Saturday 30 June 2012

The Learning Zone - Oxford University Museum

The Learning Zone is a really good website for young children. The materials are arranged into six themes, animals, insects, rocks, fossils, minerals and funstuff. The latter section has games, trails, jokes and arts and crafts - all excellent for the summer holidays!
The site has been added to the side bar of this blog under 'Geology in Education'

Wednesday 27 June 2012

Plea for photo of Bath hot spring

Has anyone got a photo of the Bath hot spring please? We should like to use it for a new Earthlearningidea 'Water - a matter of taste or a taste of matter'. Your photo will be acknowledged in the activity.
If you can help, please email.

Monday 25 June 2012

Loch Ness monster cited by some US schools as evidence that evolution is myth

Thousands of American school pupils are to be taught that the Loch Ness monster is real – in an attempt by religious teachers to disprove Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.
Pupils attending privately-run Christian schools in the southern state of Louisiana will learn from textbooks next year, which claim Scotland’s most famous mythological beast is a living creature.
Thousands of children are to receive publicly-funded vouchers enabling them to attend the schools – which follow a strict fundamentalist curriculum.
The Accelerated Christian Education (ACE) programme teaches controversial religious beliefs, aimed at disproving evolution and proving creationism. Youngsters will be told that if it can be proved that dinosaurs walked the earth at the same time as man, then Darwinism is fatally flawed.
Critics have slammed the content of the religious course books, labelling them “bizarre” and accusing them of promoting radical religious and political ideas.
Read more

Saturday 23 June 2012

Mystery Fossil

Animal, vegetable or mineral? Strange and beautiful formations in the rocks at Wembury Point have generated interest from the scientific community and locals alike. These patterns look like the fossils of sea creatures such as jellyfish or corals. If so, they could change our whole understanding of the conditions in which these rocks were formed.
Read more

Thursday 21 June 2012

Box Rock Circus - good news!

We are delighted to be able to report that we now have full funding for this wonderful, very exciting project. Please refer to the funding page of our website for full details.
Work will begin on July 16th and should be completed in the week of August 6th. There will be an official opening in the autumn; further details later.
Also, there will be a display, hosted by Bath Geological Society and Wiltshire Geology Group, at the GA's Festival of Geology on November 10th.
Many thanks to all blog readers who have helped with the project and have given support.

Tuesday 19 June 2012

British Pterosaur material - can you help?

Can anyone help a first year PhD student from the University of Portsmouth. He is working on a UK based pterosaur project. As part of his thesis, he is trying to track down all the British pterosaur material that he can find, especially material of Jurassic age. Do any of you have any fossils related to his work?
Please contact him if you can help with some information or maybe some photos.

Mendips AONB - 7th-8th July

Martin Whiteley has kindly offered to lead a weekend Field Trip to the Mendips on behalf of the Geological Society South West Regional Group.
The trip will include: 
7th July - Burrington Combe, Banwell Bone Caves and Western Mendip 8th July - Doulting, Tedbury Camp/Vallis Vale and Eastern Mendip.
To book your place - please contact Ruth Easterbrook (Geological Society representative) by 'phone 01761 462390 or by email.
Costs - There will be a charge of £35 per person, which includes the cost of the minibus, the visit to Banwell Bone Cave (which is a private arrangement and includes lunch) and the field guide prepared by Martin to cover the weekend. Cheques should be made payable to 'Geological Society South West Regional Group' and sent to Ruth Easterbrook, 12 The Old Water Gardens, Blagdon, North Somerset, BS40 7SN. Alternatively if you wish to pay by electronic transfer, please contact Ruth Easterbrook.

