Thursday 27 February 2014

11th March - PESGB Stoneley Lecture 2014

Airbus Defence and Space Adds Real Mars Experience to 2014 Stoneley Lecture
Paul Meacham, System Engineer on the Airbus Defence and Space’s ExoMars Rover Vehicle Project will be joining Dallas Campbell on stage for the PESGB’s annual Stoneley Lecture. The Petroleum Exploration Society of Great Britain (PESGB) is delighted that Paul will assist Dallas Campbell – presenter of the BBC’s popular science programme, Bang Goes the Theory – by sharing his real-world experience and knowledge of what it takes to get to Mars.
PESGB members and members of the public are invited to
the Central Hall Westminster in London on 11th March 2014

at 5.30pm where Dallas will investigate the geological opportunities offered by space exploration, specifically looking at the exploration of Mars.
Dallas Campbell will be familiar to not only viewers of Bang Goes the Theory but also the Gadget Show, Egypt’s Lost Cities, Supersized Earth and the Horizon Guide series.
The Stoneley Lecture is named after the late emeritus Professor of Petroleum Geology at Imperial College, Robert Stoneley; as is Stoneley Point which sits at the entrance to
Whisky Bay, in Antarctica. It is one of the many events organised during the year by the PESGB that are designed to educate and entertain everyone about the benefits of the scientific and technical aspects of petroleum exploration.

To reserve your ticket for the event, visit the PESGB website where tickets are available for £15.00 each (£5.00 for Students).

Friday 21 February 2014

UK storms reveal forests and Iron Age and Romano-British remains

Oak trunk, Mount's Bay, Penzance, Cornwall

Trunks, oak or beech, Chyandor, east of Penzance

 Tree stump, Daymer Bay, Cornwall

A ditch at Challaborough in Devon contained 
Iron Age and Romano-British pottery

Gales hitting the west coast of Wales have uncovered these 
oak, pine, birch and alder trees dating to 6,000 years ago

Thursday 20 February 2014

Earthquake in Bristol Channel today

An earthquake has been recorded under the Bristol Channel, the British Geological Survey (BGS) has confirmed. The 4.1 magnitude quake happened at about 13:21 GMT and was felt in Devon, south Wales and Somerset. The epicentre was north of Ilfracombe, Devon, and south of the Gower, in Wales, and was at a depth of 3.1 miles (5km).
Read more.

Saturday 15 February 2014

CORRECTION - William Smith archive in Oxford - Feb 27th

Oxford University Museum has kindly offered the Somerset Coal Canal Society a preview of the William Smith online archive, before it goes public.
The group plans to meet on 27th February.
If you are interested, contact Tim as soon as possible. 

Friday 14 February 2014

23rd February - Geological walk with Chippenham Ramblers

Geological walk
 Judy Hible, Chippenham Ramblers, WEGA, Bath GS and Wiltshire GG
"We shall follow field paths to the Maud Heath monument on Wick Hill and the start of her impressive Causeway, and then on to Bencroft Hill before returning. Gently rolling farmland, downland escarpment and 13 stiles plus interesting local history. There is a 360 degree view from Wick Hill - Avon Vale Jurassic rocks to the west, Morgan's Hill Cretaceous rocks to the south-east."
Meet 9:40am Bath Road Car Park, Chippenham  ST 918 734 to  car share with lifts suggested at £1.20 or meet at 10.00 at  Bremhill Church ST 980 730 (2km north-west of Calne). Please bring refreshments and park thoughtfully in Bremhill. Waterproofs, waterproof boots  but no need for hard hats and hammers. Handouts will be provided.

850,000 year-old footprints found in Norfolk

The oldest human footprints ever found outside Africa, dated at between 850,000 and 950,000 years old, have been discovered on the storm-lashed beach at Happisburgh in Norfolk, one of the fastest eroding stretches of the British coast. Within a fortnight the sea tides that exposed the prints last May destroyed them, leaving only casts and 3D images made through photogrammetry – by stitching together hundreds of photographs – as evidence that a little group from a long-extinct early human species had passed that way.
They walked through a startlingly different landscape from today’s, along the estuary of what may have been the original course of the Thames, through a river valley grazed by mammoths, hippos and rhinoceros. The pattern of the prints suggests at least five individuals heading southward, pausing and pottering about to gather plants or shellfish along the bank. They included several children. The best preserved prints, clearly showing heel, arch and four toes – one may not have left a clear impression – is of a man with a foot equivalent to a modern size 8 shoe, suggesting an individual about 5ft 7ins (1.7 metres ) tall.
Although far older footprints have been found in Africa, the prints are more than twice the age of the previous oldest in Europe, from southern Italy and dated to around 345,000 years.
The Norfolk footprints are the first direct evidence of people at the most northerly edge of habitation in Europe, otherwise known only from fossilised animal bones and flint implements from a site nearby. The scientists worked flat out in the few hours between tides, sponging away seawater and brushing off sand, to record the prints. They were dated from the overlying sedimentary layers and glacial deposits, and the fossil remains of extinct animals – identified by Simon Parfitt, of the Natural History Museum, as including mammoth, an extinct type of horse and an early form of vole. The climate was close to that of modern Scandinavia, with warm summers and very cold winters, when the group walked across the wet mud. With the river, plain and brackish pools there was abundant food including prey animals, shellfish and edible plants. However, very soon in geological terms, perhaps within 50,000 years, the weather got much worse and the humans retreated back across the landbridge to the continent and further south.
Prof. Chris Stringer says confirmation will have to wait for fossil finds, but he believes the Norfolk hominids were related to people from Atapuerca in Spain described as Homo antecessor, pioneer man. He believes they became extinct in Europe, perhaps replaced by another early human species, Homo heidelbergensis, then by Neanderthals from around 400,000 years ago and finally by modern humans. Life was not always a stroll across a beach: the Spanish human fossils show the same cut marks as the animal bones, evidence of cannibalism.

