Thursday, 29 November 2012

4th Dec - Adjaristsqali Hydropower Cascade, Georgia

Tuesday 4th December 2012,
'Adjaristsqali Hydropower Cascade, Georgia’,
presented by Finlay Booth of Mott MacDonald.
Located within the Lesser Caucasus of southern Georgia the proposed
Adjaristsqali Hydropower Cascade consists of three schemes with a total installed capacity of 400 MW. This presentation will describe how the Mott MacDonald geotechnical team went about carrying out the geological and geotechnical investigations and how the findings fed into the iteractive design process leading to a final scheme layout, which was quite different to that envisaged at project inception.
Refreshments, including a festive buffet will be available from 6.00 p.m. and the evening lecture will commence at 6.30 p.m. The event is open to non-fellows, so please feel free to invite your colleagues or friends.
Venue: S H Reynolds Lecture Theatre (Room G25), Department of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol, Wills Memorial Building, Queen's Road, Bristol BS8 1RJ.
Contact: For enquiries regarding this event or for any queries regarding the Western Regional Group and forthcoming events please contact us.

Explore Treasures at the Natural History Museum

Discover the history and science of each object in the Treasures collection. Learn what each tells us about our world and the remarkable people who have helped explore and understand it.
Read more

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Things that are built on top of supervolcanoes!

As most people know, Yellowstone, Rockies, USA is a supervolcano capable of exploding into an eruption thousands of times larger than that of 'ordinary' volcanoes, like Mount St. Helens or the one on Montserrat. How many other magma cannons have been built over by oblivious engineers and planners? There are at least six:-

Secret weapons lab, USA - Los Alamos National Laboratory, built almost directly over the supervolcano Valles Caldera

Space Centre - Tanegashima Space Center, the largest rocket facility in Japan, sits on an island very close to the sea floor supervolcano Kikai Caldera
Los Alamos National Laboratory, which housed the development of the Manhattan Project, was built almost directly above a supervolcano dubbed Valles Caldera

Read more:
Los Alamos National Laboratory, which housed the development of the Manhattan Project, was built almost directly above a supervolcano dubbed Valles Caldera

Read more:
Los Alamos National Laboratory, which housed the development of the Manhattan Project, was built almost directly above a supervolcano dubbed Valles Caldera

Read more: Valles Caldera (pValles Caldera (p
Space centre, Japan - Tanegashima Space over the supervolcano Kikai Caldera
National capital - Guatemala City residents wonder which one of the four volcanoes surrounding the city is going to erupt. However, they can't see Atitlan Caldera, a supervolcano 73 miles away

Resort town - Mammoth Lakes, in California's Central Valley, home to the Mammoth Mountain Ski Area and above an active supervolcano, Long Valley Caldera

Naples, Italy - The Phlegraean Fields is a massive areaaround southern Italy; it contains Mount Vesuvius

North Island, New Zealand -  Taupo Caldera, one of the most active supervolcanoes in the world. 80% of the population live on North Island

For full article, click here

Saturday, 17 November 2012

9 - 14 June 2013 - Geology of the North Pennines Field Trip

This will be part of the joint 2013 field trip programme organised by the West of England Geologists' Association, Bristol NATs and Bath Geological Society. We are publishing this early because confirmed reservations and deposits have to be made by Friday 7th December
Click here for full details.
Contact to reserve your place.

An Ice Age is coming - only C02 can save us

A group of Swedish scientists at the University of Gothenburg have published a paper in which they argue that spreading peatlands are inexorably driving planet Earth into its next ice age, and the only thing holding back catastrophe is humanity's hotly debated atmospheric carbon emissions.
"We are probably entering a new ice age right now. However, we're not noticing it due to the effects of carbon dioxide," says Professor of Physical Geography. Lars Franzén, from the Department of Earth Sciences at GothenburgUniversity.
Peatlands grow in height and spread across their surroundings by waterlogging woodlands. They are also one of the biggest terrestrial sinks of atmospheric carbon dioxide. Each year, around 20 grams of carbon are absorbed by every square metre of peatland.
The scientists have calculated that the potential is there for Swedish peatlands to triple in extent, enormously increasing their carbon sink effect. By extrapolating to include the rest of the world's high-latitude temperate areas - the parts of the globe where peatland can expand as it does in Sweden - they project the creation of an extremely powerful carbon sink. They theorise that this is the mechanism which tends to force the Earth back into prolonged ice ages after each relatively brief "interglacial" warm period. Carbon sequestration in peatland may be one of the main reasons why ice age conditions have occurred time after time.
With no other factors in play, the time is about right for the present interglacial to end and the next ice age to come on. Indeed, Franzén and his crew think it has barely been staved off by human activity. The researchers believe that the Little Ice Age of the 16th to 18th centuries may have been halted as a result of human activity. Increased felling of woodlands and growing areas of agricultural land, combined with the early stages of industrialisation, resulted in increased emissions of carbon dioxide which probably slowed down, or even reversed, the cooling trend.
Other scientists have attributed the Little Ice Age to a quiet period in the Sun's activity: others say it was purely a local effect in Europe.
Thus, on a global scale, carbon sequestration in peatlands may have had important climate cooling effects towards the ends of previous interglacials ... It cannot be ruled out that similar effects would be seen in a hypothetical Holocene lacking human presence.
It's probably worth noting that the great physicist Freeman Dyson long ago suggested that only relatively small amounts of new peatland would be enough to sequestrate colossal amounts of CO2 from the air. Other scientists have noted in recent times that brief warming spells like that observed at the end of the 20th century appear to have occurred towards the end of previous interglacial periods - just before the glaciers returned.
If Franzén and his team are right, the big chill is now under way, and is only just being held off by increasing human carbon emissions - perhaps explaining why temperatures have been merely flat for the last 15 years or so, rather than descending.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Dec 6th - Eight Evolutionary Myths: the closing of the Darwinian mind?

Eight Evolutionary Myths: the closing of the Darwinian mind?
Professor Simon Conway-Morris, F.R.S., Department of Earth Sciences, University of Cambridge
Prof. Conway-Morris’ focus of research concerns the study of the constraints on evolution, and the historical processes that lead to the emergence of complexity, especially with respect to the construction of the major animal bodyplans in the Cambrian explosion. His work is central to palaeobiology, but is also of great interest to biologists and bioastronomers, as well as the wider community.
Click here to read 'Rethinking Evolution'
BRLSI, 16 Queen Square, Bath, 7.30 p.m. 6th December
Everyone is welcome - visitors £4 - free refreshments

Nov 16th - Visit to Moon's Hill Quarry and Somerset Earth Science Centre

Bath Geological Society is organising a visit to this quarry on November 16th. There are two places still available.
Please contact our field secretary - email or tel. 07712776117.