Wednesday 13 June 2012

Geological holidays

GeoWorld Travel is a new company offering the following destinations: Jan Mayen, Svalbard, East Greenland, the Pyrenees, the Amazon, Antarctica, South Georgia and the Falklands, and Wales. More destinations will be coming later and geology field trips can be tailored for your group. The East Greenland trip is running from 27 August to 08 September 2012. Due to a last minute change of vessel, there are still several free berths, and the company is able to offer places at 30% off the published prices, making the trip affordable for many people.
So why should you go on this trip? Well East Greenland is a truly awe inspiring destination. There is an almost complete sedimentary succession stretching back for the last 1.5 billion years. Due to the incredible completeness of this record, many of the Earth's most important stories can be seen on this trip. On top of this the story is set in jaw-dropping scenery, with wildlife such as the Polar Bear and Inuit Culture. Key geological features that can be seen on this trip include 3 billion year old basement rocks, 1,900 m high stripy cliffs formed from 900 million years old sediments, Devonian sandstone where the famous fossils that link the amphibians to fish were found, Mesozoic rocks that have revealed dinosaurs and ammonites, columnar basalt in the lava flows from the splitting of the Atlantic and amazing icebergs and glaciers. Please see the website for photos and a fully itinerary.
If you are interested in joining me on this trip or any other please email or call: 01792 232297.

Sunday 10 June 2012

Plea for a treasurer for Bath Geological Society

The Bath Geological Society is urgently seeking a new treasurer. Our wonderful, current treasurer advised us that he wanted to step down from the post last February at our A.G.M. So far, we have been unable to find a replacement. This is not an onerous job - PLEASE consider taking it on - email our administrative secretary for details.

Wednesday 6 June 2012

Violent birth of the Earth and the source of precious metals

Don't forget this talk this Thursday 7th June. It will be given by Dr. Matthias Willbold from the University of Bristol.
You can read a comprehensive abstract of the talk on the Bath Geological Society website.
7.30, Queen Square, Bath
Everyone welcome - visitors £4 - free refreshments

Meridiana, Bologna

Following his comment on the post of 30th May 'Recent Italian earthquakes', Richard has now sent further information:-
"The church is the Basilica of San Petronio in Bologna, and the optical arrangement is known as "The Meridiana".  It is admirably described in a book "The Meridiana in the Basilica of San Petronio", written by Giovanni Paltrinieri and translated into English by John Heilbron, and is published by Basilica di San Petronio, Bologna.
The pinhole image of the sun, through a hole in the roof projects on to the nave floor and the instrument was built in 1655 by Gian Domenico Cassini, who was a well-known astronomer of the time.  Its purpose was to measure several things, principally the moment the sun was due south.  This moment was used to set the area's clocks for the ringing of the hours etc and for general astronomy too.  It also was so accurate (for its day) that it detected the diminution or convergence of the Obliquity of the Ecliptic, which is the 22,000-year cycle forming one of the three orbital forcing mechanisms effecting climate change, especially in the Quaternary Ice Age, but also seen eg in chalk/clay couplets within the Cenomanian Chalk."

Tuesday 5 June 2012

Beaminster Museum - Horn Park NNR

Conservation, Horn Park 2011 (Alan Holiday)
Horn Park National Nature Reserve (NNR) is a couple of miles west of Beaminster in west Dorset. It is the smallest NNR in the country (0.32ha) but distinguished by being a world-famous site for its Jurassic ammonite fossils. It provides the most complete record of Mid-Jurassic ammonites in the country. With financial help from the Geologists' Association Curry Fund this site now its own dedicated display in Beaminster's volunteer-run museum. The site, an old quarry, is very poorly known and is remote from the town and without public access. Also, with no interpretive materials available, the complex science and geology of the quarry could not be readily understood or made available. Alan Holiday and Bob Chandler have donated ammonites for the display.
 Inferior Oolite, Horn Park, now in Museum (Alan Holiday)
Beaminster is about 10km north of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage site. The Beaminster museum collection is a useful addition to the Jurassic Coast displays in Lyme Regis and Honiton museums.
The exhibition's centrepiece is a representation of the stratigraphic profile of Horn Park's Inferior Oolite deposits of the Bathonian, Bajocian and Aalenian Stages. Ammonites are displayed in their correct relative positions (depths) in the profile. There is much more, including fossils that can be handled by visitors.