Wednesday 31 December 2014

March 2015 - Two one-day courses - Scotland and Cotswolds

Nick Chidlaw is offering two 1–day courses next March, using a format that has pleasingly attracted many students on previous occasions; these are indoor-based, and describe field areas to which Nick has run courses in the past. One of them describes a particularly striking example of volcanic geology in east central Scotland, the other focuses on the diverse strata deposited during the Ice Age in part of the west of England, many of which are only occasionally exposed. The courses may be attractive particularly to people who are not in a position to visit field locations, e.g. insufficient time available because of family/work commitments, health problems, or may be interested in the opportunity to study lithologies from exposures that are no longer extant. Each course would comprise powerpoint-based lectures, together with examination of hand specimens of relevant mineral and rock types, and published geological maps of the field areas. The hand specimens have been collected by the tutor in the field areas described.
The venue is the Buckingham Room (single storey building by the car park) at The Chantry, 52 Castle Street, Thornbury, South Glos. BS35 1HB.  Tel: (01454) 414268. See venue website for further details, including location map.
On each course attendees would bring their own packed lunch and other refreshments, or go into the town for lunch.
These two 1–day courses have a fee of £25.00 each.
If you / anybody else you know would like to attend either or both of these offered courses, please contact Nick Chidlaw.
Please note: these courses are to run on the same weekend, but are independent of each other; you can enrol on both if you wish to, or one of them, according to your interests / availability.
The deadline for the minimum number (10) of enrolments is Saturday 7th February (4 weeks before the courses are due to run). Maximum number of attendees on each course 30. If the minimum number for each course is reached by this deadline, the arrangements will be able to continue, if not, the course(s) not reaching viability will be cancelled, and fees received will be returned to those who sent them in, soon after. Enrolments above the minimum numbers for each course will be able to continue for up to 1 week before it is due to run.

Saturday 7th March. 10.00 am – 5.00 pm

From latest Devonian times, through the Carboniferous period and into Early Permian times, the crust of what is now northern Britain was firstly stretched, later compressed and finally stretched again by plate tectonic forces. These forces caused movement on major geological fault systems, releasing pressure in the crust and allowing magmas to rise from inside the earth, both into the adjacent crust and onto the surface above. In Scotland, from c. 350 million years ago during the early Carboniferous, this igneous activity continued episodically for the next 100 million years producing, besides intrusive rocks such as the enormous Midland Valley Sill-complex, over 6600 cubic kms of lavas. Most of the magma generated was of ‘mafic’ (magnesium and iron rich) composition, crystallizing as dolerites and basalts, and associated pyroclastics. During this time, the crust that became the British Isles was located in equatorial latitudes, and central Scotland was occupied mostly by swamp, lake and river systems in which abundant plant debris produced carbon-rich sediments. The interaction of the magmatic activity with these sediments and environments produced some striking results, including the formation of curious carbonate rocks called ‘white trap’, and catastrophic explosions of ‘Surtseyan’-type when magma erupted up into water.  Across the eastern part of the county of Fife, an impressive number of discrete volcanic centres (over 100 recognised) occur, many along the coast where their interior ‘architecture’ can be examined in excellent exposures. This indoor day describes cryptovents and collapsed tuff-rings from the Fife and East Lothian coasts, sub-volcanic plugs at the Lomond Hills and North Berwick, basalt and spilite lavas at Kinghorn, and the volcanic complex at Arthur’s Seat, overlooking central Edinburgh.             
A handout outlining the day’s programme, and a list of optional suggested reading, will be provided on the course. No prior knowledge of geology or the study area is assumed. 

