Monday, 20 February 2017

Somerset Geology Revived

The Somerset Geology Group

I recently received the following from Garry Dawson which, I am sure, will be of interest to many of you!

There is also an offer for unpaid internships to do the work - see at the end of this entry.


The Somerset Geology Group (SGG) is one of the natural history groups that operate in partnership with Somerset Wildlife Trust (SWT) and the Somerset Environment Records Centre (SERC). The Group was originally formed in 1984 to advise SWT and others on geological matters relating to planning and development. It has recently been re-formed and its role remains principally concerned with the conservation and promotion of Somerset’s geodiversity.

The newly reformed group has initially decided to focus on a review of Somerset’s Regionally Important Geological Sites (RIGS), which are now referred to as Local Geological Sites (LGS). In December 2016 we heard the good news that the Curry Fund of the Geologist’s Association have agreed to grant aid to support the sites review. This will enable us to start the review of Somerset’s LGS very soon with a view to completing the work within 2 years. 

Across Somerset 233 geological sites were identified as RIGS in the 1980s and 1990s. Following updated guidance from Defra on local sites (published in 2006) and several recent initiatives across the country encouraging awareness of geo-diversity at a landscape scale there is a need to review Somerset’s LGSs. The Curry Fund grant will allow us to ensure that we keep up the good work of earlier years by completing the LGS review. This will be done by geologists using LGS criteria & assessment forms (based on collated best practice from across the country) to carry out desk and site based assessments.

All members of SGG are volunteers. The Group normally meets twice each year; an e-Newsletter follows each meeting and is distributed widely. We are keen to involve as many geologists with an interest in Somerset as possible and to ensure that we have access to expertise across the geological sciences. There is no subscription or constitution. 
To become involved or find out more about SGG, please email Garry Dawson on     

Opportunities for Undergraduate and Post-Graduate Geological Internships

The Somerset Geology Group (SGG), in partnership with the Somerset Environmental Records Centre (SERC), is undertaking a project to review Somerset’s Local Geology Sites (LGS). These were formerly designated as Regionally Important Geology Sites (RIGS). 

To complete the site research and fieldwork for this review, SERC are seeking applications from geology undergraduates and post-graduates.  The interns will work on voluntary basis but training, travelling expenses and other support will be provided. We are looking for individuals able to commit a minimum of 3 months of their time to the project which is planned to run for two years. The main base of SERC is within the Somerset Wildlife Trust HQ in Taunton but interns may be required to work throughout Somerset. The project is supported by several organisations including the Curry Fund of the Geologists’ Association, Geckoella Ltd and Exmoor National Park Authority.

To apply send a 2-page CV, before 2nd June 2017, to Paula Hewitson at  Please indicate whether or not you hold a driving licence. For further details phone 01823 652446.   

Sunday, 19 February 2017

More about Pen Park Hole

Pen Park Hole Video

You have about 3 weeks to see this BBC video about a descent into Pen Park Hole. The quality of the filming is excellent and the commentary is as good as we can expect. Click on the expand to full screen button to get the most from this.

As a retired gold mine geologist it confirms to me that large quantities of cash will be required to get me underground once more. 

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Geomagnetics and Archaeology

Archaeology and Geomagnetics - trying to get a handle on this!

An article in Ars Technica reports on the discovery of a geomagnetic spike in the late 8th century BCE found by studying pottery jar handles. If such a spike happened today the electric grid might not survive!

Next week 20th to 26th February 2017


20th to 26th February 2017
The following is an extract from Bristol Geology Calendar
More details can be found in the Calendar and on the web sites of the relevant Society or organisation.


Teme Valley Geol Soc - Lecture
WhenMonday, 20 Feb 2017
WhereMartley Memorial Hall B4197 by Sports Ground (map)
DescriptionFrom rocks to robots to intelligent rocks: monitoring giant sediment avalanches in the oceans with Dr Esther Sumner (Southampton) Contact:- Janet 01886 821061 Mem £1 Non £3


Geol Soc Western Annual General Meeting & Early Careers Award
WhenTuesday, 21 Feb 2017
WhereTBC (map)


