Monday 28 February 2011

Ancestor's Trail - Quantock Hills - 29th May

The second Ancestor's Trail event in the Quantock Hills in Somerset is being organised. Last year's event was part of the International Year of Biodiversity project but also had strong links with the Darwin 200 celebrations and the Darwin Trust. It is based on Darwin's evolutionary tree and was originally inspired by Richard Dawkin's book 'The Ancestor's tale'. The organiser became fascinated by the prospect of establishing a physical representation of our collective 3.7 billion year journey here on earth; a scientific pilgrimage if you will.
This year our Trail takes place on the 29th May and we'd really like to include some sort of Geological perspective, hopefully including fossils. We are looking for volunteers to give some much needed geological expertise along the trail. 
A little more information: Imagine the evolutionary tree of life, with each of its many branches bristling with many thousands of leaves, each representing a single life form. Manipulate this image so that the tree lies flat along the spine of some rolling hills in Somerset, UK; its branches approximately lining up with its many footpaths. Now add 'pilgrims' to many disparate locations representing particular groups of living things and, with a little pre-planned choreography, set them off on a symbolic journey to the 'dawn of life'. As they walk backwards along their branches towards its trunk, they firstly re-unite with close relatives, and then with more distant cousins, eventually coalescing into a merry throng at the origin of life. And where will this origin be? A beach called Kilve, liberally scattered with fossils. Although I have carefully designed the trail to maintain, at all times, its scientific integrity, I am also very keen to explore this huge panorama through the medium of the Arts.
The 2011 trail will therefore include musical contributions along the trail at our biological rendezvous to broaden its appeal.
Contact Bristol Naturalists if you can help.

Holidays and geology

How can you incorporate some geology into your holidays with only a little research. This talk by Roger Steer, the Geology section President, will take place at the Wills Memorial Building, Bristol on 16th March.
Further details.

Friday 25 February 2011

Do you know about Geograph?

Geograph is a national photography/geography project. Every one km grid square in the UK is to be photographed and recorded and it is all free!

Saturday 19 February 2011

Brown's Folly, Bathford - February 26th

Bath Geological Society is organising a trip to Brown's Folly on Saturday 26th February.
Brown’s Folly Nature Reserve consists of 91 acres of land on the hillside overlooking the valley of the River Avon about half a mile south-east of the village of Bathford. It is owned by the Avon Wildlife Trust and has been designated as a site of special scientific interest (SSSI) because of the Middle Jurassic rocks, plants and wildlife that can be found there. Extensive limestone extraction on the reserve, largely by mining, was carried out in the past, the stone being used for building and known as Farleigh Stone. This activity, long discontinued, has left the rock exposed at many sites enabling it to be examined. The study of the different strata of rock and the fossils they contain has made it possible to establish when they were formed and to build up a picture of what the area would have looked like at the time. The walk lasts about two hours and takes you back in time about 160 million years.
The morning is also our annual clear-up of the Geological sites on this SSSI reserve. If you know the site well and do not want to join the tour, then please come along with gardening tools and help to keep the sites open for others.
Meet at 10.00 a.m. at Brown's Folly Car Park (G.R. ST 798663). Strong boots are required.
Members free - £2.00 for visitors (for insurance cover).

Friday 18 February 2011

Geotourism Conference - March 7th

Don't forget to book for this Conference - further details.
All the speakers are confirmed; it will be an enjoyable and informative day.

Thursday 17 February 2011

ECOS Stones, Frome

Completed in 1992, the amphitheatre next to Frome Community College and the Merlin Theatre deserves better recognition. Few people know about the twelve huge monoliths surrounding the site - why are they there - where did they come from - what do they mean? The answers to all these questions can be found on the 'ECOS Stones, Frome' link from the Bath Geological Society website. It is a great pity that this wonderful resource has been so under-used in the last 19 years. There is no information board to explain the project and no leaflets are available. A tremendous amount of time and effort went into this venture and now the stones are looking neglected and weathered. It would be relatively easy to clean them. Please contrast their state today with the photos on the website. Is there anything we can do?
Your comments and suggestions would be appreciated.

Friday 11 February 2011

Look at the geology around your house!

Have you tried the British Geological Survey OpenGeoscience site?
Click on MAPS
Enter your postcode in SEARCH MAPS (bottom right hand corner)
The bar at the top enables you to vary the transparency from the satellite photo to the geological map or anything in between. The key is also on the top bar.