Sunday 8th March. 10.00 am – 5.00 pm

The Quaternary corresponds to the geological period we are currently living in; it includes what is popularly known as ‘The Ice Age’, together with the much milder climatic episode that began when the last glaciers in the British Isles disappeared, and which continues to the present day. The Quaternary period is currently accepted internationally to have begun about 2.6 million years ago, and is divided into two major parts: the Pleistocene epoch (corresponding to ‘The Ice Age’), and the post-glacial Holocene epoch, divided at about 8,000 years ago.  Detailed studies show that The Ice Age was in fact composed of cold or glacial conditions alternating with interglacial climates as warm, or warmer, than today, each of these alternations lasting tens of thousands of years. In Britain as elsewhere, this climatic ‘restlessness’ has had dramatic consequences: as ice sheets have grown and retreated, they have changed sea levels, caused extensive erosion of the earth’s crust, movement and deposition of the resulting sediments, caused the crust itself to sink and rise, river systems to drastically change their courses as well as downcutting or infilling their valleys, and forced animal and plant life to migrate, leading in some cases to extinction.
Erosion in the British Isles has been very extensive during the Quaternary, so that deposits older than about 600,000 years are very fragmentary. In the uplands such as in Scotland and Wales, repeated glacial action has successively modified landforms and removed older Quaternary sediments, resulting in a limited legacy from which to deduce events. In the lower lands of eastern and southern England, where glaciers reached their maximum extents, the landforms and sediments are better preserved, and the oldest and most diverse record can be found. The Severn Vale and Cotswolds, lying within this tract, has a great variety of Quaternary landforms and deposits, developed over a wide time range. On this course you will be introduced to these landforms, including anomalous river drainage patterns, dry valleys, river terraces, estuarine platforms and landslides; and deposits laid down by rivers, glaciers, freeze-thaw action, springs, and the Severn Estuary. These deposits are mostly not normally exposed, but some become temporarily so by man e.g. for sand and gravel extraction, and ground engineering projects; the tutor has examined a number of these, and their details will be described. Course highlights include the Cotswold scarp being one of the most extensive areas of landslides in the British Isles, and evidence for the Severn Vale not existing prior to the beginning of the Quaternary.
A handout outlining the day’s programme, and a list of optional suggested reading, would be provided on the course. No prior knowledge of geology or the study area is assumed.

Thursday 27 November 2014

December 4th - Ocean Acidification

The Geological Record of Ocean Acidification
Professor Andy Ridgwell, Earth System Modelling, University of Bristol
Thursday December 4th, BRLSI, Bath, 7.30 p.m.
The future consequences of 'ocean acidification' (the chemical and pH changes induced by adding CO2 to seawater) for marine ecosystems are difficult to assess, in part because laboratory experiments are limited by their necessary short time-scales and reduced ecologic complexity. In contrast, the geological record is replete not only with a variety of global environmental perturbations that may include ocean acidification, but also associated biotic responses including adaptation and evolution. However, for the geological record to provide future-relevant information about potential species and ecosystem responses, qualitatively (and ideally quantitatively) similar changes in carbonate chemistry to those projected for the future, must have occurred.
In this talk Prof Ridgwell will address the questions: at what rate of atmospheric CO2 change does ocean acidification become qualitatively similar to current and future changes, and have any events in the geological past exhibited the characteristics of anthropogenic ocean acidification?
Everyone welcome - visitors £4 - free refreshments
Next year's lecture and field trip programmes can be seen on our website.

Shetland Caledonides July 2015 (GS)

Tuesday 25 November 2014

December 2nd - Mountains under the Sea

Mountains under the Sea
Tuesday 2nd December, 8.00 p.m.
Professor Tony Watts FRS, Marine Geology and Geophysics in the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Oxford.

One of the mysteries of the sea are the large number of seamounts that rise up on the seabed and, in a few cases, break surface to form oceanic islands. Volcanic in origin, seamounts are widely scattered throughout the world’s ocean basins, especially in the Pacific. Recent estimates suggest that there maybe as many as 200,000 seamounts with heights that range from 0.1 to 6.7 km above the surrounding seafloor. Seamounts are generally circular in shape, have pointed, star-shaped, curved, or flat tops, and are often capped by a coral reef. They are of geological interest because they record the motions of Earth’s tectonic plates and the magmatic ‘pulse’ of its deep interior. They are also significant as ocean ‘stirring rods’, biodiversity ‘hotspots’, and hazards for megathrust earthquakes, submarine landslides, and navigation. Statistical studies suggest that there are as many as 24,000 seamounts higher than 1 km still to be discovered. The charting of these seamounts and the determination of their morphology, structure, and evolution is one of the many challenges facing marine geologists in the future.
Venue: Ground Floor Lecture Theatre, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Oxford, South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3AN.  
The entrance is set back 30m from the road and has disability access. As many of you are aware, parking can be a problem and expensive and you may wish to take advantage of Oxford's Park and Ride scheme.  
Doors open at 7.30 pm for a prompt start at 8.00 pm.
If you arrive late, phone 07900 675338 to be let in.
Cost: £2 per person to cover expenses.
The talk will be followed by the Oxford Branch
Christmas Party
Please bring a plate of food to share. 
The branch will provide tea, coffee, soft drinks, 
wine and bread and cheese.

