, had to build an image from seismic waves bouncing around inside the mantle. What they found was a subterranean world filled with violence.
The original data figures are a little hard to look at, but the team built a cartoon representation of what they think is going on down there. Around 19 million years ago, the Yellowstone hot spot first ascended from deep within the mantle. As it neared the surface, it ran into the subducting Juan de Fuca plate. But the Juan de Fuca plate was itself young at the time (there's a mid-ocean ridge just off the coast of Oregon that forms brand new crust to this day), so it hadn't had the chance to fully harden yet. When the crust and hot spot met, the hot mantle plume found a weakness in the plate -- perhaps a pre-existing fracture -- and punched a giant hole through it.
So, who cares? The encounter has had several amazing consequences:-
First, and most obvious, it resurfaced much of northern Nevada, Idaho, and Wyoming over the last several million years in basalt through a series of massive volcanic eruptions. Then there were the tremendous supervolcanic explosions, which coated much of the western U.S. in thick blankets of ash and made the Yellowstone park region what it is today.
Second, the team points out that the rise of the Yellowstone plume also coincided with a large change in the rate at which the crust of the Pacific Ocean dives beneath North America. It's possible that the shattered underlying plate simply didn't pull as much weight anymore, and the subduction zone slowed down.
It's a new chapter in what we know about Yellowstone's legendary power to change the landscape. Not only did its massive eruptions coat North America in ash from Idaho to the Mississippi River, and south almost to the Gulf of Mexico, but its deep plume sent a ripple effect through the very roots of the continent and the Pacific Ocean that fundamentally altered the coastline of the Pacific Northwest.
Thanks to Bernard for this interesting article.

Monday, 23 August 2010

Photos of the Cotswolds gas pipeline

Richard has sent some photos of the installation of the new gas pipeline through the Cotswolds - refer to post of 11th August. These were taken at Winstone. He reports that the geology map gives White Limestone at GR SO968090 (top photo) and Hampen Marly Beds at SO968095 (bottom photo), but passing to Fuller's Earth 100m away from the photo position. A fault is shown 200m away throwing White Limestone up.

Friday, 20 August 2010

Wilshire fossils

Wilshire Heritage Museum, Devizes, has made available on-line records for a large collection of fossils found in Wiltshire in the late 19th century by William Cunnington III, a well-known amateur geologist. He started collecting fossils at the age of seven and his extensive collection, amounting to some 20,000 fossils and geological specimens, is divided between the Wiltshire Heritage Museum and the Natural History Museum in London.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Gas pipe-line through the Cotswolds

A gas pipeline is currently being dug into a route running the length of the Cotswolds. With liaison with the contractors, there could be interesting temporary exposures in nearly all the Middle Jurassic. The pipeline's route has been overlaid on to a geological map, and everything from the Lower Lias to the White Limestone/Great Oolite is crossed, in a trench to take the 1-metre diameter pipe. It will all be filled in soon.
Click here if you would like more details of the route.

NOTE: The following reply has been received about this post:
Members of Gloucestershire Geology Trust tried to get access through the AONB but the contractors are so worried about H&S they will not let anyone on site. The trench is dug, the pipe put in and then backfilled very quickly so the heavy machinery carrying the pipe is working all around the area where the trench has been dug.

11 - 12th September - Tavistock Quarries

Tavistock Quarries
Leaders: Eddie Bailey and Sam Rhodes
Saturday 11th - Sunday 12th September 2010
We will spend the first day in and around Greystone Quarry near Tavistock. We will look at the geology (dolerite sill intruded into the Greystone Formation which is an abyssal siltstone - a stretch of hornfelsed siltstone is clearly visible in the quarry). We may also be able to find one or two outcrops nearby that help expand the local geology being introduced. We will also introduce the quarry workings.
The following day we will visit Meldon Quarry famous for its volcanics, hornfels and slates and complex structure, which has recently had to find a new purpose! The traditional rail ballast contract has been withdrawn due to the recession but investigations found that the quarry had materials that could be worked competitively into the bulk fill market. This will help keep Meldon going until the ballast market resumes. Boreholes were also recently drilled to help elucidate the geology to the south of the current excavations - the first boreholes for years.
Although the cores may not be available for inspection in September (they will have been crushed and tested) they give an opportunity to unravel the enigmatic thrusting and folding that characterises Meldon. We will also introduce the Geodiversity plans we have for Meldon and have lunch at our new rock park!
Booking is required - contact the G.A.