Wednesday 9 February 2011

Geology of Blaise Castle Estate

Blaise Castle Estate Rangers are trying to find someone who may be interested in leading a public guided walk around the estate (Bristol) focussing on the geology of the limestone gorge and the estate. We run a programme of events at Blaise and feel we have a special feature with the Gorge that may attract members of the public.
Please email if you can help.

15th February - A Bug's Life

The Western Regional Group of The Geological Society would like to invite you to a Geological Society evening lecture, A Bug's Life: the Role of Micropalaeontology in Industrial Problem Solving, presented by Professor Malcolm Hart, University of Plymouth. This event is taking place next Tuesday evening (Tuesday 15th February).
Micropalaeontology, the study of microscopic fossils, has been used extensively for many years by the hydrocarbon industry for the stratigraphical correlation of rock successions, particularly in cores recovered from boreholes. However, many quarrying or engineering projects also require stratigraphical "control". Malcolm Hart, Emeritus Professor of Micropalaeontology at the University of Plymouth, together with David Carter and Professor Peter Fooke utilised micropalaentological techniques during the site investigation for the Thames Barrier, and in 1973-1974 and during the 1980s while working with TransManche Link on the construction of the Channel Tunnel. This talk demonstrates the importance of micropalaentology during the site investigation and construction works for major engineering projects, using these two leading UK engineering projects as examples.
Over a research career of 45 years Malcolm has published around 200 research papers and edited 8 books: one of which is the definitive work on the Channel Tunnel. He is a Chartered Geologist and a Chartered Scientist. From 2000 to 2005 he served on the Council of English Nature and is closely involved with the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site and the English Riviera Geopark. He has recently been awarded Honorary Membership of The Micropalaeontological Society and the Jean Baptiste Lamarck Medal of the European Geosciences Union for 2011.
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.

Monday 7 February 2011

6th March - Bradford on Avon clay pit

Bradford on Avon Museum is holding a William Smith Exhibition in 2011 and there are going to be events celebrating this. In 2008 the Wiltshire Geology Group spent a day excavating a site alongside the canal at Bradford-on-Avon Clay pit. The site now requires a tidy-up and the Kennet & Avon Canal Trust volunteers have arranged work party dates throughout January, February and March.
WGG has arranged to help with the tidy-up on Sunday 6th March 2011 at 10am at the canal/marina tea room by the lock on the Kennet & Avon Canal at Bradford on Avon.

If you are interested and are able to help please bring gloves and hand tools, including brooms.
All volunteers welcome.

Friday 4 February 2011

Mendip Rocks!

The Somerset Wildlife Trust and Wells and Mendip Museum are collaborating on a brilliant project called Mendip Rocks! An Earth caching trail will be developed across the AONB landscape. An EarthCache, unlike most Geocaches has no traditional cache container or a log book. The purpose of an EarthCache is to share information about a particular geological feature of our planet Earth, and the object is to learn something about it. When an EarthCache is visited, participants will learn something interesting about the geology and in this case how this has influenced the biodiversity of the area. Investigative work will be required to answer questions in order to ‘claim’ the cache online.
Experience elsewhere has shown that this innovative adventurous method of interpretation attracts new audiences into the countryside and encourages their appreciation of it. This is a cost effective way of producing interpretive material and is aimed at an audience that might not otherwise access interpretation. The caches will be located on SWT reserves in the first instance to determine the success of the approach. Caches will be targeted at robust environments in open access land or on public rights of way to avoid potential damage to features that are being interpreted.
Help is needed! SWT needs assistance to write the geological interpretive information and upload this on to the Earthcache website. If you are interested contact SWT

Wednesday 2 February 2011

Making and Breaking Mountains - February 3rd

Making and Breaking Mountains - talk to be given by Dr. Tom Argles from the Open University.
What do you need to make a mountain? Come to that, what exactly is a mountain? How do we define some lumps in the landscape as hills, and others as mountains? How long do they last? Answers to the questions above, some of them potentially correct, will be peppered through this richly illustrated talk.
Bath Geological Society AGM at 7.00 p.m. followed by this talk at 7.30 p.m
BRLSI, 16 Queen Square, Bath - everyone welcome - visitors £4.