Monday 24 November 2014

WEGA - new website

West of England Geologists' Association (WEGA) has recently launched its new website.
Details of all the lectures and the field meetings organised for 2015 are listed.

Wednesday 12 November 2014

Teaching & Learning in Geoscience Education: Summer School 2015!

 Photo from very successful 2014 summer school

Teaching & Learning in Geoscience Education: summer school 2015!
If you know anyone that might be interested in attending:
- there are 11 bursary places available
- the dates are Saturday 18th–Friday 24th July 2015
- fieldwork focus module, 22nd–23rd August and 24th–25th October
Click here for further details and an application form
Applications for both modules are welcomed now.

Comet 67P

The comet 67P being investigated by the Rosetta and Philae space craft has this spectacular cliff-face with cobbles appparently sticking out of finer material.  The resolution of the original image is about 1-2 metres/pixel.  These boulders may be 10-20 metres across.  The similarity to boulder-clay inclusions, or Budleigh Salterton pebbles, though much, much bigger, poses questions as to how they formed in the comet.  They definitely look sub-rounded or ellipsoidal or oblate.  What erosion process could hew such large boulders? And then emplace them in the matrix.  They seem to have previously been internal to the matrix, but exposed now.  The comet may have originated as part of a much bigger planet with gravity and atmosphere to allow boulders to be formed.
Sent to the blog by Richard.

Thursday 6 November 2014

Current Vacancy - Gloucestershire Geology Trust

Role: Head of Geology
Part time with possibility of going up to full time.
Self-employed basis

We require a person for 1-2 day a week to help run the office and lead on a few part time areas of work. The candidate will be someone who is both geologically competent, as well as a good organiser and self-motivated. They would need to be located in, or very close to the County and have some familiarity with the Geology of the local area.
The majority of the work would be independent but with the support and help of a dozen or so board members and volunteers. The role would be based in our office in Brockworth, Gloucester and from time to time would require outdoor work.
It has the potential to expand into a full time role if the person is successful in fundraising!
For further information please contact Mark Campbell

Main Responsibilities:
- Administrative tasks (updating memberships, responding to public queries, arranging postage of purchases of trail guides)
- Organising events and liaising with partner charities and organisations
-  Managing and directing volunteer help in the office and at events
- Attending conservation days at a range of sites
- Maintaining fossil collection with volunteer help
- Fundraising for projects
- Checking status of RIGS (Regionally Important Geological Sites), and maintaining the GIS database with volunteer help
- Arranging agendas and minutes for board meetings
- Keeping the SAGE financial information up to date
Key Skills Required
- Geological knowledge
- Excellent communication skills
- Organisation and self-motivation
- Ability to use Microsoft Office package
Desired Skills
- Experience leading group work / teaching
- Website maintenance
- Fundraising experience

Wednesday 5 November 2014

19th November - Webinar: Recent Developments in the Regulation of Small-Scale Liquefaction Facilities

Van Ness Feldman LLP and are pleased to announce our upcoming interactive web conference, Recent Developments in the Regulation of Small-Scale Liquefaction Facilities . The webinar will be held on Wednesday, November 19, 2014 from 1:00 - 2:30 PM ET.The regulation of small-scale liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities has taken on greater significance in recent months, primarily as a result of growing commercial interest in pursuing these projects to capitalize on abundant domestic shale gas supplies. Two experienced practitioners will discuss the role of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and U.S. Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) in regulating these types of LNG facilities.
The topics covered will include the extent of FERC's jurisdiction, the applicability of PHMSA's minimum federal safety standards, and the potential impact of state safety requirements.