Practical Sustainability in Geo-Science and Engineering

On Wednesday 17th November 2010, 1.30 - 6.30. The Western Regional Group of the Geological Society and the University of Bristol Department of Earth Sciences will hold their first joint annual half-day conference. The theme is 'Practical Sustainability in Geo-Science and Engineering'. This event will be FREE to attend, we just ask that you let us know if you wish to attend as, unfortunately, there is a limit on the numbers.
The conference is proposed to comprise a mixture of:
* Keynote speakers from industry, academia and statutory bodies
* Offered papers and posters
* Networking opportunities
making this a key event for geological professionals in the region.
The aim of the conference is to inspire the geological community in the Western UK though the opportunity to showcase the latest sustainable geological developments, present new research, introduce innovative technologies and in general, share current knowledge of practical ways
sustainability is being addressed within geo-science and engineering.
We are inviting entries for speakers, papers and posters which will enthuse and challenge delegates - entries from all areas of geology are welcome. As suggestions, topics could include:
* Carbon footprinting of geo-engineering projects
* Sustainable brownfield remediation
* Innovative engineering waste management
* Carbon capture and storage
* Climate-proofing geological schemes
Prospective speakers and those wishing to present papers and posters should submit an abstract via e-mail using the attached submission form to the conference convenor. The submission deadline is Wednesday 15th September 2010.
For further details contact the event convenor, Nicola Berry.

Friday, 30 July 2010

Field Geology in South Pembrokeshire

These field trips will be led by Dr. Nick Chidlaw and are thoroughly recommended!
The Pembrokeshire landscape differs from much of Wales in that it is largely unmountainous, with extensive areas forming plateaux lying below 183m (600 ft). This course will visit a number of key coastal locations in south Pembrokeshire, examining rocks formed during the Silurian, Devonian and Carboniferous.
Pre-course handout: the course assumes no prior knowledge of geology or the field locations on the part of attendees. A handout covering all necessary logistical information (including meeting locations) and background information (including list of optional reading) on the geology will be sent to those enrolled a week or two before the course runs. Information on how to study for accreditation (see below) will also be provided in this handout.
Course Dates: Course held entirely in the field. Four days, spread over 2 weekends with a 2 week gap in between. This format allows safe study of beach sections for longer – maximum use of low tides; it also allows people who are working and live within reasonable driving distance to avoid using some of their ‘floating’ holidays. The course is offered for October and dates chosen when low tides are at the most suitable time (c. middle) of the day:
Saturday 9th, Sunday 10th October
Saturday 23rd, Sunday 24th October
Tuition fee per person: £94.00.
Payment: contact Cardiff University Centre for Lifelong Learning tel: 029 2087 0000
Final Enrolment Date: prior enrolment essential to ensure course viability. If you wish to attend, early enrolment is strongly encouraged. If the course reaches sufficient enrolments to make it viable, we can then begin to make accommodation arrangements (see below) – the earlier this date is, the more accommodation is likely to be available from which to choose what suits you best. Final enrolment likely to be 24/9/10 (two weeks before the course is due to run).
Accreditation: University Lifelong Learning courses are supported by government funding, allowing universities to offer these courses, and keep tuition fees as low as possible. In order to maintain funding, attendees are required to undertake some assessed work. On this course, the question paper is designed for quick and simple responses, to be completed in your own time in the 2 weeks following the course. The pass mark is 40%, and in practise, students usually score very highly. They find undertaking assessments helps to consolidate in their minds what they have learned, and enables them to get the most out of their course.
Accommodation and Transport: Attendees organise their own. Please do not make any accommodation arrangements until you are informed if the course is to run or not. Organizing your own accommodation allows you to arrange what suits your personal preference and budget. Sharing transport is a good idea to save costs, and arrangements can be made if you enquire to the University to make contact with other attendees. The recommended general area for accommodation is to the south of a line along the waterway of Milford Haven eastwards to the coastal town of Saundersfoot. Information on accommodation can be obtained from tourist
information centres including one in Pembroke town tel. (01437) 776499 and in Tenby (01834) 842404.