 BRLSI Lecture
WhenWed, 22 February, 19:30 – 22:00
Where16 Queen Square, Bath BA1, UK (map)
DescriptionYou are warmly invited to the inaugural lecture of our new collaboration with the Royal Meteorological Society Atmospheric Art and the Volcanic Skies of Constable and Turner Professor John Thornes Emeritus Professor of Applied Meteorology, University of Birmingham; Senior Climate Change Scientist at Public Health England; author of ‘John Constable’s Skies’. Is it possible to use art works as proxy data for historical events such as volcanic eruptions and climate change? The skies of Constable and Turner will be examined for evidence of volcanic influence some 80 years before the Royal Society decided whether or not volcanic eruptions thousands of miles away can impact on our skies and climate


 Dave Green's microscope course
WhenThu, 23 February, 19:30 – 21:30
WhereThe Chantry, Thornbury. (map)
DescriptionRocks and Minerals under the Microscope.  This 10 week course aims to introduce you to the identification and description of rocks and their component minerals under the petrological microscope. This is a practical course, each participant will be provided with a microscope and a set of thin sections of rocks, and will work through a course at their own pace. Held at The Chantry, Thornbury. First meeting 7.30 – 9.30, Thurs 12th January until March 23rd (not Thurs 16th Feb) in the Buckingham Room. Max. numbers 20, “first come, first served” due to number of slide sets. Cost £75


OUGS Severnside - Aberystwyth weekend
When24 – 26 Feb 2017
WhereAberystwyth (map)
DescriptionAberystwyth weekend - Geochemistry and Microscopes Leader: Charlie Bendall Location: Aberystwyth Date: February 24th - 26th, 2017 Type: Weekend Trip Summary: Sorry, waiting list only More info: Staying at Aber Park Hotel. B&B Saturday we will be doing microscope work. Sunday Geochemistry Contact #1: Jan Ashton-Jones [] Booking Form: Please contact the organiser of this event for further information. Itinerary and Risk Assessment: Please contact the organiser of this event for the Itinerary and Risk Assessment.


OUGS Severnside - Aberystwyth weekend


OUGS Severnside - Aberystwyth weekend

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Next week 13th to 19th February 2017


13th to 19th February 2017

The following is an extract from Bristol Geology Calendar

More details can be found in the Calendar and on the web sites of the relevant Society or organisation.


 DIGS conservation at Vallis Vale
WhenMon, 13 February, 10:30 – 12:30
WhereAt the layby by Hapsford Bridge on the Frome to Great Elms road (map)
DescriptionThe DIGS group (Dorset’s Important Geological Sites) is planning a conservation session out of county next Monday (13th February)! We are planning a conservation session at Vallis Vale, meeting at 10.30 am, at the layby by Hapsford Bridge on the Frome to Great Elms road. This is preparation for a Wessex OUGS field trip the following Sunday (19th February). If you can put it on the West Country Blog it may attract other more local helpers. My mobile is 07815482963.


Geol. Soc Western Event - The Bristol Portway - protecting against rock falls
WhenTuesday, 14 Feb 2017
DescriptionThe Bristol Portway - protecting against rock falls Speakers:- Robert Benton and Robert MacKean Time and place to be confirmed



 Thornbury Geology Group meeting
WhenThu, 16 February, 19:30 – 20:30
Description Thornbury Geology Group, The Chantry, Thornbury, 7.30pm, contact 01454 416882 The group is is an offshoot of Thornbury and District Museum and we welcome new members. Previous geological knowledge can be helpful but is not necessary as members are very willing to share their own knowledge with anyone keen to learn more about Earth Science. The group is loosely following a pre-recorded lecture series which is supplemented by use of other material and geological specimens. On occasions a guest speaker will talk on their specialist topic. Costs are met from attending members' monthly contributions and the group does not have membership subscriptions or a committee



 South Wales Geologists' Association - Lecture
WhenSat, 18 February, 11:00 – 12:00
WhereLectures at Cardiff University are held in the Department of Earth Sciences in the "Main Building". (map)
DescriptionSaturday 18th February: (Cardiff): DAB Memorial Lecture: Redrawing the geological map of South Wales. Professor John Cope (National Museum of Wales)


Wednesday, 8 February 2017

BRLSI Lecture

Lecture of Interest at Bath Royal Literary & Scientific Institution

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Bath Geol Soc Lecture March 2nd

Bath Geological Society Lecture

01225 312084

Gas, geothermal energy and gold: the Earth’s crust as a percolator.

Professor Tom Blenkinsop

Cardiff University

Thursday 2nd March 2017
At 7.30 p.m.

Visitors welcome: £4 charge if not a
member of Bath Geological Society
Further details on the website