26th November - The Practice of Geology Fieldwork

The Practice of Geology Fieldwork
Dr. Mary Benton, University of Bristol Earth Sciences Department
Wednesday 26 November, 7.30 p.m.
Amongst other subjects, Dr. Mary Benton teaches the Introduction to Field Skills in Earth Sciences course, and it is on this aspect that she will speak to us. Please come along and hear this interesting talk, especially if geology is not your main interest. It should be a fascinating insight into this wonderful subject.
S H Reynolds Lecture Theatre, Wills Memorial Building, BS8 1RJEveryone welcome; bring a friend!
Further details

Sunday 26 October 2014

November 1st - Festival of Geology

The Anthropocene?

If an alien civilisation lands, millions of years from now when humans are a distant memory, what will they find? Our cities will be long gone; our sturdiest monuments and greatest buildings will be dust. But if they bring a geologist with them, they may be able to read the story of our existence from the stones they walk on. In Berlin, recently, a group of scientists met to discuss just what that story will tell – and how important a story it is.
Humans have existed in our modern form for only about 200,000 years. In geological terms, barely the blink of an eye: geologists measure the history of the Earth in millions of years. But some think that humanity’s impact on the planet in that time – and especially in the past few hundred years – has changed the planet so much that we are now living in a new epoch: the Anthropocene. We have caused a mass extinction, and changed the composition of the atmosphere, they say. Our effect on the planet is as great as that of the end of the last ice age.
Read more

UKs Best Geosites

Click here for more
Apologies for late posting!

Wednesday 8 October 2014

October 22nd - Somerset Coal Canal and William Smith

Combe Down Heritage Society 
Wednesday 22 Oct
'The Somerset Coal Canal and William Smith' 
by Adrian Tuddenham from the SCC Society 
The talk will cover the history of the canal and the role of William Smith in creating the first geological map in 1815.
Combe Down Primary School, Summer Lane, Bath.  
Refreshments 7.00 pm, talk starts at 7.30 pm.  
All welcome, non-members £3.

Wednesday 1 October 2014

Geodiversity Charter launch - HELP PLEASE

Message from the Geology Trusts:-
Hopefully you are aware by now that the new Geodiversity Charter for England is going to be launched at a parliamentary briefing on Tuesday 21st October.  This is a significant national document that sets out the value of our geodiversity, the need to look after it and practical ways in which all sectors of society can help.

WE NEED YOUR HELP THIS WEEK.  Although various government ministers will be attending the launch, there has been limited uptake by MPs.  We need to spread the word as widely as possible.  Therefore, I am asking everyone to PLEASE make an appointment and talk to your MP this week - most MPs are back in their constituencies at the weekends, and usually have surgeries on Fridays or Saturdays, and are pleased to talk to their constituents.
As their constituent, please tell them why geodiversity matters (make local links if you can) and ask them to attend the Charter launch from 2 - 4 pm on Tuesday 21st October at Portcullis House, Westminster. This personal invitation from YOU could make all the difference.

Click here to download the invitation letter and the charter as PDFs for you to use. (They are huge files so may take a long time to download)  If your MP says yes, then please email Lesley Dunlop and Mick Stanley by Monday 6th October. We have to give names of those attending to parliament next week.

Thank you for your help.  We want every MP there if possible, as the profile of geodiversity needs to be raised as never before.  This one event is an extraordinary chance to educate our politicians.  Please immediately pass this email on to any other colleagues who could cover another constituency and TAKE ACTION NOW. I cannot overstate the importance of this opportunity.

