Saturday 28 April 2012

Sea sediments tell seismic story

Previous earthquakes that rivalled the March 2011 Tohoku tremor in size may be recorded in sediment samples just recovered from the seafloor off Japan. A German-led scientific cruise obtained the cores from 16 different locations, some of them at a water depth of 7.5km. The sediments hint at three major disturbances on the ocean bed that could be the result of the submarine landslides often seen with big quakes.
Read more

Devon tungsten mine

Wolf Minerals took a step towards its goal of turning a rusting Devon mine into a global player which could challenge the Chinese stranglehold on tungsten.
The rising prise of tungsten means the AIM-listed company is busy trying to get the Hemerdon Mine (above), back into production. It sits on the world's fourth largest deposit of the metal according to the British Geological Survey.

Wednesday 25 April 2012

Lyme Regis Museum Fossil Festival Programme - May 5th and 6th

See superb fossils and William Buckland’s coprolite table. Discover the extraordinary story of Mary Anning and see archives that shed light on the geologists she associated with – this weekend only from Museum of Wales.
SATURDAY and SUNDAY 10am-4pm
Ammonite Polishing
Polishing has never been this much fun – turn your ammonite into the most glittery fossil of all time, with help from Paddy, Chris, Harry and Ben.
Small charge for the ammonite.  Venue: marquee.
SATURDAY and SUNDAY 11am-3pm
Paint your own Fossil Plaster Cast
Make and take home – family fun activities with Phil Anslow.
Small charge for materials.  Venue: marquee.
SATURDAY 9.45am and SUNDAY 10.45am
Family Fossil Hunting Walk
Get hands-on on the Jurassic Coast with the museum’s celebrity fossil hunters Paddy Howe and Chris Andrew. Educational and fun. Maximum of 15 people per guide. Walk takes 3 hours.
To book – telephone 01297 443370 or email
Adults £10, Children £5.  Meet at museum.
SATURDAY 11am and SUNDAY 3pm
Mary Anning and her Geologist Friends
Share the thoughts of the 19th-century gentlemen fossil hunters who became Mary Anning’s friends. Illustrated by archives from National Museum of Wales, Tom Sharpe talks about the unusual relationships between Mary Anning and Buckland, Conybeare and De la Beche.
FREE no booking required. Suitable for age 12 and above.  
Venue: museum.
Dinner with Dr Buckland
Nineteenth-century scientist-clergyman William Buckland boasted that he had eaten his way through the whole of animal creation. Neither sentimentality nor revulsion stopped him devouring slices of crocodile, hedgehogs, puppies and mice. Join him for dinner! Harry Ford plays Dr Buckland in a performance of William Plomer’s outrageous comic verse.
FREE no booking required.  Venue: museum.
Mary Anning Walk
Explore the paths and streets of Old Lyme as Mary Anning knew them with guide Natalie Manifold. Walk takes about 1½ hours.
To book – telephone 01297 443370 or email
Adults £6, Children £3.  Meet at museum.

SATURDAY 3pm and SUNDAY 11am
What Kept Ammonites Afloat?
Insight into the lifestyle of Lyme’s quintessential fossils; how they lived, were bitten and played host to hitch-hiking worm tubes! A reconstruction of the lifespan of an ammonite, by Prof Chris Paul.
FREE no booking required. Suitable for age 12 and above.  
Venue: museum.

Tuesday 24 April 2012

Tough times ahead for Geoconservation

This article (click here) outlines the challenges facing geoconservation groups as they juggle the need to identify and care for Local Geological Sites whilst communicating something of the awe and wonder of our geological heritage to members of the public. It is based on a presentation given at the recent Geologists’ Association Conference in Worcester on behalf of The Geology Trusts and GeoConservationUK, organisations that support about 60 geoconservation groups operating across the UK.

Sunday 22 April 2012

Geology teaching collection

Geology teaching collection for disposal: a school in Sheffield, cannot see its way to restarting a geology course, so the excellent teaching collection is now available free to anyone who can demonstrate a need for it, with preference being given to those who are in the early stages of building up a course in a school or 6th Form College.
The collection consists of a wide range of minerals, rocks and fossils, packed into 40 stacking mushroom boxes, a limited amount of equipment, and a range of geological maps, including some multiple copies.
Email to enquire further and to arrange collection.