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Nature's Treasures - registration open

Nature’s Treasures 3
Mineralogical Society one day meeting at the Natural History Museum
Sunday 12 December - 10.00 a.m.
Registration £20 includes refreshments and lunch.
Click here for Programme details and registration
Photo:Campylite, courtesy of D. Green

Thursday, 8 July 2010

200 Years of West Country Sea Dragons - 22-24 July

Thursday 22nd - Saturday 24th July 2010, Street, Somerset
200 Years of West Country Sea Dragons: Thomas Hawkins and his fossil legacy
A public lecture, scientific seminar and field trip to be based at the Strode Theatre, Street, on the Somerset Levels. These events will offer a fresh look at Thomas Hawkins, one of the earliest and most successful collectors of marine reptiles from the classic early 19th century localities around Street in Somerset and Lyme Regis on the Dorset coast.
A public lecture, entitled “The Start of Dino Mania: the work of fossil monster hunters Mary Anning of Lyme Regis and Thomas Hawkins of Street” will start events on Thursday 22nd July. Delivered by the world-renowned Historian of Science, Professor Hugh Torrens (Keele University), the lecture will look at the life of Thomas Hawkins of Street and his better known contemporary Mary Anning of Lyme Regis. There will be a small admission charge, but is free to those attending the full seminar the following day.
The main seminar will take place on Friday 23rd July, and will be an expert look at topics ranging from Thomas Hawkins' personal life, the fossils he collected both then and now, and his metaphorical heirs the modern fossil hunters and museum curators. It is anticipated new vertebrate finds, together with posters by the sponsors, and workers and institutions in the south-west of England will be on display. We hope to arrange a visit the Alfred Gillett Collection of local fossil reptiles by kind courtesy of the archives of the Alfred Gillett Trust and/or a guided
walk to some of the remaining local quarry sites (both subject to confirmation).
The seminar will be followed on Saturday 24th July by a field excursion, to see some of the more distant historical quarry sites, the local scenery, and its relation to geological structure; it is anticipated a visit to at least one modern working quarry will be arranged. The field trip is subject to weather conditions, and should these prove unsuitable for the planned visit, an alternative outing will be arranged.
The seminar is open to all, but booking is essential. The conference fee of £35 (reduced to £23 for full-time students and the unwaged) includes tea and coffee, a light lunch on Friday, and free entry to the Thursday evening lecture. There is a small additional charge of £7.50 for the Saturday field trip, for which you will need to provide lunch. The cost of attending the Thursday evening lecture only is £6.50 (£3.50 for full concessions), and can be booked directly with the Strode Theatre by telephoning the Theatre Box Office on (01458) 44 28 46. Please send enquiries to the organisers at email or write to: Dr Leslie Noè (Hawkins Street Seminar), 51, High Street, Oakington, Cambridge CB24 3AG, including your name and address.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Combe Down Tunnel Open Day - July 17th