Tuesday 30 September 2014

October 5th - Huntley Quarry Geology Reserve

Huntley Quarry Visit: Sunday 5th October, guided by Gloucester Geology

Travelling on the A40 towards Ross on Wye, just after Huntley look for the turn right to the Country Garden Centre. Take the access road and park by the churchyard wall. Meet at 10am. Bring lunch as the local pub is very busy at lunchtime. The Garden Centre has a small but adequate cafe and toilets.
In the afternoon there is a short drive to Hobbs Quarry (Silurian bioherms).
Please email Judy if you intend participating as Gloucester Geology Trust wish to have an idea of numbers for handout

Thursday 25 September 2014

Help please - Saltford railway path - 2nd, 3rd October

Excavation work on the Railway Path at Saltford starts on the 2nd & 3rd
  I had hoped to have a few people to assist.
The most important thing is that there are adequate helpers to work with the
public so that we avoid anyone being crushed by the digger but it will also
provide an opportunity to follow the progress of the dig.  The warm weather
looks to continue in our favour.
If you know of anyone who can help - please get them to give me a call
(01373 474086) or email

A few hours here and there will help enormously by giving others a break and
providing company.  It should be a really interesting project with the potential of uncovering some really interesting fossils/geology.

5000 year-old ancient forest

These photos show the remains of a forest which was exposed near Penzance, Cornwall earlier this year, following a storm and denudation of the beach.

View more

Wednesday 17 September 2014

Conditions on early Earth?

Conditions on Earth for the first 500 million years after it formed may have been surprisingly similar to the present day, complete with oceans, continents and active crustal plates.
This alternate view of Earth’s first geologic eon, called the Hadean, has gained substantial new support from the first detailed comparison of zircon crystals that formed more than 4 billion years ago with those formed contemporaneously in Iceland, which has been proposed as a possible geological analogue for early Earth.
Read more

Friday 12 September 2014

19th September - Two Somerset Quarries

FRIDAY 19th September
Ashen Cross Quarry, near Somerton and Bowdens Lane Quarry, Langport
Simon Carpenter and Richard Ashley
This meeting visits two working quarries. In the morning we will visit Ashen Cross Quarry where the very lowest beds of the Blue Lias are worked. Following a pub lunch in Somerton we will visit Bowdens Lane Quarry where beds in the White and Blue Lias are worked. 
Please note that this meeting is being held on a Friday, as access to these quarries cannot be obtained on the usual Saturday. Hard hats and high visibility jackets or vests are required and the party will be limited to 16 so bookings are essential. Collecting is permitted.
Meet at 10.30 am at Ashen Cross Quarry south of Somerton. Grid reference ST 495 275.

Contact Bristol NATS - Geology for details

Giant swimming dinosaur

A giant fossil, unearthed in the Sahara desert, has given scientists an unprecedented look at the largest-known carnivorous dinosaur: Spinosaurus.
The 95-million-year-old remains confirm a long-held theory: that this is the first-known swimming dinosaur. Scientists say the beast had flat, paddle-like feet and nostrils on top of its crocodilian head that would allow it to submerge with ease.
The research is published in the journal Science.
It had a long neck, a long trunk, a long tail, a 7ft (2m) sail on its back and a snout like a crocodile. When its body proportions are examined, the animal was clearly not as agile on land as other dinosaurs were, so it probably spent a substantial amount of time in the water.
Read more

New branch of life?

A mushroom-shaped sea animal discovered off the Australian coast has defied classification in the tree of life. The tiny organism does not fit into any of the known subdivisions of the animal kingdom.
Such a situation has occurred only a handful of times in the last 100 years.
The organsims seems to have several similarities with the bizarre and enigmatic soft-bodied life forms that lived between 635 and 540 million years ago - the Ediacaran Period.
 These organisms, too, have proven difficult to categorise and some researchers have even suggested they were failed experiments in multi-cellular life.
Two new species of mushroom-shaped animals have been recognised: Dendrogramma enigmatica and Dendrogramma discoides. Measuring only a few millimetres in size, the animals consist of a flattened disc and a stalk with a mouth on the end.
More info