Somerset Good Rock Guide

PLEASE NOTE - the Somerset Good Rock Guide has changed location. It can now be viewed from the home page of the Bath Geological Society's website or can be found directly here.

Friday 20 April 2012

Dinosaurs became extinct because they were egg-laying

Dinosaurs laying eggs caused their mass extinction millions of years ago, scientists have said, while live birthing mammals went on to thrive. The catastrophic event that wiped out all larger life forms some 65 million years ago meant the end for terrestrial dinosaurs. In a new explanation for mammals' evolutionary victory over dinosaurs, researchers said a mathematical model has shown that infant size was the clincher. Given physical limitations to egg size, dinosaurs had comparatively small young. Some came out of the egg weighing as little as two to 10 kilograms, yet had to bulk up to a hefty 30 or 50 tonnes.
Read more

UK has vast shale gas reserves

Britain may have enough offshore shale gas to catapult it into the top ranks of global producers, energy experts now believe, and while production costs are still very high, new U.S. technology should eventually make reserves commercially viable. UK offshore reserves of shale gas could exceed one thousand trillion cubic feet (tcf), compared to current rates of UK gas consumption of 3.5 tcf a year, or five times the latest estimate of onshore shale gas of 200 trillion cubic feet.
Read more

Wednesday 18 April 2012

St. Briavels Geology - 28th April

Geostudies Field Course – Geology around St Briavels
Saturday 28th April 2012 (10am-5pm) cost £20
This field course is set in a beautiful part of the Wye Valley, and the associated plateau, and will concentrate on the geological sequence of Devonian and Carboniferous rocks, their structure, and their effect on the scenery. Highlights include the setting of the castle, the petrified waterfalls of the Slade Brook and the abandoned incised meander of the Wye.
Further detail on the Geostudies website.
Please let Dave Green know of your interest a.s.a.p. so he can decide whether or not the trip is viable. One week before the date of the trip meeting time, place and further information will be emailed to all participants.

WEGA - 24th April

Don’t forget the WEGA AGM is on Tuesday 24th April at 19:30 in Reynolds Theatre, Wills Memorial Building.
Following the AGM, Graeme Churchard will give an illustrated talk about his exploits on his recent round the world trip.
The meeting will end with wine and cheese.

Tuesday 17 April 2012

Dates - Bath Geological Society

Thursday May 3rd 
Virtual Fossils: soft-bodied sensations from the Silurian 
Professor Derek Siveter, University of Oxford 
A talk not to be missed! - digital images of the specimens are combined by the computer to reconstruct the animal in minute detail as a ‘virtual fossil’ that can be examined interactively on screen, and the computer reconstructions of the various specimens can even be turned into large-scale physical models.

Saturday May 26th
The layout and plants of Stourhead are largely explained by the underlying geology.
Bruce Buswell, Bath Geological Society
A field trip not to be missed!

Further details of both these events can be found on our website
£4 for visitors to the lecture and £2 for visitors on the field trip.

Dates - Bristol NATs geology section

Tuesday May 8th - 150th Anniversary Dinner
Help Celebrate our 150th year.!
There are a few place remaining, and bookings must close on 21 April, latest. Don't put it off any longer. Be part of this historic event. at an historic venue, with good food and an exciting speaker.  For those who missed the Lord Mayor on 14 April, there will be another opportunity to see him at the dinner!  Tickets are £25/head.
Contact the Treasurer - Steve Fay, email or 01179214280

Saturday 26th May, 10.30 a.m.
Leader: Richard Ashley

Meet at 10.30 am in the car park near East Quantoxhead Church ST137 436. Coming from Bridgwater on the A39 go through the village of Kilve. The turning for East Quantoxhead, Frog Street, is approximately ¾ miles on your right at Town’s End. If this turning is missed the next right turn does just as well.
Further details - on website or email

Thursday 12 April 2012

Early Geology

Early Geology - 12 April - Radio 4
Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the emergence of geology - the study of the Earth, its history and composition. Although geology only emerged as a separate area of study in the late 18th century, many earlier thinkers had studied rocks, fossils and the materials from which the Earth is made. But how did such haphazard study of rocks and fossils develop into a rigorous scientific discipline? Melvyn Bragg is joined by Stephen Pumfrey, Senior Lecturer in the History of Science at Lancaster University; Andrew Scott, Professor of Applied Palaeobotany at Royal Holloway, University of London and Leucha Veneer, Research Associate at the Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine at the University of Manchester.
The podcast can be downloaded at any time.