As its contribution to the Sustrans Connect2 celebrations for 2010, Wessex Water (the current owner of Combe Down Tunnel) has kindly allowed the Two Tunnels Group to hold an open day on Saturday 17 July 2010, during which members of the public are invited to walk through the mile long tunnel before it is transformed to its new role as part of the Two Tunnels Greenway. Everyone is welcome. Walks will start every half hour between 10am and 4pm at the Tucking Mill (southern) end of the tunnel.
Route Walk - Should people prefer to walk the whole 4 mile route between Bath and Midford on the day you can do so, including walking through Combe Down Tunnel (but not Devonshire Tunnel). Meet at the junction of Bellotts Road and the Lower Bristol Road (near the Royal Oak pub) at 10.00.
Booking - To ensure that numbers are properly managed, it is requested that places are booked on our website where further details are available.
Health and Safety - Current health and safety requires hard hats (or something similar) to be worn, so if you have one please bring it: if not one will be provided for you. The tunnel surface is uneven so sensible shoes are recommended. And it‘s very dark inside, so please bring a torch.
Travel - Limited car-parking is available. If you are able to use public transport or bike or walk, please do.
Charge - The event is free, but a small voluntary contribution, suggested at £2 per person, to Wateraid or the Two Tunnels Project, would be appreciated.

Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Can anyone help please?

A teacher has sent this photo taken at Shap. What are the elongate, dark coloured inclusions in the granite at the contact with the host rock? Please put your replies in 'comments' on this post or send them by email.
Many thanks.

Monday, 28 June 2010

Saturday July 3rd - Watchet and area

Bath Geological Society is organising a field trip to the Watchet area on Saturday July 3rd to be led by Prof. Eric Robinson. It will be an excellent day with an introduction to the local rocks by a study of some of the walls in Watchet. We shall then walk eastwards along the cliffs to Holwell Bay and Doniford Beach. Come and join us to find Lias fossils and to try to work out why the Doniford cliffs are made of river gravels. A handout is available on request - email.
Meet at 11.00 at the car park in Harbour Road, Watchet. Packed lunches, waterproof gear, hard hats and strong boots are required. If you have not signed the list at one of the Bath GS meetings and you would like to join us, then please 'phone our field trip organiser - 07712 776117.

Monday, 21 June 2010

Greenhouse to icehouse: 55 million years of Arctic climate

Greenhouse to icehouse: 55 million years of Arctic climate
Dr Ian Harding, University of Southampton
Thursday 1st July, 7.30p.m. BRLSI, 16 Queen Square, Bath
The Arctic is a region critical for its role in modulating global climate, and there has been much recent publicity regarding the changes occurring in high northern latitudes as a consequence of anthropogenically-induced global warming. After touching on some of the predictions made for future Arctic climate conditions, the presentation will focus on what has been learnt recently about the hitherto poorly understood Cenozoic climatic history of the Arctic. The talk will focus on three main events (the Palaeocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum, the Azolla Event and the Eocene-Oligocene greenhouse-icehouse transition), and will be based on research the speaker has conducted on core material from the Norwegian-Greenland Sea and outcrops in the Svalbard Archipelago.
Everyone is welcome to attend this lecture - visitors £4 - free refreshments
Come early; it will be a full house!
The image is from Sci-Tech - thank you

Monday, 14 June 2010

Purbeck - geology, landscape and stone industry

The Dorset RIGS group (DIGS) has produced an educational CD on the geology, landscape and stone industry of Purbeck.
It consists of a series of PowerPoint presentations based on five RIGS sites in Purbeck. Apart from a detailed survey of the five sites including logging by Paul Ensom, there is information on another site in Dorset where Purbeck strata are exposed and the environmental conditions experienced when the Purbeck strata were deposited. The CD can be used at various levels being well illustrated with pictures of Purbeck landscape, quarries and specimens that have been found locally.
The work was carried out over 3 years as a result of the DIGS group's involvement with the Keystone Project through Purbeck District Council and supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The CD has been made available free to Dorset schools and is available to other interested parties for £5 including P& P (cheques made payable to D.I.G.S.) from Alan Holiday (7 Whitecross Drive, Weymouth, Dorset, DT4 9PA).

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

BP Oil Spill Disaster

Click here to view the BP oil spill disaster.