Friday 5 September 2014

Latest news - Iceland's Bárðarbunga volcano

Click here to keep up to date with the latest developments

Bárðarbunga is a large central vent volcano lying underneath Iceland's 500-m thick Vatnajokull glacier in the centre of the country. It is located at the junction between the eastern and northern volcanic rift zones in the area close to where some scientists consider is the present-day location of the mantle hotspot beneath Iceland. The complex rifting means that there are probably sub-surface magmatic connections to both the Grimsvotn and Askja volcanoes.
Bárðarbunga has had about 300-400 eruptions during the past 10,000 years including 23 eruptions in historic times with the last one having occurred in 1910. Worryingly, it produced the largest known lava flow during the past 10,000 years on earth (more than 21 cubic kilometers of volume). The lava was erupted from the Veidivötn fissure system and travelled more than 100 km to the south coast.
Since the beginning of August the  Icelandic Meteorological Office (IMO) has been keeping a close eye on activities in the Bárðarbunga area. They were particularly concerned that there may be a major sub-glacial eruption (jökulhlaup) that had
the potential to repeat the historic eruption referred to above.
Recent activity:-
Initially, there were small ash eruptions from a point close to the old Bárðarbunga vent and then major magma movement was detected along a 6 km rift that has taken the activity away from the glacier and towards the Askja volcano. Meanwhile, large circular depressions in the glacier have been detected, indicating that there is still some activity further to the south.
On August 30th and 31st a classic lava curtain eruption began along a section of the rift where a shallow dyke had been emplaced. Basaltic lava and a little tephra has been erupted, well away from the glacier.
So far there has been no major disruption to aviation and the eruption remains of the effusive lava type.
Seismic events:-
Several seismic events have occurred around the Bárðarbunga caldera rim of magnitudes around 4.5.
If this goes according to the pattern of many previous Icelandic eruptions, one of the following may occur:-
• eruption continues at the present level for a month or so
• the eruption dies down and then ceases with the basalt cooling
• the eruption becomes concentrated on a single point which could be Askja or another location
• none of the above scenarios may apply!

Vallis Vale - de la Beche site now pristine!

Thanks to the efforts of Alan Holiday, Dorset Association Geologists' Group, this important geological SSSI is now in pristine condition once more. Major clearance work was carried out by various groups in September last year.
We shall be visiting with Mendip Rocks! again this year - October 5th
Thank you Alan!

Monday 25 August 2014

Sept 4th - Shetland - Scottish geology in the wrong order

Bath Geological Society - September 4th
Shetland - Scottish geology in the wrong order!
Chris Darmon
The Shetland Isles are something of an enigma. Even weather maps often miss them off and few people realise that they are 80 miles north to south! Chris has been visiting them for nearly 30 years and over that time has come to love Shetland, its geology, landscape and people. Only in recent years has the geological story begun to be told with any degree of accuracy and even now there are lots of problems still to be solved.
7.30p.m. 16 Queen Square Bath - everyone welcome - free refreshment
Further details on the website.

Methane leakage from sea floor - N US Atlantic margin

Thursday 21 August 2014

Lifelong Learning 4 day course - Derbyshire in October

Geology of the Derbyshire Peak District around Castleton
Tutor: Dr Nick Chidlaw
Four consecutive days in October this year: Thursday 2nd –  Sunday 5th  
10.00 am – 5.00 pm each day
Around Castleton, craggy wooded dales and cliff-edged moorlands meet. Here the underlying geology records a legacy from Carboniferous times of tropical limestone reefs which became buried by grit deltas. Later, fluids entered the limestones forming metallic ores and the famous mineral ‘Blue John’. Here also occurs Britain’s deepest-known cave shaft and the landslide-prone Mam Tor, the ‘Shivering Mountain’. Working quarries and natural exposures will be examined. No prior knowledge of the area or geology is assumed.

Please note that you will need to make your own travel and accommodation arrangements, with meeting time and place to be confirmed.
The course is organized through Cardiff University. It carries assessment, which is very difficult to fail!; attendees usually find assessment on these courses useful for consolidating what they have learned.
Tuition fee is £147.00 (Concessionary fee available £118.00). 
Enrolments can be made by ‘phoning 029 2087 0000 or see website.
For more information on course content and specific field locations, contact tutor.