Volcanic eruption in Java, Indonesia

Mass evacuation in Indonesia as Mount Kelud erupts.

Monday 10 February 2014

Quarry Faces - March 11th - May 17th - Frome Museum

Quarry Faces exhibition in Frome Museum
March 11th - May 17th
An exhibition all about the local quarry industry organised by Robin Thornes and Ruth Worsley. Supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Mendip Quarry Producers and Mendip Hills A.O.N.B.
Further details here

Friday 7 February 2014

16th February - Bristol Rocks!

Bristol Rocks!
Sunday 16th February 2014
10 am – 4 pm
Bristol Museum and Art Gallery

Rocks, fossils and minerals are taking over Bristol Museum for the day and it would be great to have your company.
We will be hosting a family friendly day with specimen handling tables, explorer trails, geology store tours, fun activities and local experts.
Drop in and take part!
Bristol Museum and Art Gallery, Queens Road, Bristol, BS8 1RL

Also if you or any of your group is willing and able it would be great to have any volunteer support, for any or all of the day (coffee and cake will be supplied as a bribe!). Geological knowledge is always greatly appreciated and the general public love talking to people who love their subject! We would love help with:
- Running geology handling tables
- Helping with a bird/dinosaur link handling table
- Geology gallery interpretation
- Coming along to support geology store tours
- Helping facilitate talks
- Helping with craft activities
- Helping greet people and giving out information about the day
If you feel you or anyone in your group can help out as a volunteer, again can you let me know names and times of availability and peoples preferred activity by Monday 10th February 2014?
Many thanks – hope to see you all there!
Deborah - Collections Officer (Geology)

20th February - William Smith archive in Oxford

Oxford University Museum has kindly offered the Somerset Coal Canal Society a preview of the William Smith online archive, before it goes public.
The group plans to meet at OX1 3PW at 14:15 on 20th February.
If you are interested, contact SCCS Liaison as soon as possible.  

Thursday 6 February 2014

Today - Geology of Naxos & Feb 8th - Geology of Brown's Folly

Today - Naxos - geological evolution of a gneiss dome.
Dr. Doug Robinson, University of Bristol
Naxos is the largest of the Cyclades islands, which an ancient fable indicates were formed in a "War of the giants", from enormous rocks that were thrown against each other by the Giants and the gods. This talk will explore the actual ~200 million year geological history of the island, which lies in a very active present-day plate tectonic setting. The geology of the island is dominated by a Mesozoic carbonate/detrital succession that has been deformed and metamorphosed in the orogenic collision between the African and Eurasian plates that gave rise to the overall Alpine chain. The metamorphism has converted the carbonate sediments into excellent marbles, which were widely used in building of Delphi and the famous Lion terrace in Delos, while former soils have been turned into the well-known emery deposits of the island.
BRLSI, 16 Queen Square Bath 7 p.m. (AGM before lecture) Everyone welcome - free refreshment

Saturday February 8th - This is our annual clear-up day at this SSSI Middle Jurassic site at Brown's Folly; any help will be gratefully received. There will also be a guided walk around the geological sites on the trail.
Further details are on the website.

Monday 3 February 2014

11th February two lectures

WRG - AGM followed by The Geotechnical Academy
We are inviting volunteers / nominations for committee members for the upcoming year. If you are interested, please contact us.
The academy is a collaboration between Geotechnical Engineering Ltd and Equipe Group, providing fundamental technical and commercial training to aspiring geo-professionals, helping them to apply their theoretical and technical understanding in the practical and commercial world.
The event is open to non-fellows, so please feel free to invite your colleagues or friends.
6.30 p.m. Room 8, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol, Wills Memorial Building

WEGA - Cryptic Neoproterozoic orogenic events around the margin of Rodinia:
insights from the Shetland Islands, UK 

Dr Rob Strachan (Portsmouth University) 
Everyone welcome  
7.30 p.m. Department of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol, Wills Memorial Building