24 July - 31 October - Volcano: from Turner to Warhol

Volcano: from Turner to Warhol at Compton Verney, Warwickshire
This is the first exhibition to celebrate the extraordinary artistic outpourings that volcanic eruptions have triggered over the past five centuries. The exhibition ranges from early engravings, showing imagined cross-sections of the fiery centre of the earth, to an explosive series of paintings by Joseph Wright, J M W Turner and Andy Warhol. It is a chance to examine the presence of volcanoes as geological phenomena and their power and influence, through an exciting range of historic and recent works of art.

26th June - Saltford - A Geological Ramble

Saturday 26 June 2010, 10:00
Saltford - A Geological Ramble
Leader: Simon Carpenter
Saltford is built on Lower Jurassic rocks, which are well exposed in the area and highly fossiliferous.
Simon spent most of his childhood living in Saltford and hopes to share some of his geological knowledge and interest in the town. Using fossils from his own collection and visiting some of the spectacular rock exposures, Simon will unravel some of the town's fascinating geological history.
Meet at 10:00 outside Saltford Post Office (located with other shops along the A4) OS ST683671. The majority of the day will be spent walking around the town, using the comprehensive network of footpaths. Stout footwear is recommended as it may be muddy in places. Lunch stop at the Jolly Sailor Public House. Saltford is served by a regular 'bus service from Bath and Bristol(X39) and the Railway Path, for cyclists. Please consider using one of these means of transport, as parking is limited.
Contact Chris Townson Tel. 01454 778291 (Mobile 07743 125206, on the day) or view the Bristol Naturalists' Society website.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Doctoring Geology - June 3rd

'Doctoring Geology: the Medical Origins of the Geological Society' by Cherry Lewis, University of Bristol - Thursday June 3rd, 7.30p.m. at BRLSI, Queen Square, Bath.
Four of the Geological Society’s 13 founders were medical men: William Babington, James Parkinson, James Franck and James Laird, the Society’s first Secretary. All were physicians and mineralogists except Parkinson, an apothecary surgeon and fossilist. At least twenty per cent of the Society’s early members were also medical practitioners whose prime interest was mineralogy. The subject was taught as part of medical training, required as it was in the fabrication of medicines, thus medical men were drawn into mineralogy and on into geology.
Driven by wealthy mineral collectors and patrons of science like Charles Greville, one reason - perhaps the reason - for founding the Geological Society was to map the mineralogical history of Britain. Towards this endeavour Babington’s expertise in mineralogy brought people together, Laird organised them, and Parkinson was invited because he was not a mineralogist. Franck was unable to participate significantly, being away at war most of the time. The contribution made to the founding of the Geological Society by each of the medical founders will be examined and a biographical sketch of each man reveals the close relationship between medicine and the emergence of this new science of geology.
Everyone welcome - visitors £4 - refreshments included. Cherry's latest book will be on sale after the talk.

Sunday, 30 May 2010

Geological societies in the West Country

A new Society has just been added to the list on this blog - see right-hand panel.
Welcome to the members of the Cheltenham Mineral and Geological Society. It is hoped that all groups in the area will be able to share some field trips next year.

Saturday, 22 May 2010

Countryside 2010 - Fortnight of Discovery

Oxfordshire Geology Trust is organising a free guided walk - Oxfordshire's Geotrail on Sunday, 6th June as part of the Countryside 2010 celebrations taking place in counties across the SE. Please take note of the following summary:
Starting on 29th May: the COUNTRYSIDE 2010 Fortnight of Discovery
The COUNTRYSIDE 2010 fortnight of discovery showcases over 700 events and activities taking place throughout the countryside of South East England from 29th May to 13 June. Choices include taster sessions for new hobbies and sports, tours, tastings and special open days, boat rides and cycle rides, gardens and guided walks galore and more. Many activities are free, or offer a discount to mark this promotion.
The Event Directory has all the details.