Ralph Allen Cornerstone - Bath

 In the Tourist Information Office in Abbey Churchyard, Bath is a leaflet about 'Ralph Allen Cornerstone' which asks on the front, "Where did the buildings of Bath come from?" - and saying "Find out about the fascinating history of Mr Ralph Allen's quarries in Combe Down, source of the stone that built the city of Bath."  The back gives lots of information about this new free resource which starts from the stone's geological origins.

Strange creatures in the Cambrian Burgess Shale

Also try the Earthlearningidea - Curious creatures

Friday 15 August 2014

19th August - Sustainable re-use of hazardous material

Western Region GS
Sustainable Re-use of Hazardous Material
Mike Roper, Hydrock
19 August, 6:30pm (refreshments from 6pm)
The talk will be on the reuse of hydrocarbon impacted material dredged from a reservoir on the former BP Llandarcy Oil Refinery. The talk will describe the process by which a hazardous waste material was recovered and then combined with another hazardous waste to produce an inert material that could be reused on site to construct a highway embankment.
Atkins, The Hub (Ground Floor), 500 Park Avenue, Aztec West, Almondsbury, Bristol, BS32 4RZ.
Everyone is welcome,

Monday 11 August 2014

Field visit to Somerton and Langport - 19th September

Friday 19 September, 10.30 - 3.30
Leaders: Simon Carpenter and Richard Ashley
This meeting visits two working quarries. In the morning we will visit Ashen Cross Quarry near Somerton where the very lowest beds of the Blue Lias are worked. Following a pub lunch in Somerton we will visit Bowdens Lane Quarry near Langport where beds in the White and Blue Lias are worked. 
Please note that this meeting is being held on a Friday, as access to these quarries cannot be obtained on the usual Saturday. Hard hats and high visibility jackets or vests are required and the party will be limited to 16 so bookings are essential. Collecting is permitted. 
Meet at 10.30 am at Ashen Cross Quarry south of Somerton. Grid reference ST 495 275. 

16th - 18th August - Margaret Adler Exhibition

Margaret Adler Exhibition of Paintings
16th - 18th August, 10.00a.m. - 4p.m.
Centre Space, Bristol
Entrance is free and there will be a chance to see the wonderful paintings of this artist as well as some of her stained glass and sculptures.
There will be an opportunity to purchase paintings and cards of her work as well as a fabulous new book depicting the scope of her abilities.
Proceeds from the exhibition will go to the Save the Children fund.
Margaret was a member of Bath Geological Society for many years; she died in May 2012.
Centre Space Gallery, 6 Leonard Lane, Bristol., BS1 1EA
Centre Space is in the heart of Bristol City. It is 20 minutes by foot and 10 minutes by taxi from Bristol Temple Meads. Buses from Bristol Temple Meads are an 8 or 9, from the train station, to the town centre, and the Centre Space is 5 minutes walk from Broadmead.
Car parking can be found at the Galleries car park which is also 5 minutes from the Centre Space.

Thursday 7 August 2014

The Great Schools Geobakeoff!

An A level geology student from Wells Cathedral School

Sandstone shapes 'forged by gravity'

Erosion by wind and water, it seems, is merely the sharp instrument. The remarkable shapes are controlled by internal stresses and strains within the rock, applied by the pull of gravity.
Read more

Thursday 31 July 2014

Great Tew Quarry, Isle of Man and Leicester Conference

2nd August - Great Tew Quarry Field trip
led by Andy Swift
Few places left
This quarry, south of Banbury, Oxfordshire works the Lower Jurassic Marlstone Rock Bed for building stone. It is quite fossiliferous with ammonites, belemnites and bivalves. 
Contact the GA or leave a message on the GA phone and this will be answered when picked up.

19th - 22nd September - 4 day trip to the Isle of Man
The programme will include excursions to view to part of the Iapetus Suture, diverse Lower Palaeozoic turbidites, Caledonian folds and granite, Devonian continental sediments, a Surtseyan volcanic centre and Carboniferous reefs plus Viking carved stones, medieval castles and industrial archaeological sites. 
Contact the GA or leave a message on the GA phone and this will be answered when picked up. 