Thursday 5 April 2012

17th April - Practical Approach to Rockfall Management

The Geological Society Western Regional Group would like to invite you to an evening lecture on Tuesday 17th April. 'A Practical Approach to Rockfall Management', presented by Simon Collins of Aggregate Industries.
Rockfall is the only category of slope instability where current regulations do not require the quarry operator to seek advice from a geotechnical specialist even when a 'significant hazard' may be present. It therefore often falls to site management to deal with the hazard posed by rockfall. There is currently no analytical system for the appraisal of rockfall in quarries that is easily accessible to the non geotechnical specialists who conduct the vast majority of face inspections.  If the industry has no way of quantifying or measuring the hazard posed by rockfall, how are we to manage that hazard?
Simon discusses the Rockfall Hazard Appraisal System (RHAS), a simple, rapid, visual method of quantifying the hazard from rockfall and testing how various mitigation measures could reduce the hazard.  The system can also clearly identify when a geotechnical specialist must be consulted.
Refreshments will be available from 6.00 p.m. followed by the evening lecture which will commence at 6.30 p.m. (for approximately 1 hour).  The event is open to non-fellows, so please feel free to invite your colleagues or friends.   The venue is S H Reynolds Lecture Theatre (Room G25), Department of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol, Wills Memorial Building, Queen's Road, Bristol BS8 1RJ.

Wednesday 4 April 2012

Millstone search

We should really like a local millstone for Box Rock Circus. Does anyone have one or know where we can find one please? Contact email

Monday 2 April 2012

Hot Deserts of the Past - 13th May

Since its formation some 400 million years ago, that part of the plate which became the British Isles has slowly ‘drifted’ northwards by the agency of plate tectonics from the southern hemisphere to its present position. In doing so, it has passed through both hot arid latitudes either side of the equator. This field-based day course looks at river channel and floodplain deposits of Silurian / Devonian age, and desert screes of Triassic age, which were laid down under such climates. The course focuses on two excellent exposures which are designated SSSIs by Natural England either side of the Severn estuary: Lydney Cliff (N of Chepstow - immature calcrete/dolocrete shown in photo) and Kilkenny Bay (near Portishead). In both exposures, contemporaneous calcareous fossil soils are preserved, which at Lydney are recognized as some of the best know in the world. Both sites are tidal; this date and times being suitable for safe visits.
A handout outlining the day’s programme, including location sketch maps, optional reading list, geological history, information on calcareous soil development, and the tutor’s logs of the strata will be forwarded to those enrolled.     
Please note that you would need to:
- Arrange your own transport (note the day involves crossing the old Severn Bridge and bridge toll)
- Bring your own packed lunch, and any refreshments (e.g. flask of coffee, fruit juice, mineral water etc.).
- Wear strong footwear with good tread and ankle support, and warm waterproof clothing if weather is poor.
- Hard hat (we would be adjacent to cliff exposures for most of the trip) – if you do not possess one of these, let me know in advance and I will provide you with one.
You would be insured against accident whilst at the field locations to be visited during the day.
Dr. Nick Chidlaw is proposing to run the above, if there is sufficient interest and availability of people to make the course viable: contact by email.
The course has a fee of £25.00 per person.
The deadline for the minimum number (10) of enrolments is Saturday 21st April  (3 weeks before the course is due to run).

Sunday 1 April 2012

Thursday 5th April - Tidal circulation in ancient epicontinental seas

Further details of this lecture by Dr. Peter Allison, from the Earth Science and Engineering Dept at Imperial College, London can be found on the Bath Geological Society's website.
The lectures starts at 7.30 p.m. at 16 Queen Square, Bath. Everyone is welcome - £4 for visitors. Free refreshments.