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Field trip - Saturday 19th June

Dr. Nick Chidlaw of Cardiff University has kindly agreed to lead this year's WRG annual field trip on Saturday 19th June, 9.00 - 17.00.
The field trip entitled 'A Geological Background for Applied Geology in Gloucestershire' will take a look at two sites:
* Robinswood Hill near Gloucester; and
* Cleeve Hill near Cheltenham
A buffet style lunch will be provided, cost of which will be included in the overall field trip price (to be confirmed based on numbers). Where possible it would be appreciated if you could provide your own transport, however car sharing will also be available.
If you are interested in coming along on the field trip, please contact Francesca Ryan at your earliest convenience (all applications must be made by Friday 11thJune so we are able to confirm numbers with the pub).
If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us. We look forward to seeing you on the 19th June!

Yet more on that volcano

Yet more interesting facts about the eruption of Eyjafjallajokull; click here.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

September 10th to 12th in St David's and N. Pembrokeshire

There are still a few places on Warwickshire Geology Group's weekend field trip to St David's and N.Pembrokeshire - 10th to 12th September 2010.
Leaders: Sid Howells CCW - (Saturday, Abereiddy Ordovician etc)
Ian Fenwick - (Sunday, Abermawr area).
Cost for 2 nights B&B at Ocean Haze Hotel, including dinner on the Friday evening is £120 sharing a twin or double room (single additional cost is £30).
Follow the contact details on the website if you interested.

More on Iceland's Eyjafjallajökull volcano

Try the following links for more information:
Satellite image - zoomable
Fantastic photos
Detailed information.
Thank you to those who sent the links.

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Last minute notice - Triassic Fissures - 12th May

Triassic fissures of Tytherington and Cromhall quarries Field Excursion:
Leader Dr Pam Gill (Earth Sciences, Bristol)
Wednesday 12 May
The fissures of the Bristol Channel are famous for their collections of Late Triassic/Early Jurassic terrestrial vertebrates. These include sphenodonts, tritylodonts and early mammals. A specimen recovered from Tytherington Quarry in the 1970s is known as the Bristol Dinosaur and a recent Heritage Lottery Fund grant of £295,000 will allow this dinosaur to be recovered from the 4 tonnes of rock stored in the Earth Science Dept. This Bristol Dinosaur – The codontosaurus antiquus – is the oldest known dinosaur in Britain and one of the oldest in the world. When it was first discovered in 1834 it was only the fourth dinosaur to be discovered in the world.
For HSE and logistical reasons the numbers attending the trip and number of vehicles need to be known in advance, as well as everyone needing hard hats, Hi-vis vests and goggles to enter the quarry. In addition, the number of vehicles going to the quarries is limited, and travel by minibus by the majority of the group would be preferred.
Thus a booking deadline is needed for this trip:
Deadline for booking attendance on the field excursion, a place on minibus and for required field trip equipment is Monday 3rd May. Approx cost for minibus rental, fuel and field booklet £15; non-minibus participants field booklet cost £5. The trip will depart at 09:30 - details on request. Any person wishing to travel by private vehicle should ensure full occupancy and also provide details of those traveling in the vehicle.
A lunch stop will be made at the Royal Oak pub in Cromhall. If you wish to eat at the pub, please give an indication when booking so that an estimate of numbers can be given.
All enquiries, bookings etc for this trip, and requirements for hard hats etc to be made via or 07889 338658

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

3D model of Iceland's Eyjafjallajökull volcano

Make your own 3D model of Iceland's most famous recent volcano. Click here to read all about the eruption and the subsequent volcanic ash plume - see satellite images and an explanatory video clip.

Monday, 26 April 2010

May 6th - Where Plates go

Have a break from the details of election day and come to the Bath Geological Society's lecture at 7.30 at the BRLSI, Queen Square, Bath. Where Plates go will be discussed by Prof. Tim Elliott from the University of Bristol.
Plate tectonics is a grand paradigm in Earth Sciences that ties together many disparate observations. In order to conserve the Earth's surface area, the creation and movement of oceanic plates is necessarily accompanied by their return (subduction) into the underlying mantle (that comprises 80% of the Earth by volume). The initial passage of the plate into the mantle can be observed seismically, but thereafter the fate of plates remains enigmatic. Do they sink and pile up at the bottom of the mantle or simply get mixed back up in convective flow? In order to attempt to resolve this question geochemists have used an increasingly wide range of natural tracers to see if any hint of ‘recycled’ oceanic crust is ever resampled at the surface. This talk will review some of the techniques behind this endeavour and report on its mixed success.
Everyone is welcome - visitors £4.00 including free refreshment.