6th & 7th September - GA Conference, Leicester University
"Palaeo to the People! Fossils in the Service of Man"
Excellent conference programme with field excursions on Sunday:
Contact the GA or leave a message on the GA phone and this will be answered when picked up.

Saturday 26 July 2014

Wilshire Geology Group AGM - Thursday 31st July

Wiltshire Geology Group invite everyone to its AGM
7 p.m. on Thursday 31st July.
Come and find out what we have done in the last year.
Wiltshire Wildlife Trust
Elm Tree Court, Long Street, Devizes SN10 1NJ

Tuesday 15 July 2014

Jurassica Dinosaur Museum plans

A meeting has been held to discuss a £60m project to convert a disused quarry into a dinosaur museum. The scheme, called Jurassica, would be built in Portland, on Dorset's Jurassic Coast, and would open in 2019 or 2020.
Read more

Thursday 10 July 2014

July 15th - Forensic Geology

WRGS -  Forensic Geology: The Applications of Geology to Policing & Law Enforcement
Dr Laurance Donnelly
15 July - 6:30pm (refreshments from 6pm)
Venue: Atkins, The Hub (Ground Floor), 500 Park Avenue, Aztec West, Almondsbury, Bristol, BS32 4RZ.

Wednesday 9 July 2014

Data stored in Corsham's mines?

Corsham's mines could become 'Europe's largest data reservoir'

Fossil Foray - Writhlington - October 27th

The Somerset Earth Science Centre is organising a fossil foray at Writhlington Batch for the Mendip Rocks! Festival 2014. This will be in partnership with Radstock Museum. This will be for local families and is often well attended. It will be on Monday 27th October 2-4pm. This is a message to ask if there are any geologists out there that would like to come along and help identify peoples’ finds!
If anyone is interested in volunteering for a fun afternoon, please contact the Centre.

Tuesday 8 July 2014

New book: 'Geology, Landscape and Building Stone around Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire'

By Isobel Geddes, author of the popular 
'Hidden Depths; Wiltshire's Geology and Landscapes'

Copies are £3.00 and available from:-
Ex Libris Bookshop, 11 Regents Place, Bradford on Avon 
Bradford on Avon Museum
Bradford on Avon Library  
Bradford on Avon Tourist Information Centre 

Tuesday 1 July 2014

Is this a mud volcano?

One of our Bath GS members sent this prior to this Thursday's talk about mud volcanoes.
 These occur at just one horizon, close to the top of the clay/lime bands, Lias, Lyme Regis. Locally they are known as sunstones. They outcrop near Charmouth at beach level, exposed at a very low tide.

Extra info:- The rock is of about the size and proportion of an old style galvanised steel dustbin lid. I think we see two processes here. Firstly a precipitation of carbonate within the surface sediment as a consequence of methane escape. This results in a slight dome around the vent. Secondly the flow of fluids carrying sediment from below and trickling down the slope as meanders, with the loss of gas these meanders stop in a consistent distance.

This could be a septarian concretion - so probably composed of calcite. The radial cracks are a source of some argument - whether they have formed through dewatering / contraction of the sediment or some other process. The cracks will probably also be filled with calcite crystals, sometimes other minerals (siderite, dolomite, barite, quartz etc).

Photograph above of a somewhat similar nodule from the Carboniferous of NE England.

More thoughts: It is a septarian nodule on, I suspect, Monmouth beach. In fact it is a Birchi nodule from the Bichi bed in the Charmouth Mudstone formation and just in this area the beef calcite tends to grow in this very symmetrical fashion. Locals call them 'sunstones' and I think they feature on Ian West's site. The geochemistry behind beef formation is very complex and is, I believe, related to very rapid burial and therefore pressures in poorly consolidated muds that have a high organic/methane content and that was happening at that time.

Sunday 29 June 2014

July 3rd - Jurassic mud volcanoes and methane

Thursday July 3rd
Jurassic mud volcanoes and methane

Dr. Gregory D. Price, School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Plymouth University
BRLSI, 16 Queen Square, 7.30 p.m.
Everyone welcome - visitors £4 - free refreshments

Further details on website of Bath Geological Society