Also - don't forget our trip to Tintern Quarry next Saturday
, May 1st.

Monday, 19 April 2010

May 1st - Tintern Quarry

A visit to Tintern Quarry - Saturday May 1st
Leader: David Owen, Head of Geology, Gloucestershire Geology Trust
Tintern Quarry exposes the thickest section of Carboniferous Limestone in the area. The quarry face itself is some 400 ft high, with several benches and haul roads. In the base of the quarry is the Lower Dolomite which has some good dolomite crystals in it. A forestry track circling the quarry provides safe and easy access to a full sequence from Lower Dolomite, through Crease Limestone, Whitehead Limestone, Lower Drybrook Sandstone, Drybrook Limestone and Upper Drybrook Sandstone.
The junction between Lower Dolomite and Crease Limestone is uncertain in this area as dolomitisation has affected both units to a high degree. The Whitehead Limestone is variably porcelaneous, mudflake breccia and dolomitic mudstone, with many stromatolites and a significant palaeosol at the top. Lower Drybrook Sandstone is a coarse gritty sandstone but there are some curious features exposed in the track cutting that the leader will invite suggestions about. Drybrook Limestone is partly oolitic, partly porcelaineous and has palaeokarst within it (nearby is an area of limestone pavement which we could visit if we have time).
Meet at 10.30 am at Tintern Quarry (SO 550 984) Please wear stout walking shoes and suitable outdoor clothing. Bring a packed lunch.
This trip is organised by the Bath Geological Society - free to members of Bath GS, WEGA and Bristol NATs. Visitors £2 - everyone welcome. Please contact the field secretary so he knows to expect you - 07712 776117.

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Dates for your diaries - 8th and 9th May

Saturday 8th May, 2.00 p.m. - Isobel Geddes, Wiltshire Geology Group, is leading a field trip around Alton in the Pewsey Vale. Further details can be found on the website.

Sunday 9th May, 2 - 4.oo p.m. - Behind the scenes at the Museum
Leaders: Philip Powell and Nina Morgan
A rare opportunity to visit the historical archives behind the scenes at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History (OUMNH). The Museum is home to some of the largest collections of maps, letters, diaries and other material related to important nineteenth century geologists, including William Smith, John Phillips and William Buckland. The material that will be on show is rarely displayed to the public.
This event - which is open to all - is organised by The History of Geology Group (HOGG), a group affiliated with the Geological Society of London.
Cost & booking: For space reasons, numbers will be limited to 10. Cost is free to HOGG members; £15 to all others, to include a year's membership of HOGG. (It is not necessary to be a Fellow of the Geol. Soc. to join HOGG). Click here for more information or to register for the visit.

Friday, 9 April 2010

Bytham River Deposits of Lincolnshire - May 15th

This trip is organised by the The Geologists' Association
Bytham River Deposits of Lincolnshire
Saturday 15th May
Leaders: Professor Jim Rose and Jenni Turner

We will be looking at sediments of the ancient Bytham river (pre MIS 12 age) and at evidence for organic deposits between Tills (MIS 12 and 10 age). MIS age refer to quartz luminescence dating for the Anglian glaciation.
Start at 10.30 hrs at the Castle Bytham site - packed lunch or local hostelry, expecting to end about 16:00.
You will need a hard hat and hi-vis jacket.
Cost and Booking: Numbers may be limited. Further details will be available from Sarah Stafford at the GA office. Register with Sarah sending an administration fee of £5 per person to confirm your place.

Click here to view earlier GA trips.